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April 2022
Yamamoto Shootdown Was World War II's
Longest Aerial Intercept Mission
Operation Vengeance, the mission to end the life of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the architect of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, was top-secret, complex and urgent, and carried out to near perfection. Museum Docent Don Johnson described the mission to a packed WestPac Restorations hangar during a museum presentation on April 23, 80 years after the historic event of April 18, 1943.

The 59-year-old Yamamoto was a complex, well-educated and well-travelled man, and the Japanese navy’s greatest strategist.

Born in 1884, he was the son of a Samurai. He was 1904 graduate of the Japanese naval academy and had been wounded in 1905 at the naval Battle of Tsushima Strait between Japan and Russia. He was a naval attaché for the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., from 1926 to 1927. He was promoted several times in the next 15 years and, in 1939, was named Commander in Chief of Japan's Combined Fleet.

Yamamoto had great respect for the vast resources and industrial capacity of the United States; he initially opposed war with the U.S., fearing that Japan would lose a prolonged conflict. When the Japanese government decided on war, he held that only a surprise attack on American naval forces in the Pacific would give Japan a chance of victory and force a negotiated peace. The attack on Pearl Harbor, which Yamamoto had carefully planned, was a great tactical success for Japan. However, it “woke the sleeping giant.”

After Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto directed the Japanese efforts that led to the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in 1942. The Japanese were decisively defeated at Midway. Guadalcanal, in the southern Solomon Islands, was liberated from the Japanese in February of 1943 and became a center of U.S. airpower.
On April 18, 1943, Yamamoto was headed from the big Japanese base at Rabaul on the Island of New Britain to Ballalae, a small island near Bougainville in the northern Solomons, to congratulate Japanese air units there upon completion of Operation I-Go, an effort of only modest success to blunt U.S. advances in the Solomons.

Five days before the trip, on April 13, Japanese forces sent to Japanese recipients an encrypted detailed itinerary of Yamamoto's trip. In addition to Ballalae, it included stops at the Shortland Islands and Buin, on Bougainville.

Yamamoto’s staff didn’t like the idea because it called for visits to places only about 500 miles from American forces. But, Docent Johnson said, Yamamoto wanted to go, and the date was set for April 18.

American monitors intercepted the classified radio message. It was sent with the standard code, which, unknown to the Japanese, had already been broken. The message was decrypted overnight, and by the morning of April 14, passed to U.S. Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

With times and places of the trip laid out in detail, it looked as if it would be possible to send planes, possibly long-range P-38 Lightning fighters, from Guadalcanal to intercept and shoot down the plane carrying the mastermind of Pearl Harbor.

But that sparked high-level discussions. Would it be a war crime? How about strategic value? Who, for instance, would replace Yamamoto? And would it be obvious to the Japanese that their code had been broken? “We didn’t want the Japanese to know that we were reading their mail,” Johnson said. One response to the code question was to make the Japanese believe that word of Yamamoto’s flight came from Australian coast-watchers.

It was decided that the rewards were worth the risks. On April 15 “Nimitz made the call,” Johnson said, and "Operation Vengeance" was born.

Orders to carry out the mission were sent to Vice Adm. William "Bull" Halsey, Commander, South Pacific Area in New Caledonia, and forwarded to Rear Admiral Marc A. "Pete" Mitscher, Commander Air Solomons at Guadalcanal. Mitscher's staff began planning the mission.

The route from Guadalcanal to Bougainville and back would be circuitous. It called for an outbound flight low over the water (at an altitude of only 30 feet!) south of the Solomons to avoid detection by radar, coast watchers and any ships. The planes would return to Guadalcanal by flying down "the Slot" between islands of the chain. It would be a round trip of about 840 miles, the longest aerial interception mission of World War Two.

Army P-38Gs were indeed chosen because, equipped with external drop tanks, they would have the range necessary for the mission. It was too far for Navy and Marine Corps F4F Wildcat or F4U Corsair fighters, also based at Guadalcanal.
Leader of the top-secret, difficult, surprise, intercept mission was Maj. John W. Mitchell, commander of the 339th Fighter Squadron. He was an experienced, respected, reliable and dependable combat leader. He also was the Army’s first ace on Guadalcanal. He had eight victories, five in the P-38 and three in the P-39 Aircobra.

Mitchell was notified on April 17, the day before the mission. Only 18 P-38s were operational, so the size of the force was limited, Johnson said.

