An absolute must for plane enthusiasts, history buffs or anyone who wants to marvel at an exquisite collection of planes from the wars is Virginia Beach’s very own Military Aviation Museum.
Home to one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II planes in the world, this museum is a rare treat in the world of aviation and was recently mentioned as one the five best aviation museums you should visit.
Including planes from Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United states, the planes have been restored to military conditions.
Unlike many exhibitions, which leave planes in their state and display them, many of the planes here are airworthy and can be flown at air shows and flight demonstrations throughout the year.
Their mission is preserve them and restore them so that newer generations can experience a little bit of what they were, rather than just look at them in a static display.
Examples of planes include the Beechcraft T-34A Mentor, a Douglas AD-4 Skyraider from 1949, a North American Trojan and a Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny” from 1918. The earliest aircraft in the collection is a replica of the Curtis Model D Pusher from 1910.
While visitors are free to visit as they please. Tours can be arranged for visitors to really make the most of their visit seeing the planes up close and personal and hearing the history of contributions made to the war effort by men and women.
Another popular option is aboard the museum’s very own double decker bus where visitors can enjoy a close-up tour of Master Jet Base NAS Oceana. Almost 300 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter jets can be seen there and those interested can see Navy fighters in action.
The museum did not start off as a museum, but rather as just a private collection by an aviation enthusiast. It was founded in 2005 by Gerald Yagen and was opened in 2008. The collector had been collecting and restoring planes since the nineties and decided that opening it to the public was the best thing to do with such a unique and exquisite collection.
The small grass airfield is located in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach and includes two display hangers, a replica hanger from WW1 and a restored Hanger from WWII which was build in 1934.
It is also connected to the Aviation Institute of Maintenance which is currently in the process of building a fleet of WWII replicas. Visitors to the museum can extend their visit to take a tour of the Fighter Factory hanger where they can see how the maintenance technicians perform regular maintenance and restoration work on the aircraft.
The Military Aviation museum itself is open daily from 9am to 5pm and it can can be found at 1341 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach. Admission costs $1200 for adults, $6 for those under 18 and is free for under 6 year olds. Seniors and active duty military officers and groups can get in for $10 while WWII veterans are able to visit for free. Different prices may apply for special events such as air shows which occur regularly throughout the year.