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Museum of Flying, Santa Monica, California

John Dullighan paid a brief visit before the museum's closure pending relocation in 2003.

Late-mark SpitfireLast summer I visited the 'Museum of Flying' in Santa Monica, which is located at the field where Douglas Aircraft was founded.  

The place was almost deserted and seeing and photographing the aircraft was easy. The place had a very "English" feel to it, not surprising when one considers the number of Brits in the American Aerospace industry. The Museum has a 'Docent' program, usually retired people, often pilots or aircrew of the aeroplanes in the Museum. Many of these Docents are British or Australian.

Originally founded as the Donald Douglas Museum and Library in 1974, the Museum is a non-profit corporation. The current location opened in April of 1989, the Museum opening up onto the ramp of Santa Monica airfield. Many of the aircraft in the Museum are airworthy, for while I was there the P-51 (in RAF markings) Battle of Britain Hurricaneand Bearcat were flown. The Museum also had an Me109, airworthy, and a Hurricane, the only one I've seen outside Britain and there aren't many there.

The striking thing to me was the acknowledgement of the role Britain played in the war and in Aviation in general. It was emphasised the the war was well under way by the time the US entered the war in December, 1941, a fact totally unknown by many Americans. The whole place would be quite at home in England somewhere. But why would one want to exchange California sunshine (boring, boring) for English rain and damp. Maybe boring isn't so bad. The museum is planning to relocate due to Santa Monica not being suitable for the operation of warbirds, but as yet no final location has been found.

Me-109 (in flyable condition) P-51D Mustang Supermarine S6B


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