September 19, 2018

Santa Rosa: Pacific Coast Air Museum


101 North

Pacific Coast Air Museum  One Air Museum Way, N. Laughlin Rd./Becker Blvd., at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, 5 mi. N of town, west of Hwy. 101, (707) 575-7900.  W-Sun 10-4.  $10, 65+ $7, 6-17 $5; flight simulator $10/20 min.  No pets.

overview of planes at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
overview of planes at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California

Situated on a former World War II air base, this museum opened in 1989.  Its mission is to educate, inspire, preserve, and honor.  A small room inside the visitor center is filled with aviation exhibits, including a diorama depicting the Santa Rosa Army Airfield during World War II and another documenting the filming here of the film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

docents C.J.and Andy Werback point to display re. "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
docents C.J.and Andy Werback point to display re. "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


A unique 3-D Virtual Reality Flight Simulator developed here by a volunteer makes use of virtual reality goggles to allow participants to experience flying many different types of airplanes.

developer of 3-D Virtual Reality Flight Simulatorr C.J. with his project at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
developer of 3-D Virtual Reality Flight Simulatorr C.J. with his project at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


More than 30 full-size airplanes--each with a history--are parked outside on an open field.  They include:

F-15 Eagle  The first plane to arrive in New York airspace after 9/11, when it flew in from Massachusetts.  It is on loan from the Air Force.
F-15 Eagle at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
F-15 Eagle at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


Crusader  This super-sonic Navy jet was once in a kids’ play area at Stonestown shopping center in San Francisco.  It was brought here and restored.
Crusader at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
Crusader at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


Jet Star  A private transport plane like this was seen in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” and Elvis owned one.
Jet Star at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
Jet Star at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


Albatross HU16  Sometimes this plane is open for visitors to go inside.
Albatross HU16 at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
Albatross HU16 at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


D-21 Drone  This high altitude, high speed, unmanned reconnaissance plane is fairly rare.
D-21 Drone at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
D-21 Drone at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


”Lucy” helicopter  Flew in Vietnam.
"Lucy" helicopter at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
"Lucy" helicopter at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


A-26  Positioned insider the Butler hangar, this is the only bomber to survive three wars--two in Korea, one in Vietnam.  Marked on its sides is the number of bombing missions it flew as well as the number of stops it made in Italy for wine.  It is a favorite plane because it could fly at 300+ mph and didn’t need escorts because it flew faster than the fighters.  This kind of plane is what is seen in movies.
Andy Werback describes A-26 at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
Andy Werback describes A-26 at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


Do arrange ahead for a free docent tour with one of the enthusiastic volunteers here.  On scheduled Open Cockpit weekends, visitors can climb aboard and get a closer look, and on the first Thursday of each month April through October you can attend a hot dog lunch fundraiser.  All this and there are 350 wineries within 10 miles!  Note that the aircraft will be moving this month into the adjacent Butler Hangar.
Andy Werback and W. David Ford point to Butler hangar at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California
Andy Werback and W. David Ford point to Butler hangar at Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, California


The annual Wings Over the Wine Country--an air show with historical aircraft, climb-aboards, and skydiving--is scheduled for September 22 and 23, 2018.




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