The intercept plan was developed by the Navy and called for an attack when Yamamoto was on a ship going from Ballalae to the Shortland Islands. Mitchell reasoned that Yamamoto could simply jump from a ship into the ocean and survive, so he dismissed that plan and developed his own. He thought the chances of success would be greater with an airborne interception, so he planned accordingly.

Because precise navigation and timing were critical, Mitchell had his plane fitted with a "Navy" compass that was more accurate than those installed on P-38s. He would utterly rely on the compass, his watch, and the plane’s airspeed indicator for navigation, as at 30 feet over the water there would be no landmarks. It would be “watch, compass, airspeed, watch, compass, airspeed,” said Johnson, a former Air Force pilot.

Mitchell used all 18 of the available P-38s – a flight of four "killer" aircraft to shoot down Yamamoto's "Betty" medium bomber accompanied by a flight of 14 others to fly cover and backup. The "killer" flight would be led by Capt. Thomas Lanphier Jr., who was recommended by Admiral Mitscher, Johnson said. Lanphier would lead Lieutenants Rex Barber, Jim McLanahan, and Joe Moore.

Unknown to Mitchell, as he was planning the mission the Japanese changed Yamamoto's itinerary and added a second "Betty" bomber to avoid “placing all their eggs in one basket,” Johnson said. Yamamoto and his staff, including his Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome, were thus split between two aircraft, with six Zero fighters acting as escorts. The order of the visits to be made by Yamamoto was also changed; he would go to Buin first, then Ballalae.
The mission began on April 18 with a takeoff from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal at precisely 7:10 a.m., Guadalcanal time (there were three time zones between Guadalcanal and Bougainville). Johnson said McLanahan suffered a flat tire on takeoff and aborted; he was replaced by Lt. Besby Holmes of the cover-and-backup flight. The drop tanks of Lt. Moore's P-38 failed to feed after takeoff, so he was replaced by Lt. Ray Hine of the cover-and-backup flight. This made the "killer" flight Lanphier, Holmes, Hine, and Barber.

Approaching Bougainville’s Empress Augusta Bay after a flight of about two hours and twenty minutes, Mitchell's P-38s first spotted the two Bettys. As they were only expecting to intercept a single bomber, there was some confusion as to whether this was their target or just a coincidental flight of different aircraft. But then the six escorting Zeros were observed above and behind the bombers, and that clinched it; the fight was on.

Lt Barber positioned his P-38 behind one of the two Bettys and opened fire; this turned out to be Yamamoto’s aircraft. The right engine was hit and set afire; following more bursts the aircraft pitched over left and crashed in the jungle. It is thought, Johnson said, that the pilot being killed is what caused the aircraft to go down. All 11 aboard, including Yamamoto, were killed. The second Betty, with Ugaki on board, also was shot down and crashed into the sea.

One of the Operation Vengeance pilots, Lt. Hine, was not seen again, and was declared missing in action. One P-38 was observed heading back out over water with a smoking engine; this was thought to be his aircraft.

A controversy over who shot down Yamamoto’s plane went on for years. While Lt. Lanphier claimed the victory with a high deflection shot from the right side of the aircraft, most evidence shows it was Lt. Barber from the rear. This evidence, Johnson briefed, included a critical bullet wound to Yamamoto’s skull that entered from behind and exited through the front.

There were three survivors of the crash of the second “Betty,” including Yamamoto’s Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome. He recovered from his injuries and, in February 1944, took command of Japan's 1st Battleship Division. Ukagi heard Emperor Hirohito's radio announcement conceding defeat and calling for the military to lay down its arms but, Ukagi wrote in his last diary entry, he had not received an official cease-fire order. On August 15, 1945, the day after Emperor Hirohito provided Japan’s unconditional surrender to the United States, Ukagi was killed flying an aircraft in a Kamikaze attack on American ships.
Johnson said President Franklin D. Roosevelt was asked by reporters if he knew that Yamamoto had been killed. “He just raised his eyebrows really high and said, ‘Gosh.’”

Before and after the presentation, the cockpit of the museum’s rare P-38F Lightning fighter “White 33” was opened for visitors, giving the audience of about 300 a very special opportunity.

Assisted by volunteers Maggie Bott and Kevin Bogan, visitors young and old made their way up the stairs of the mobile maintenance platform where they were then able to both look inside the cockpit and take pictures. There were more than a few wows, oohs, and aahs as the details of the tightly cramped quarters were taken in and people pictured themselves flying missions a long time ago.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Photo Credit: George White
May Special Presentation - Join Us!
Join us Saturday, May 28, for the special presentation, "March 18, 1945 - The Biggest Berlin Mission of the War".

