The Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport doesn’t get as much attention as the Queen Mary down in Long Beach… but it should. Aviation buffs will find it a fascinating trip into aviation history.
The museum was first established as the Douglas Museum and Library in 1974 on Airport Ave. It opened at its current location as The Museum of Flying on the south side of the Santa Monica Airport on February 25, 2012.
The new location includes a monument to the iconic Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The DC-3 debuted in the mid-1930s and revolutionized the travel industry by cutting coast-to-coast flight time across the United States from 25 hours to just 18. Although it typically seated only about 21 passengers, the plane allowed airlines to make a giant leap toward profitability. The aircraft was instrumental in helping to win WWII. Eighty years after its introduction, many DC-3’s are still in service.
The Museum collection consists of the many original artifacts related to the Douglas Aircraft Company, a variety of exhibits, aviation art, and features an array of aircraft from a Wright Flyer replica to aircraft of the jet age. Some of the airplanes that are on exhibit are:
1959 RoadAir – Cassutt III Formula One Air Racer – Cessna 172 – Douglas A-4 “Skyhawk” – Douglas DC-3 Monument – Easy Riser – Lockheed T-33 cockpit – Lockheed Vega replica – Monnett Monerai Sailplane – North American F-86H – North American Navion – Rutan VariViggen – Rutan Veri EZE – Stolp-Adams Starduster – N163G – Waco GXE Model 10 – NC3957 – Wright Flyer replica
You can also examine an Allison J33-A-23 engine or step into the cockpit of a Boeing 727, Convair 240 or a Lockheed P2V.
The MaxFlight Simulator
Probably one of the most fun and “hands on” experiences at the Museum of Flight is the flight simulator. The simulator allows you to take a relaxing flight over Los Angeles in a DC-3 or several other aircraft. Or if you are the more aggressive type, you can experience an intense air to air battle over the Pacific in a P-38.
The Museum’s MaxFlight flight simulator is not your average simulator. It’s a full motion simulator thanks to fully interactive 360 degree pitch and roll technology that can go completely upside down. This is also high definition 3D capable and has 5 speaker surround sound.
California Aviation Hall of Fame
The Museum of Flying also contains The California Aviation Hall of Fame. Its mission is to recognize, commemorate and educate the public on the most influential individuals that made a significant impact on the growth and development of the aviation and aerospace.
Visit the Museum of Flying at 3100 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90405. You won’t miss it, it is the building that has the DC-3 flying at its entrance. The Museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Tickets are Adults: $10; Senior / Students: $8; Children ages 3-12: $6 and children 2 or younger are free.