If aviation history is something that you’re interested in, the Military Aviation Museum at Virginia Beach is the best of the best. Currently they have one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II aircrafts in the world. Considering their mission statement is all about restoring and showing off the wonders of flight in the past to the next generation, they’re doing a good job of it. The collection ranges from pieces from the early 1910s to the 1950s, with a fairly equal number spread out between both of the world wars. Nearly all of these are on full display at the museum’s private grass airfield.
Unlike other aviation museums, the planes aren’t static displays meant to sit around and collect dust. All of their crafts are authentically restored to their prior military condition, and the original parts have been used wherever possible. They’re fully functional, inside and out, which means they’re not just something pretty and old to look at. Almost all of them are still airworthy, too — most of them fly in air shows and flight demonstrations throughout the year. Considering the age of most of those planes, it’s nothing to scoff at! Air shows are typically twice a year, with one show dedicated to either era of military-based crafts from World War I and World War II.
The museum hosts several events throughout the year that are worth checking out, too, some of which even let you get a firsthand look at how the machines fly. Demonstrations are given for certain crafts on request, and sometimes special tours are held to get a more behind the scenes look at how the crew restores and flies from the airfield. Besides the events, there’s also a fully stocked reference library with information on all the planes and the stories of how they were built, what they were used for, and some of their most important flights in the history of the wars.
If history and flight is something you’re interested in, it’s definitely got both of those going for it. The museum is open daily from 9AM to 5PM, closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Tickets for adults are $15.00, for children 5-17 $7.50, and free for under 5. Seniors over 65 pay a discounted $13, and active or retired military members pay only $12 to honor their service to our country. For more information, visit the website.