|Text: Régis Rocca - Pictures: Régis Rocca & Marlène Poppi - ©SBAP 2012|
In the middle of nowhere, after a 30mn drive south of the Grand Canyon you will find the Planes of Fame's second site, on the Valle aerodrome.
This is a smaller Museum than Chino, but the collection is perfectly displayed and placed in the right context.
The many volunteers who keep this collection alive have produced a very pleasant and accurate display. They have to be thanked for their constant availability: when greeting visitors from all over the world they prefer to tell you that your own pleasure during the visit is more important to them than their labor and their time spent there.
Indoors, you'll find the major warbirds that have made American and world aviation history. Amidst them all, an imposing Skyraider deserves a special mention.
Among other aircraft, a highly polished F3F Grumman, a well bred Me 109, an Albatros and a Nieuport, all representatives of a glorious era.
Between the aircraft, on the hall and corridor walls, a succession of displays comprising an impressive collection of medals, patches and original historical mementoes celebrating the famous and unknown heroes of US military aviation.
A P-38 Lightning cockpit allows the visitor to discover a pilot's view of this legendary aircraft. Surrounding it is a memorial to all the brave airmen who fought on all theatres at the controls of this twin engine fighter.
Noteworthy are the « Nose art » fuselage panels, their colorful design will whet the appetite of any collector.
Outside the hangars lies the place 's greatest surprise : a « bone yard », just alongside the strip.
There lie the relics of a number of air forces from around the world: Soviet Mig 15, US F-84, T-33 Shooting Star in Japanese colors, De Havilland Vampire from the UK... All this among pile upon pile of wings and engines.
Just by chance our visit coincided with a most impressive storm shooting its way to the Grand Canyon. This gave us a most dramatic sky with harsh and short-lived lighting conditions and very desert-like colors.
A place that really deserves to be discovered, for of the friendliness of the volunteers and the quality of the collection.
A REAL MUST SEE on the road to the Grand Canyon.
As for me, a P38 flight is on the horizon, any year now!
|The World War I diplay|
|The P-38 "Lighning" cockpit display|
|Reflections after the storm|
|Full colors on grey sky|
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