Once Germany declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941, the buildup of U.S. air power in Europe began, first in Britain and later in Southern Italy. It was a slow and
fitful process at the onset, but by early 1944 the USAAF had built an awesome force of
bombers and escort fighters in Europe.

Throughout the spring of 1944 the USAAF and Royal Air Force crippled the Luftwaffe such that by the invasion of Normandy, the Allies had achieved air supremacy over France. Allied bombers then resumed their attacks on Germany to fatally damage its ability to wage war.

Docent and U.S. Air Force veteran Matt Ouding will describe the crescendo of events
that led to the air attacks on Berlin. He’ll discuss the reasoning behind the missions and
the forces involved. He’ll focus on the mission of March 18, 1945, when the USAAF
8th Air Force sent 1,329 bombers, escorted by 733 fighters, to attack rail stations and
tank assembly plants in greater Berlin. It culminated in what has been termed the
largest air battle of 1945.

The event is planned to include (weather permitting) a flight demonstration by P-51 Mustang 'Stang Evil; this will be a photo opportunity that you won't want to miss!

Check the museum events calendar at Events Archive - National Museum of World War II Aviation for updated event information!

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
Photo Credit: Paul Gordon
Secret Doolittle Raid, 80 Years Ago, Boosted American Morale
The famous Doolittle raid on Japan took place eighty years ago this month. It was America's first raid on the Japanese home islands since Japan's December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

The secret mission was a great boost to American morale, which had been at a low point after a drumbeat of bad news that followed Pearl Harbor and included the loss of Wake Island, Guam, and the surrender of Filipino and American forces on Bataan in the Philippines.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to strike Japan as soon as possible and, beginning in January 1942, a plan was developed to launch US Army Air Forces bombers from a US Navy aircraft carrier. The idea was that the bombers, with a longer range than Navy aircraft, could be launched from farther away. This would hopefully put them beyond sectors patrolled by Japanese vessels, which might catch the enemy unawares.

There were a number of challenges: For instance, how would the bombers take off from a carrier’s short deck? How would aircraft and aircrews be recovered? While they might be able to take off, the bombers certainly wouldn’t be able to land back aboard a carrier. In the end it was decided that the bombers wouldn’t return to the carrier – instead they would fly on to airfields in China.

Trials were held to ensure the short takeoff of a fully loaded B-25 (aircraft, aircrew, fuel, and bomb load) was even possible. In March of 1942, after practicing for several weeks on land at various auxiliary fields on the Eglin military reservation in the Florida panhandle, crews proved that they were able to take off within the length of a carrier deck … less than 500 feet. 
World-famous aviator and reserve Army Lieutenant Colonel James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle was chosen to lead the mission. On April 18, 1942, 16 B-25B medium bombers, each with a crew of five, with Doolittle in the lead, took off from the carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) in the Pacific Ocean. They struck targets in Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Yokohama, and Yokosaka; while the damage was not extensive, Japan was stunned.

All of the aircraft would end up ditching or crashing, and not all aircrew survived to return home. Of the 80 crewmen who took part, 69 escaped capture or death. Seventy returned to the U.S. or to U.S. forces elsewhere, except for one who was killed in action. Eight were captured by Japanese forces; three of these were executed.

Doolittle himself tells the story of the raid, and his life, in "I Could Never Be So Lucky Again," an autobiography with Carroll V. Glines, originally published in 1991 by Bantam Books.

A surprise attack from an aircraft carrier, "precisely as the Japanese had done at Pearl Harbor...would be the kind of touché the Japanese military would understand," Doolittle wrote. "An air strike would certainly be a blow to [Japan's] national morale and furthermore should cause the Japanese to divert aircraft and equipment from offensive operations to the defense of the home islands."

The plan called for the B-25s be launched 400-500 miles from Japan. They were loaded with extra fuel, giving them a range of 2,400 miles, which was adequate for the mission.

But the USS Hornet and other ships in the task force were sighted by the Japanese 650 miles from Japan; this prompted Doolittle and Hornet Captain Marc Mitscher to decide to take off immediately. Fuel now became a concern.

"The ear-shattering klaxon horn sounded and a booming voice ordered, "Now hear this! Now hear this! Army pilots man your planes!" Doolittle said. "The weather had steadily continued to worsen. The Hornet plunged into mountainous waves that sent water cascading down the deck. Rain pelted us as we ran toward our aircraft. It was not an ideal day for a mission like this one.”
"I knew hundreds of eyes were watching me, especially those of the B-25 crews who were to follow," Doolittle said. "If I didn't get off successfully, I'm sure, many wouldn't be able to make it either. But I knew they would try.”

