The Military Aviation Museum houses an impressive collection of World War I, World War II and Korean War-era bombers, trainers, fighters and seaplanes. Set in the hangars of the former Virginia Beach Airport, the museum displays more than 60 aircraft. The planes have been carefully restored and most are still capable of flight. Look for the Spitfire and the Sopwith, along with other notable aircraft. Watch them in flight at one of the museum’s regular air shows.
The museum’s exhibits are located in a series of art deco hangars. In addition to aircraft dating as far back as 1911, the museum displays motorcycles and other vehicles as well as historic uniforms and artwork. Examine British and American aircraft, plus a few Nazi planes. Highlights of the Army Hangar include theP-51 Mustang and the B-25 Mitchell. Designed by architect Steven Atkin, the museum’s World War I hangar is modeled after the French barns that often served as hangars during the war.
Walk through the Cottbus Hangar, an authentic German Luftwaffe hangar dating back to 1933. The hangar was brought from Cottbus, Germany, a town southeast of Berlin. Head to the 16,000-square-foot (1,500-square-meter) Fighter Factory hangar to see how historic aircraft are preserved and restored. Take a docent tour of this fascinating hangar, where the museum’s aircraft collection is restored each year.
Time your visit to see one of the special events or flight demonstrations held throughout the year. Attend a model train show or hear pilots talk about their experiences in combat. World War I planes fly to a soundtrack of Vaudeville-style music at the annual World War I Air Show in October. Enjoy live orchestral music, fireworks and flight shows at the Flying Proms show in June.
The Military Aviation Museum is located in the southern area of Virginia Beach, on the site of the Virginia Beach Airport. The museum is open daily, with regular closures for Thanksgiving and Christmas. An admission fee is required. Watch historic aircraft in flight at the Military Aviation Museum.