WAR EAGLES AIR MUSEUM

Today we took a drive to New Mexico to visit this museum. It houses over 40 vintage aircraft, some very rare ,and all still fly today. Mr. John MacGuire and his wife put it all together, and opened in 1989. all the aircraft here John flew here himself, he has since passed away. There was no one there when we got there, so we were taken on a private tour, by volunteer Elliot. His insight to some of the planes there was very welcome. We have been to other museums before, but here there were planes I have never seen before. So it was really cool to have Elliot talk about them and even get us up close and personal to them, when normally you are not allowed. Elliot served in Vietnam as a door gunner on the Huey helicopter, transporting troops to and from the combat zone. He said I was young then and didn’t know any better.

During World War II, almost all combat planes were flown from the United States to war zones by Women, or WASP’s.

This is a P-40 Warhawk, when Japan invaded China in 1939 a few hundred of these were sent over with volunteer pilots, who were paid very well. While pretty fast and nimble, they were no match for the Jap Zero, but soon the pilots devised ways to overcome this by flying in pairs and threes to move in behind the Zero and shoot it down. The emblem on the tail, is not of a Texan peeing on the Jap flag, it is of a Chinaman peeing on the Jap flag.
The famed P-51 Mustang, this plane did see combat missions in the war.
Here is a F4U Corsair, fighter ,bomber of the marines, this was an aircraft carrier plane. Classic up folded wings, this allowed more aircraft to be put on the carrier. I have not seen one of these before, big and burly, propeller blades are over six feet long. Could go up and meet the enemy or make a bombing run.
Viet Nam era F4U Corsair fighter, bomber, what a difference, also carrier based with fold up wings.

The Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber. A carrier based plane this one has the back swept folding wings. Three man crew, pilot, navigator, and rear gunner. First saw service in the battle of Midway, all but one was lost, very slow, and had to line up with a ship to launch it’s torpedo. Without fighter escort, the Japanese picked them off easily. This is the plane the first President Bush was a pilot in and was shot down. Another plane I have not seen ,big, bulky and a death trap.

C-47 troop transport to a DC-3 commercial aircraft. This plane has a lot of history, the C-47 was built in the thousands to transport goods, and troops. This aircraft took off on the early morning of June 6 1944 with about 30 young paratroopers in it. It flew over France and when the green light went on all of the guys jumped out. It made it back and a few months later took more troops and towed a glider of troops over to Belgium, where they also jumped out. The plane then went on to be converted into a DC-3 passenger airliner in the early 1960’s. It flew passengers all over the Caribbean for decades.

This plane is pink???. Two women flew this plane in the 1954 air race, and they won, using only a watch, a compass, and a map in the 8 stop race.

F-86 Sabre jet, our first really combat fighter, used during the Korean war. This one painted up in Canadian colors.
The MIG, A Russian fighter used during the Korean War.
70’s era MIG fighter.

Viet Nam era Huey Helicopter, used as a transport or evac ship, as this one is set up for.
The fast and nimble small gun ship, used by the air cavalry during Viet Nam, this reminds me of the movie Apocalypses Now, when they attack the village
So, here is some trivia. I did not even know this. Have you ever heard the term “The Whole Nine Yards”. Where did it come from, I have the answer. The above picture shows the wing guns on the P-51 Mustang, each wing has a set of three 50-cal machine guns mounted on it. The machine guns were belt fed when the trigger was pulled. Each belt of ammo was nine yards long so when pilots came back empty they would say to the maintenance guys, ” shot the whole nine yards” meaning all used up, later it was shortened a bit.

The museum also has a collection of old cars that are on loan, they were pretty neat. It was a fun time and thanks to Elliot, we learned a lot.

One thought on “WAR EAGLES AIR MUSEUM

  1. I am always amazed at all the $$ invested in these small ….independently owned museums. I wonder who funds them all and how they get all of these historical artifacts over some of the larger govt run museums. Amazing.

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