Castle Air Museum

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Castle Air Museum
File:CAM Foundation.PNG
Castle Air Museum is located in California
Castle Air Museum
Location within California
Established 1981
Location 5050 Santa Fe Drive
Atwater, California 95301
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Type Military Aviation

Castle Air Museum is a military aviation museum located in Atwater, California, United States adjacent to the site of the former Castle Air Force Base. It is one of the largest aerospace museums displaying vintage aircraft in the western United States.

History and information

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (61-7960)

The museum opened in 1981, and currently displays 54 restored World War II, Korean War, and Cold War era aircraft. The outdoor museum covers 11 acres (45,000 m2), and among the exhibit highlights are a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (one of only 19 surviving), a Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, and the massive, ten-engined Convair B-36, one of only four surviving and the largest mass-produced piston aircraft in history. An indoor museum features photographs, uniforms, war memorabilia, aircraft engines, and a flight deck. A crew of 35 volunteers restore and maintain the aircraft on display.[1] The museum also hosts a periodic "open cockpit day" in which visitors can actually view the interiors of certain planes.

In May 2008, the museum reached its 50th displayed aircraft milestone with the addition of a Douglas A-4L Skyhawk. The aircraft was shipped to the museum in August 2006, and restored at a cost of $12,000.[1]

In October 2013, the Museum received a retired VC-9C aircraft that had previously served during several administrations as an alternate Air Force One and Air Force Two aircraft when use of the primary VC-137 or VC-25 was impractical. Labeled as a “mobile flying White House”, Mark Hendrickson, Director of the Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development Department, said residents need to view the air museum as an economic development opportunity, especially when a plane of this stature is added to the collection.[2][3]

Vice Presidents such as Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and First Ladies such as Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Hillary Clinton, as well as Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, were among the individuals who used the plane.[4]

Hidden aircraft collection

Castle Air Museum has several aircraft that cannot be displayed outdoors, as their fabric coverings do not hold up in the San Joaquin Valley weather. The museum is working to raise funds for a suitable building to display these and other items that they do not presently have indoor space to display.[5]

Restoration efforts

The museum has recently received three new planes which are currently under restoration before they will be displayed on the museum grounds:

Alleged paranormal occurrences

Boeing B-29A Superfortress

The B-29A Super Fortress exhibit is reported to be haunted by a spirit named "Arthur". Museum management has reported that visitors, including paranormal investigators, have heard knocking and footsteps from inside the plane. In addition, lights in the aircraft have been known to turn on and off and the propellers are known to turn even though they are locked into place. An apparition has been photographed on several occasions, and paranormal researchers have detected anomalous readings on equipment.[6] The paranormal occurrences have been featured on an episode of UPN's Real Ghosts (1995).

Aircraft on display

Name Function Crew
Avro Vulcan B.2 Strategic/Nuclear Bomber 5
Avro-Canada CF-100 Canuck Interceptor/Fighter 2
Beech C-45G Expeditor Utility/Trainer 2
Beech T-34 Mentor Trainer 2
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Bomber 10
Boeing B-29A Superfortress Bomber 11
Boeing B-47E Stratojet Bomber 3
Boeing B-52D Stratofortress Bomber 6
Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter Tanker/Cargo transport 5
Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker Tanker/Cargo transport 4
Boeing WB-50D Superfortress Weather Reconnaissance/Bomber 11
Cessna O-2A Super Skymaster Observation 1
Cessna U-3A Blue Canoe Utility/Light transport 1
Consolidated B-24M Liberator (44-41916) Bomber 8–10
Convair 240 (HC-131A) Samaritan Transport 3
Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Interceptor 1
Convair F-106A Delta Dart Fighter-Interceptor 1
Convair RB-36H Peacemaker Strategic Bomber/Reconnaissance 22
Curtiss C-46D Commando Cargo/Transport 4
DeHavilland-Canada U-6A Beaver Light Utility Transport 1
Douglas A-4L Skyhawk Attack Fighter 1
Douglas A-26B Invader Attack Bomber 2–4
Douglas B-18 Bolo Bomber 6
Douglas B-23 Dragon Bomber 6
Douglas C-47A Skytrain Cargo/Transport 5
Douglas RA-3B Skywarrior Photographic Reconnaissance/Bomber 3
Douglas R5D-4 Skymaster Transport 4
Fairchild C-119C Flying Boxcar Troop/Cargo transport 6
Fairchild C-123K Provider Assault Transport 2
General Dynamics FB-111A Aardvark Strategic Bomber 2
Grumman F-14D Tomcat Fighter 2
Grumman HU-16B Albatross Search and Rescue Amphibian 4
Kaman HH-43B Huskie Utility/Rescue/Fire Fighting 2–4
Kawasaki KAQ-1 Target Drone None
Lockheed C-56 Lodestar Cargo/Executive Transport 3
Lockheed F-80B Shooting Star Fighter 1
Lockheed F-104D Starfighter Fighter 1
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Reconnaissance 2
Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star Trainer 2
Martin EB-57E Canberra Electronic Warfare/Tactical Bomber 2
McDonnell F-4E Phantom II Fighter/Bomber 2
McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle Fighter 1
McDonnell F-101B Voodoo Fighter/Bomber 2
North American B-25J Mitchell Bomber 6
North American B-45A Tornado Bomber 4
North American F-86H Sabre Fighter-Bomber 1
North American F-100C Super Sabre Fighter-Bomber 1
North American T-6 Texan Advanced Trainer 2
North American T-39A Saberliner Trainer 4-5
Northrop T-38 Talon Trainer 2
Northrop F-89J Scorpion Fighter-Interceptor 2
Republic F-84F Thunder Streak Fighter-Bomber 1
Republic F-105B Thunderchief Fighter-Bomber 1
Vought RF-8A Crusader Fighter/Reconnaissance 1
Vultee BT-13 Valiant Basic Trainer 2

Photo gallery



  1. 1.0 1.1 Keeler, Guy (2008-04-08). "A safe landing". Fresno Bee. Retrieved 2009-09-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Yawger 2013.“Former Air Force One Lands in Atwater.” Merced Sun-Star 16 Oct. 2013:n.pag. Merced Sun-Star. Web. 5 Mary 2014.
  4. Yawger 2013. “Former Air Force One Lands in Atwater.” Merced Sun-Star 16 Oct. 2013:n.pag. Merced Sun-Star. Web. 5 Mary 2014.
  5. Castle Air Museum - Hidden Aircraft Collection
  6. Ghost Trackers article on the allegedly haunted B29 at Castle Air Museum

External links

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