"I started the engines, warmed them up, and checked the magnetos. When satisfied, I gave the thumbs-up sign to the deck-launching officer holding the checkered flag. As the chocks were pulled, he looked toward the bow and began to wave the flag in circles as a signal for me to push the throttles forward to the stops. At the instant the deck was beginning an upward movement, he gave me the 'go' signal and I released the brakes. The B-25 followed the two white guide lines painted on the deck and we were off with feet to spare as the deck reached its maximum pitch.”

"I signaled [co-pilot] Dick [Cole] for wheels up and as the plane gained flying speed, I leveled off and made a 360-degree turn to come over the carrier," giving navigator Hank Potter "a chance to compare the magnetic heading of the carrier with our compass and align the axis of the carrier with the drift sight. The course of the Hornet was displayed in large figures from the gun turret near the island. Through the use of the airplane's directional gyro, we were able to set a fairly accurate course for Tokyo."

The other 15 B-25s also took off successfully and headed individually to their own targets in Japan. "A half hour after takeoff we were joined by the second B-25 to depart, which flew a loose formation with us.... About two hours out we flew directly under an enemy flying boat that just loomed at us suddenly out of the mist. We don't think they saw us.”

Doolittle and his crew "made landfall [in Japan] about 80 miles north of Tokyo." They "stayed as low as we could and saw many flying fields interspersed among the beautiful scenery. People on the ground waved at us. There were many planes in the air, mostly biplanes, apparently trainers.”

"It was shortly after noon in Tokyo. About ten miles north of the city we saw nine enemy fighters in three flights of three. Dick one time counted 80" enemy fighters. The fighters didn't attack "but flak from antiaircraft ground batteries shook us up a little and might have put a few holes in the fuselage.”
"When we spotted the large factory buildings in our target area, I pulled up to 1,200 feet and called for bomb doors open. [Bombardier] Fred Braemer toggled off the four incendiaries in rapid succession. It was 12:30 pm Tokyo time.”

"I dropped down to rooftop level again and slid over the western outskirts of the city into low haze and smoke, then turned south.... As we sped toward the coast, we saw five fighter planes converging on us from above. There were two little hills ahead. I swung very quickly around the hills into an S turn. The fighters turned also but apparently they didn't see the second half of my S. The last time I saw them they were going off in the opposite direction from us."

After leaving Japan, headwinds threatened to force all the raiders to ditch at sea. Navigator “Hank Potter estimated we would run out of gas about 135 miles from the Chinese coast.”

But “the headwinds turned into tailwinds. However, as we reached the coast, the weather and darkness cut down on the forward visibility." Attempts to contact the homing beacon at the planned landing field at Chuchow failed. "The only alternative was to bail out or crash-land, which we all did successfully," with the exception of one crew that landed in the Soviet Union.

Doolittle and his crew bailed out in the dark as the fuel gauges showed empty, and survived. He thought he had failed to complete his mission because all 16 of his planes had crashed. He and the others hadn't landed and refueled at Chuchow and hadn’t flown on to the planned final destination of Chungking, another 800 miles farther inland.

Doolittle thought he would be court-martialed. Instead, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted two ranks to brigadier general … and earned a place in history.
This photo shows the museum's own B-25 "In the Mood" taking off from the USS Constellation off the coast of California in September 2000 during filming for the movie "Pearl Harbor."

The image was captured from the movie and enhanced by John Fernald, a Colorado photographer. Our B-25 was one of several participating in takeoff; movie magic made it look like the 16 of the Doolittle mission. "In the Mood" and the other B-25s were painted in 1942 colors with water-based paint that was removed after filming.

"In The Mood" flew as B-25 40-2267. During the raid, 02267 was flown by Crew No. 15, with pilot Lt. Donald Smith. They ditched off the coast of China. One crewmember, Lt. T.W. White, flew as a gunner but also was a doctor; his skills saved the life of the pilot of Crew No. 7, Lt. Ted Lawson. Our May 2021 newsletter told that story; you can read it here: A Doctor Proved His Worth on the Doolittle Mission.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
The X-Planes You May Never Have Heard Of
Early in World War II, United States Army Air Forces planners were not blind to the possible need for escorts for the USAAF bomber fleet being built in England. Key senior officers had been to Britain to observe first-hand the air battle going on there.

