Ever wanted to take an open-cockpit ride in a Word War II airplane? Maybe you hadn't considered it before, but now that we've mentioned it, your answer might be yes. This dream come true is possible with a short trip out to Heber City to visit the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Aviation Museum, a facility first established in 2009 by local Utah WWII veterans and CAF members.
History buffs will recall the rapid evolution of aircraft technology during WWII dramatically influenced the war, proving to be versatile, decisive weapons that changed combat forever. The museum's current crown jewel is a 1941 Boeing PT-17 Stearman aircraft – N1387V – currently under restoration. These open-cockpit planes were made from fabric, wood, steel, and aluminum and primarily used as basic trainers for all branches of the military during WWII. Only about 1,000 of these planes still in the air today. The museum also has a North American Aviation T-6 Texan on display. This single-engine aircraft was used as an advanced trainer during World War II and into the 1970s.
While the museum is dedicated to restoration, preservation, and demonstration of the magnificent WWII era aircraft, they still have plenty to offer even if you'd prefer to keep your feel solidly on the ground. After admiring the historic aircraft, you can also take a stroll back in time via the supporting displays depicting the story of WWII and other historic military events or in their complete library.
2017 Museum Events
May 20, 2017 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Celebrating Women in Aviation
Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of aviation was the disappearance of the pilot Amelia Earhart during her 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe. This year, however, marks the 85th anniversary of her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. On May 20, 1932 she took off from Newfoundland, landing in Ireland nearly 15 hours later and becoming the first woman to complete this trip solo. Hear Amelia’s story first-hand along with the stories of Jackie Cochran who started the Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASP) organization, Rosie the Riveter, and other professional female pilots. Meet women service providers including Air Med helicopter pilots, fire fighters, and more. Free admission. For more information call 530.320.9221.
June 5-12 - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily: B-25 Bomber Visit – Maid in the Shade
Nicknamed "Maid in the Shade," this WWII-era B-52 Mitchell Bomber now spends its days touring around the country after nearly three decades of restoration work. Named for famed airpower pioneer Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell, regarded as the father of the U.S. air force, this plane is perhaps the most versatile plane used during the war. Heavily armed, it was utilized for high- and low-level bombing, strafing, photo reconnaissance, submarine patrol, and a fighter. This is your chance to tour the plane for yourself or take a ride (check out the video for the event). Event donation: $5 adults $3 seniors, children and WWII vets free. Tours of the B-25 are $5 adults, $10 family, B-25 Rides are $325 / $650 cockpit. Find more info at the CAF website or reserve your B-25, Stearman, or T-6 ride call 435.503.7903.
June 9 – 6 to 10 p.m.: Swing Dance and B-25 Birthday Party
Dinner from Lola's Street Kitchen and birthday cake to celebrate Maid in the Shade turning 73 years old. Music by the Danny Newell All Star Band. Come ready to get your swing on with swing dance demonstrations and prizes for best costumes. The event is $15 adults, $25 couples, veterans and kids free.
June 10 - 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Pancake Breakfast
Fill up with a hearty pancake breakfast before your B-25 tour or ride. $8 adults; $3 kids and seniors.
August 6 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Third Annual Classic Car and Aircraft Show
If you're a classic car or airplane lover, you won't want to miss this event. There will be more than 50 classic cars on display along with a Stearman bi-plane, two T-6 Texans, and a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon. Featured aircraft will be a Grumman TBM Avenger. The TBM was a torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. During WWII Lt. George H. W. Bush flew TBMs off the carrier USS San Jacinto in the South Pacific. Prices are $5 adults, $3 seniors, children and WWII vets free. Want to show off your own vehicle? To register your car call 801.928.6950.
The car show will be followed by a 50s-themed Swing Dance Party from 6 - 10 p.m., featuring Lola's Street Kitchen and the Danny Newell All Star Band. Swing Dance demonstrations and prizes for best costumes. Prices are $15 adults, $25 couples, veterans and kids free.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Aviation Museum is located in the CAF Hangar on the Russ McDonald Field, Heber Valley Airport, 1980 Airport Rd, Heber City. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays May through October, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.