Being an avid aircraft enthusiast, I have been intensely interested in taking a trip to the Pima museum in Tucson for many years now. The museum is situated in Tucson Arizona just off Interstate 10. It is reputed to be the largest non governmental aircraft museum in the World.
Holly, Kevin piloting the Kia rental, and I drove down the 2 hours from Glendale. The museum is very easy to find with Highway signs announcing the exit. We found the parking lot virtually empty and had no problem finding a bit of shade to park the car. Admission allows you to view the indoor displays housing 150 aircraft of virtually every type, as well as the outdoor displays where 150 more planes and choppers (not Harley's) in unrestored condition sit on the desert floor.
In addition, there are hangars dedicated specifically to WWII aircraft of the Pacific and European theaters.
Don't forget the restoration building and another dedicated to the 390 Bomb group flying B-17's, the Flying Fortress. You can find the museum online and take the virtual tour, it's pretty amazing in itself.
If you have the time, and you really do need more than a single day, take the Bone-yard bus tour. Even though you cannot leave the bus, you will drive by hundreds of mothballed aircraft. The kids opted for the bone-yard tour while I did the museum proper, viewing the hangars and walking completely around the 80 acre air park.
It was another hot day, temps in the mid 80's and the sun was unrelenting... take a camera, a light hat and plenty of water.
There is a surprisingly good grill onsite at the main museum building and the hangars are air conditioned as well. Staff is friendly and helpful especially the core of volunteers many of whom have experience directly or indirectly with some of the aircraft.
The displays are very well done with placards giving the particulars as you walk and photograph the exhibits.
In the few hours we spent there, I at least got enough of a view that I am certainly going to return and spend more time where I wish.
If you like things mechanical or enjoys airplanes in general, this is a must do stop over. I'll try an label as many as I know... :)
|Oscar, army version similar to the Navy Zero|
|A 10 Thunderbolt, sometimes called "Warthog" with 30mm gatling cannon.|
|SR 71 fastest aircraft ever produced.|
|WWII German Buzz bomb V1|
|Bell P 39 Airacobra|
|P 51 Mustang|
|Business end of an F4 U|
|North Korean Mig 15|
|A 10 ground attack tank buster.|
|C 46 cargo plane and Willy's JEEP|
|F 14 Tomcat from Top Gun|
|Martin mariner seaplane amphibian|
|Workhorse B 24 Liberator|
|B 29 Superfortress, type dropped the 2 atomic bombs on Japan Aug 6/9th 1945|
|B 52 Stratofortress|
|B 36 Six piston engines with jet assist.|
|B 36 pusher engines|
|Bunches of choppers (again not Hell's angels)|
|Sikorski sky crane heavy lift chopper.|
|F 18 Hornet Blue Angels plus 1 dad 1 daughter|
|A 10's on final to land|