We focus on restoring aircraft to flying condition as we believe that living history is the best kind of history. Our airplanes are primarily from WWII, Vietnam, and the Cold War.
From movie star's airplanes to airplanes that are movie stars, our aircraft have been used by the military, hollywood, and even as firefighters.
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engine medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. Allied air forces flew it in every theater of World war II, and it was used my many other air forces after the war, seeing service across four decades.
Built in 1944 by North American, our B-25J served with the USAAF for 13 years. It was used as a trainer, transport and personnel transport. In 1957 it was transferred to the famous "airplane boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB where it was stored until ~1959 when it was bought by a private company and fought fires in Canada and the USA. It continued to be used as an airtanker until the late 1980's when it was restored to its wartime specifications.
In 2008 the Champaign Aviation Museum acquired the aircraft and has been flying it and meticulously maintaining it ever since.
B-17G Flying Fortress "Champaign Lady"
The Boeing B-17 was a four engine heavy bomber developed in the 1930's for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC).
The B-17 was primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The U.S. Army Air Corps touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon. It was a potent, high-flying, long-range bomber, able to defend itself and return home despite extensive battle damage. Widely circulated stories and photos of battered B-17s helped it achieve huge public recognition.
Our B-17 is being rebuilt using parts from various airframes that have seen a wide range of service, including an airtanker, movie prop, search and rescue, and nuclear testing. Volunteers fabricate missing pieces according to the specifications from the original drawings.
C-1As are variants of the S-2 Tracer developed in the early 1950s. Created for the purpose of COD, carrier on-board delivery, C-1As were the freight carriers of the navy. Capable of being launched from an aircraft carrier, they delivered mail, people and cargo. Two 1,500 HP Wright R-1820s power this aircraft.
Our C-1A was delivered to the US navy in 1955. It served on the USS Lexington as well as the USS Roosevelt. Retired from the navy in the late 1980s it passed through several civil owners before being donated to the Champaign Aviation Museum in January 2019. Currently, the aircraft is being thoroughly inspected to ensure it is safe to fly passengers in.
Civil Air Patrol
The Stinson 10A is a high wing, single engined airplane. It was developed in the late 1930s and was used by the US military and the US Civil Air Patrol. It was used by the US CAP to spot German U-Boats along the United States' coasts. Once the aircraft's crew spotted a submarine it would radio for a patrol bomber to drop depth charges. After several U-boats escaped during the time it took for the bomber drop its payload, the spotters were soon equipped with small bombs.
Our Stinson 10A saw service with the CAP and flew patrols along the southern coast of the US.
The A-26 is an American twin-engined light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Built by Douglas Aircraft Company for use in World War II, the Invader also saw service during several major Cold War conflicts. It was a fast aircraft capable of carrying a large bomb load. Its speed was due to the fact that it was outfitted with two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder, double-row radial engines which provided a combined power of 4,000 HP. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft as well as the normal bomber configuration.
In 2008 the Champaign Aviation Museum acquired the aircraft from a water bombing company. Due to the limited space of our hangar the A-26 has spent several years outside unrestored. Hopefully, in the coming years we will be able to restore it.
C-47 / DC-3
The C-47 is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remains in front-line service with various military operators. Our C-47 was built in 1944 and saw service with the US Army Air Corps in Europe during the latter part of WWII. Once the USAF was formed it was used up until the early 1960s when it was purchased by a museum in Michigan. The museum closed in the early 70s and was subsequently bought by several cargo companies before it was left to sit in Columbus, Ohio. We acquired the aircraft in 2012 and are slowly restoring it.
The Fairchild F24 is a four-seat, single-engine monoplane light transport aircraft designed by the Fairchild Aviation Corporation in the 1930s. It was adopted by the United States Army Air Corps as UC-61. The Model 24 was itself a development of previous Fairchild models and was successful as a civilian and military aircraft.
Our F24 was built in 1939 and was immediately sold to Charles "Buddy" Rogers, the movie star. He flew the aircraft for several years before he sold it to another private owner. The aircraft was eventually donated to us in 2008.