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(Photo courtesy of Pima Air Museum)
(Photo courtesy of Pima Air Museum)

Up, up and away at the Pima Air Museum

The Pima Air Museum is located in Tucson near Davis Monthan Air Force Base. There are more than 300 historical aircraft from World War II to the present with several rare one-of-a-kind aircraft. The museum also offers displays of spacecraft.

We took a narrated walking tour of four of the huge hangars and then a narrated tram tour of the 300 acres of outdoor display.

Pima 1

This is a World War II era Martin PBM flying boat and it is HUGE!

Pima 2

This is a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Reconnaissance plane which still holds many speed records for manned aircraft.

Pima 3

This is a Consolidated B-24 heavy bomber, also from the World War II era.

Pima 8

Waist and ball-turret guns on the B-24. Hard to believe there was a gunner inside that tiny ball turret.

Pima 4

This is a B-25 Mitchell light bomber of the type that Jimmy Dolittle flew off a carrier to bomb Tokyo early in World War II.

Pima 9

This modified Boeing 707 is also know as the “vomit comet” used to demonstrate weightlessness while flying the profile painted on the nose section. Aircraft like these are used in motion pictures, like Apollo 13, to simulate life in outer space.

 

Pima 5

This is one of only four remaining B-36 heavy bombers. The six pusher prop engines weren’t enough to take off so the 2 jet engines per wing were added.

Pima 10

This is a restored B-17 part of the 390th bomber group memorial. This is a museum within the main museum. Looking forward in the B-17 showing the waist guns and the top of the ball-turret.

Pima 6

Head on view of the B-17 showing the 4 .50 caliber machine guns facing forward. All together, there are 12 of these on the B-17.

Pima 7

The museum just doesn’t feature military aircraft. There are many civilian aircraft chronicling the history oof commercial aviation as well. Many people believe this Lockheed Constellation was the most beautiful airliner ever built.

We spent more than three hours at the museum and we had lunch in their new flight cafeteria. There is also a gift shop.

On week-days, they run tours of the “Boneyard” at Davis Monthan AFB where thousands of decommissioned aircraft are stored in the dry desert for possible sale and used for spare parts.

There are plenty of kids activities, too. They can learn to fly the perfect paper airplane and explore advances in robotics. Children 8 and older can bring an adult and experience the power of rockets.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but the last admittance is a 4 p.m.

Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $9 for children 5 to 12. Discounts are available for seniors and active duty military members. For $5 or less, you can buy a two-day admission and really take your time to explore the more the displays.

You can take a tour of the Boneyard for $7 per adult and $4 for children. Government-issued identification is required.

For more information, visit www.pimaair.org

The tram tour of the museum grounds costs $6 per person.

About John Huggins

John Huggins is a retired Navy Electronics Technician Chief. He traded the Navy adventure for a job in manufacturing quality assurance in 1986, and traded that job for the RV adventure in early 2005. He and his wife, Kathy, have traveled the nation chronicling their adventures at Living the RV Dream. They have authored several books and also produce a weekly podcast about the RV lifestyle.

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