World War I
If war is truly the mother of invention, then the First World War was the mother of aviation. Many saw very little practical use for aircraft prior to 1914 but by 1918 aircraft design had grown and matured to produce powerful and reliable machines. Along with the venerable Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” made famous during the “barnstorming” era, Yanks’ collection includes a Thomas-Morse S-4 Scout with original Le Rhone 9C rotary engine.
The Golden Age of Flight
The age that saw such names as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart become household words, Yanks is proud to include numerous aircraft in its collection from this “Golden Era” of aviation. With the field of commercial aviation growing, aircraft development advanced through leaps and bounds. Our Ryan B-1 Brougham served as a template for Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” and may have been flown by Lindbergh himself. Or imagine yourself alongside “Wrong Way” Corrigan on his trans-Atlantic flight in our Curtiss C-1 Robin.
World War II
The Second World War witnessed the largest aerial conflict in history. Many nations entered the war with fabric covered aircraft and biplanes still in their inventories. By war’s end, the very first jets were beginning to dominate the skies. Yanks’ collection not only includes well known and legendary aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-40 Warhawk, B-25 Mitchell, C-47 Skytrain, SBD Dauntless, TBF Avenger, F6F Hellcat, and F4U Corsair, but also includes some much rarer aircraft. Come and see the only original photo reconnaissance P-38 Lightning left in the world. Or how about a Japanese Yokosuka Ohka flying bomb. Our German V-1 Rocket sits right next to our YP-47M Thunderbolt, a rare aircraft specifically designed to counter early German jet and rocket aircraft.
With supersonic jets, helicopters and space travel, the Cold War years were all about pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible. The Lockheed Constellation not only set the standard by which all commercial airliners have since been judged, but also, as is the case with ours, served the military as a radar equipped early warning system. Climb inside our UH-1 “Huey” and AH-1 Cobra and recreate the experiences of helicopter crews in the skies of Vietnam as they fought the war from treetop level. Or take a look at our space capsule, a replica Command Module once used to help train Apollo Program astronauts to land on the Moon.
Today aircraft design and technology have reached a level of sophistication that once could only have existed in people’s wildest dreams. Man and machine are joined together at heights and speeds that still defy the imagination. Our F/A-18 Hornet alone is an impressive machine but is made even more so when one glimpses the markings on it of the US Navy’s flight demonstration team, The Blue Angels. Since the end of World War II. The Blue Angels have repeatedly been at the forefront of aviation development, with advanced modern aircraft being flown by some of the most elite pilots in the world. Our F-14 Tomcat is always a personal favorite both for its own sake as well as for its participation in the filming of Top Gun (1986). The term “air superiority aircraft” usually elicits images of a small, light and fast fighter but come and view the sheer size and raw power of the current air superiority fighter in the US Air Force, the F-15 Eagle.