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Wing of History Air Museum Gilroy October 2014

Wing of History Air Museum Gilroy October 2014

This all-volunteer, nonprofit organization has dedicated itself for more than 40 years to the preservation and restoration of antique aircraft and displaying items from aviation history. Its volunteers include military veterans, NASA and Lockheed employees, and some who just love planes, said Minier. The Wing of History Air Museum is contained in several hangars adjacent to the South County airport, with one hangar devoted to some of the earliest aircraft, and another housing experimental models, with some that flew and some that didn’t, like the prototype Simcopter, a bizarre cross between a car and a helicopter. There are also planes designed by greats like Burt Rutan and Volmer Jensen as well as homebuilt aircraft. Most of the displays are clearly labeled with historic notes on their manufacture and significance. If you’re plane crazy, or even a little bit of a history buff, it’s a place where you could easily spend hours, if not days.  
 
In the first hangar, you’ll find a full-scale replica of the Wright Brothers’ plane as well as a ¾ reproduction of the first warbird ever built, a World War I-era German plane called the Stahltaube (“Steel Dove”). On the grounds there are still more planes, including a real B-25 bomber that’s available for cockpit tours. One of the great things about Wings of History is that it isn’t just about the planes. There are a wide variety of displays, some saluting early women pilots and astronauts, as well as historic photographs, vintage gear like uniforms and helmets, instruments, posters, altimeters, engines, propellers and more. Scale models of planes can also be found throughout the buildings. Volunteers are always actively restoring planes and other items that have been donated, and still others work in the FFA-certified “prop shop,” which refurbishes wooden propellers both for the museum and for other aviation enthusiasts. You may see people working on these projects on Tuesdays and Thursdays; one of the most fascinating restorations in progress is that of a 1940 Security Airster, a folding-wing airplane thought to be the only one of its kind left. There’s also an extensive aviation library that is housed in the museum.

Wing of History Air Museum Gilroy October 2014

This all-volunteer, nonprofit organization has dedicated itself for more than 40 years to the preservation and restoration of antique aircraft and displaying items from aviation history. Its volunteers include military veterans, NASA and Lockheed employees, and some who just love planes, said Minier. The Wing of History Air Museum is contained in several hangars adjacent to the South County airport, with one hangar devoted to some of the earliest aircraft, and another housing experimental models, with some that flew and some that didn’t, like the prototype Simcopter, a bizarre cross between a car and a helicopter. There are also planes designed by greats like Burt Rutan and Volmer Jensen as well as homebuilt aircraft. Most of the displays are clearly labeled with historic notes on their manufacture and significance. If you’re plane crazy, or even a little bit of a history buff, it’s a place where you could easily spend hours, if not days.  
 
In the first hangar, you’ll find a full-scale replica of the Wright Brothers’ plane as well as a ¾ reproduction of the first warbird ever built, a World War I-era German plane called the Stahltaube (“Steel Dove”). On the grounds there are still more planes, including a real B-25 bomber that’s available for cockpit tours. One of the great things about Wings of History is that it isn’t just about the planes. There are a wide variety of displays, some saluting early women pilots and astronauts, as well as historic photographs, vintage gear like uniforms and helmets, instruments, posters, altimeters, engines, propellers and more. Scale models of planes can also be found throughout the buildings. Volunteers are always actively restoring planes and other items that have been donated, and still others work in the FFA-certified “prop shop,” which refurbishes wooden propellers both for the museum and for other aviation enthusiasts. You may see people working on these projects on Tuesdays and Thursdays; one of the most fascinating restorations in progress is that of a 1940 Security Airster, a folding-wing airplane thought to be the only one of its kind left. There’s also an extensive aviation library that is housed in the museum.