In the interest of public safety the Museum temporarily closed on March 16.
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The Museum’s L-3 “Grasshopper” was built in 1943 for the US Army Air Corps, and used as an observation and liaison aircraft during World War II. Following the war, it was acquired by civilian owners and deeded to the Museum in 2011. It is currently undergoing a complete restoration at Gillespie Field, having been taken down to the last part. When completed in 2019 the aircraft will be certified for flight and become the first Museum aircraft to take wing since the Spirit of St Louis did so in 2003.
Built in 1927, the Museum’s FB-5 came to us a donation, consisting of a few miscellaneous parts, an engine shell and a cooling radiator. The remainder of the aircraft components have been created by our volunteers in the restoration and machine shops at Gillespie Field and Balboa Park. When completed in 2020, this very rare fighter will take its place as one of the dozen or so built from scratch (virtually) aircraft in the collection.
The Racer was designed and built in 1935 by Howard Hughes and Glen Odekirk for the specific purpose of capturing the land-based speed record, which it did flashing through the timers at 352 miles per hour. Hughes pioneered the use of flush rivets and butt-joined aluminum panels to minimize parasitic drag on the airframe. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1535 “Twin Wasp Jr.” the aircraft was ultimately fitted with a lengthened wing allowing the aircraft to operate at higher altitudes and establish a transcontinental speed record, spanning the distance from Long Beach, California to Newark, New Jersey, in only seven hours and 28 minutes. Completion of this project is scheduled for 2024.
The Air and Space Museum is constructing an exact reproduction of the Bell X-1, which is projected to be finished in 2013. This is a very important project to the Museum, as there is only one original Bell X-1 in the world, currently located at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
The Curtiss Jenny fuselage has been re-covered and is in the final stages of paint preparation at Gillespie Field. Once begun, the project will take some time due to the complexity of painting the various markings on the wings and fuselage.