Share this on
Maintaining a working antique warbird and vehicle museum takes hours of painstaking work! Around one third of the staff at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum are mechanics—dedicated to keeping the collection in top condition.
The job is never easy. Mechanics must become experts in a wide variety of foreign and domestic aircraft and engines, which haven’t been operated for generations. When hard to find parts can’t be found, they must be made from scratch.
And, as you might expect with vintage pieces of complex machinery, the job is never ending. In the summer, the mechanics are prepping the planes for flight and, in the winter, they are tearing them down and inspecting every part.
An aircraft like the B-25J gives another demonstration of the FHCAM’s dedication to accuracy. While many flying Mitchells are bare on the interior, so patrons can be sold rides, the FHCAM aircraft contains a full complement of wartime equipment. Hauling thousands of pounds of weaponry, survival equipment, and communications gear may slow the plane and burn additional fuel, but it more accurately demonstrates the character and capabilities of this wartime medium bomber.
Just about every plane and piece of armor in the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum is restored to working condition. Most museums are static institutions. One might ask, “If you wanted to know about a fox, would you go and stare at one on the shelf of a taxidermist’s shop?” The best way to experience the animal is in its natural habitat. In the case of a vintage fighter plane, its natural habitat is the sky.
At the FHCAM, visitors can not only see, but hear, smell, and feel these magnificent machines from decades past. Nothing compares to hearing the growl of the Spitfires’ Rolls-Royce engine, seeing the Storch nearly hover in the face of a headwind, or watching the Sherman Tanks tear up the field in back of the museum. The best time to see these mighty beast come to life is at one of the museum events hosted throughout the year!