As early as August 1941, four months before the U.S. entered the war, USAAF planners included in the master plan to defeat Germany a need for bomber escorts. The problem was that it wasn’t at all clear what such an escort would look like.

The Royal Air Force was telling the USAAF that a fighter could not be built that could fly the distance to Berlin and back and still be an effective fighter over enemy territory. The USAAF’s own engineers came to the same conclusion. The Luftwaffe had failed in a similar development attempt with its twin-engine Me-110 that eventually needed fighter escorts of its own in the Battle of Britain. There was hope that the P-38 Lightning might effectively serve in the role; however, early in the war it was range-limited and had a myriad of technical problems operating in the cold European winter weather.

By 1942, discussions among USAAF leaders centered on the concept of bomber escort gunships called “convoy protectors”. Two designs were pursued. One was a conversion of the B-17 Flying Fortress into a strongly armed gunship; its experimental version was labeled the XB-40. The second was a modification of the B-24 Liberator design designated XB-41. The concept was to have the “convoy protectors” cover the flanks of bomber formations, protect mission leaders' aircraft, and protect the rear of formations from tail attacks. These aircraft would not leave the bomber formation but be embedded in it.
The B-17-based XB-40 was to have a twin-.50 caliber chin turret, two dorsal twin-.50 caliber turrets (a second behind the bay and forward of the ball turret), twin-mounted .50 caliber waist guns on each side, the standard ventral turret, and twin tail guns. It would carry large quantities of ammunition with the bomb bay converted to an ammo magazine, and extra armor plating for protection of crew members. The B-24-based design was to be similarly equipped.

The XB-40 prototype first flew in May 1942. In 1943 twelve YB-40s were deployed to England for combat testing with operational bomb groups.

Engineering and testing reports concluded that the YB-40 concept was neither feasible nor economical. Reports also questioned the utility of an aircraft that had no performance superiority, barely augmented the considerable firepower of standard bombers, was more exposed to enemy fighters, and could not deliver bombs. In short, tests showed the YB-40 was ineffective for its stated purpose. There were similar findings for the XB-41 B-24-derived variant.

Thankfully, new technology and improved application of older technology resulted in the long-range P-51 Mustang as well as greatly extended range for the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-38 Lightning. However, the P-38 continued to be plagued by problems in Europe such that by the end of the war in Europe there were only a few P-38 groups left in the theater.

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
Come Try Your Skills Flying the Yellow Peril !
Have you ever had the opportunity to fly in a flight simulator inside of the actual aircraft that it’s simulating? Now you can!
The Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 was the last biplane in US military service, used as a Primary Trainer for Navy and Marine aviators. Powered by a Wright R-670 Whirlwind 7-Cylinder Radial Engine generating 235 horsepower, the N3N had a maximum speed of 126 MPH, a ceiling of 15,200 feet, and a range of 470 miles. First flown in 1935 and finally retired in 1961, the N3N was famously easy to fly and very reliable. The type saw extensive use post-war on the civil market as crop-dusters.
The museum’s N3N-3 “Yellow Peril” was itself a crop duster before being used as a parts “hangar queen” to keep other aircraft in the air. She was purchased by The Feenix Partners in 2009 and later donated to the museum; here’s where the really cool part comes in. In addition to being kept in a bare-frame condition, allowing visitors to see her bones and exactly how she was built, she’s also been outfitted with a flight simulator!

The N3N flight simulator exhibit is the result of a museum program to provide senior design projects to the engineering students from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, College of Engineering and Applied Science.
The N3N Simulator was designed to measure the cockpit inputs from the N3N’s elevator, aileron, rudder, throttle, and mixture controls, and convert those measurements into digital inputs into a computer aircraft simulation program.

Financial support for the project was provided by the family of Richard Icenhower, recognizing his career as a USMC fighter pilot, control systems engineer, and successful business owner. Financial and product support was also provided by SAMTEC Corporations and Golden Age Simulations.

Story & Photo Credit: George White
Look at Those Curves!
If you think the PBY Catalina looks more like a boat than a plane, you’re absolutely correct!

Originally designed and constructed as a seaplane, the curved hull is made specifically to allow for water operations, from rough open seas to rivers and shallow bays.

Amazingly, her draught (the depth of her hull underwater) at 27,000 pounds was only 2 feet 9 inches; when needed, she could float right up to the beach! As such, the Catalina served multiple roles, from long ocean patrols (she had a range of 3,000 miles) to search and rescue missions picking up downed pilots and survivors of ships that had been sunk, to stealthy night bomber.
So what about the wheels then? Boats don't need wheels!

