“preserving & inspiring aviation history”
The Planes of Fame Air Museum is an independently operated, non-profit 501(c)(3) aviation museum. It is the Mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation, perpetuation and exhibition of historical aircraft, and to the men and women, both famous and unknown, who devoted their lives to flight. Planes of Fame Air Museum was founded by Mr. Ed Maloney inClaremont, California. The doors first opened on January 12, 1957. At that time, it was simply called "The Air Museum". There was no need to be more specific, because no other air museums existed in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River! The original collection consisted of just 10 airplanes. From those humble beginnings, the Museum has grown to over 150 aircraft, more than 50 of which are flyable. But to understand the significance of this achievement, we have to look back to the days following WWII. Although the Allies produced over 300,000 military aircraft during World War II, most were destroyed within just a few years of the war ending in 1945. The new jet aircraft being introduced had captured the imagination of the country, making the best propeller planes of the war seem obsolete almost overnight. As the country retooled for a peacetime economy and GI’s returned home to start families, it was far more important to begin producing badly needed consumer products, than save the reminders of a war everyone was anxious to put behind them. With materials still in short supply, the aircraft that defeated the Axis powers and saved the Free World could now be bought by the pound for little more than the scrap value of their aluminum. A few were purchased by foreign air forces or collectors, like Ed Maloney, and survived. But most quickly fell victim to the smelter and met an inglorious end on the shelves of department stores as pots, pans or other products. As a result, before most people even noticed or cared, many aircraft types disappeared entirely. In fact, a number of the aircraft on display at Planes of Fame Air Museum today are the sole surviving examples of their type. They exist only because a young Ed Maloney remembered the words of General "Hap" Arnold who instructed the Air Force to save at least one example of as many different aircraft as possible to create a national museum. This inspired Mr. Maloney to commit himself to the same goal, and many of the aircraft Museum visitors now enjoy, exist only because of his personal determination over more than half a century.
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Planes of Fame Air Museum
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