Pima Air & Space Museum is getting ready to open a new display hangar for WWII-era aircraft and artifacts. Not all the new exhibits are here … some are coming from as far away as Australia and England … so the official grand opening date is still up in the air, but the “soft opening” is set for Tuesday. Yesterday, museum volunteers were allowed in for the first time, even though the restoration team was still moving aircraft and exhibits around inside, with all the attendant dust and commotion you’d expect.
I saw several aircraft that have been at PASM for a while, moved over from other hangars: our Bell P-39 Airacobra, the Nakajima Hayabusa fighter, the Canadian Bristol Bolingbroke, and our B-25 Mitchell. As always in my photoblogs, you can click on the thumbnails to see the original full sized photos on Flickr.
New to the museum (and to me): a Canso (Canadian-built PBY Catalina), a Consolidated Privateer (naval version of the B-24 Liberator), the fuselage of a Lockheed Lodestar, and a Bat (an early anti-shipping radar-guided rocket-propelled bomb carried by Privateers in the last year of WWII).
Still to come? I know we’re getting a P-40 Warhawk and a Spitfire. There are rumors of a P-47 Thunderbolt and P-38 Lightning. Parts and pieces of a wrecked Soviet Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik have been in the restoration hangar for years, and I understand they’re finally going to put it back together for display, along with two Japanese suicide planes that have been sitting in a storage room, the Tsurugi and a trainer version of the Okha Cherry Blossom. Some of these exhibits will go into the new display hangar, some into other hangars.
Oh, I almost forgot: our pretty little 1950s French fighter-bomber, the Dassault Mystère IV, is now parked outside on fighter row.
© 2016, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.