The PBY-1 through PBY-5 models were strictly capable of water takeoff and landings. Though they were equipped with “beaching gear”, externally mounted tire assemblies that had to be attached and removed by a beaching crew and which allowed for moving the aircraft into and out of the water, that changed with the addition of retractable tricycle landing gear on the PBY-5A model.

Hydraulically controlled and internally stored, this made the Catalina totally amphibious, able to take-off and land from both land and sea. It also eliminated the need for beaching crews, as the Catalina could now simply move in close to shore, deploy internal gear, and power her way out of the water.

Come check out the details on our 1944 Consolidated Vickers PBV-1A/PBY-5A’s tricycle landing gear, and the rest of our amazing collection, during your visit to the museum!

Story and Photo Credit: George White
Thank You Volunteers! A Message from Bill Klaers
Museum Volunteers,
I would like to celebrate National Volunteer Week by giving you all applause for a job well done.  Even though the Museum hosts a yearly Volunteer Appreciation Barbeque and Christmas Party, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your work and commitment to make this Museum great!  No wonder the National Museum of WWII Aviation is #2 on Trip Advisor.  There are over 200 active volunteers today, and the Museum is as busy as it has ever been thanks to the efforts of you volunteers!  To make the Museum run smoothly, numerous activities operate concurrently which can be seen below.
Over the last year we have seen Museum return to normal operation after the Covid-19 scare.  We are now in growth mode on our way to being open 7 days a week and have plans for a new building.  Our volunteer solicitation has been in high gear to support this planned growth. 

Collections, Exhibits, and History teams have done wonders in collecting, documenting, and storing artifacts while much work has been done on developing new displays and graphics for the new pavilion expected to open next year.

Development team is automating Museum Memberships, bench, and brick sales.

Docent Section has added 10 new team members and will add 10 more in the coming weeks.
Front Desk has continually processed more visitors and tour group numbers have been rising.

Events team have been numerous and are being received by the customers very well and are raising money for Museum operations and expansion.
Facilities and Grounds Section was established to conduct deep cleaning as the Museum prepared to reopen in July 2020. At that point, the section transitioned to performing its core functions of operating and maintaining all museum buildings and grounds, to include maintenance repair work, servicing building and support equipment and cleaning of facilities each day the museum is open and providing labor support for the many special events.

Interactive Displays has upgraded the N3N and is bringing in volunteers to support the Link and N3N as revenue producing displays while continuing to add future automation.  The team has started 4 UCCS Senior Projects this year.

Library has continued to grow from its 13,000-book inventory as we have received a donation of 16 boxes of books, so it has been an “all hands” effort to catalog them.

Communications, Public Relations and Marketing volunteers significantly raised the museum's public profile over the past year through social media platforms, working with news media, and the popular museum newsletter.
WestPac Restorations is continuing to restore a Curtiss SBC Helldiver and a Fairchild PT-19 aircraft, moving aircraft as events are hosted and is now planning for the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow.

Retail & Sales continues to break records every year with our handmade historical aviation souvenirs and high-quality retail items.

Security is growing to meet our needs by tripling the staff, increasing the radio inventory, and providing Safety and Security training.

Static Displays and Construction has been turning out high quality display cases, movable walls and keeping up with all of the needs of a growing Museum.

Volunteer Coordination has been processing applications and bringing new volunteers.

As you can see, there is a lot of activity at the Museum while, at the same time, customers are enjoying it for a daily visit or by scheduling an event in this outstanding venue.  We are proud of you and hope you are proud to be part of this dynamic and exciting environment.

Oh, did I mention, we are also hosting the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow?

You folks are AWESOME!


Photo Credit: George White
The Airshow is Coming! The Airshow is Coming!
Pilot Alan Wojciak throws a wave to the crowd following a flight in the museum’s P-47D-40 RA.

A visitor favorite, Serial Number 45-49385 is one of more than 15.6K Thunderbolts built, being delivered to the United States Army Air Forces in July 1945.

With their eight .50 caliber machine guns, rockets, and bombs, P-47’s earned a reputation as an invaluable ground support attack, flying more than a half million sorties while serving in both the Europe and Pacific theaters.

P-47 45-49385 is scheduled to fly during the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow on September 24 & 25; start planning ahead now to be here with us!

Story & Photo Credit: George White
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This Month's Newsletter Contributors

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Docent, Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer

Bill Klaers
President and CEO