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Unpowered flight has been around since the days of Otto Lilienthal’s pioneering hang gliding experiments in Germany during the late 1800s. Powered flight however, has existed since the Wright brothers flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in the USA. There is good argument that Richard Pearse may have accomplished powered flight prior to the Wright brothers but the facts don’t clearly exist to support the claim. Pearse was a contemporary of the Wrights and invented ailerons, elevators, and conventional tail — while the Wrights invented airfoil design, a better propeller shape and the wind tunnel.

Aircraft have been designed all over the world and several innovative designs, successful and disastrous, have been tested. Many examples have been lost to history but many have been saved, fully restored, or lie awaiting the care they deserve — whether in museums or the back areas of rural airfields. There lies the excitement!

Aircraft in museums may be displayed so that one can photograph from any side but more often they are placed in groups (somewhat disparagingly I call them “pods”) so that only one aspect or two may be open for a good photograph — the larger the pod the less good shot opportunities are available, unfortunately. Of course, museum displays offer the best protection for the airplanes. Outside displays usually offer more angles to photograph, naturally, but suffer more from the elements. Getting picture opportunities from below, above or interior photographs seldom occur.

Finding and visiting these aircraft wherever they may be is a pleasant endeavor. They may be in museums, relegated beyond barriers or cordons so the public cannot touch them. Some may be in museums where contact is allowed — these machines once lived in a much harsher environment then they exist in today, after all. Many more are at airfields or on display as gate guardians or often seen as a plane on a pole. Exploring means that you find what you find when you find it — and that is the magic of this adventure — travel to see aircraft.

The intended posting schedule is to publish a posts Wednesday and Friday mornings (Eastern Standard Time [EST] or Eastern Daylight Time [EDT], as appropriate) — more often as time permits. Comments and questions, as always, are welcome.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Phil permalink
    10 March 2010 15:34


    Couple of suggestions for your Great Britain listing.
    I failed to find Duxford Aerospace Museum in Cambridgeshire, funded by the UK goverment & operated by the IWM (Imperial War Museum) arguably the best aircraft museum in the UK also the Imperial War Museum in London is worthy of inclusion.

    Whilst understanding your listing for England being under GB (Great Britain) branding most of the world searches for England under UK (United Kingdom) branding it may prove advantageous to move your list to a UK heading.



    • travelforaircraft permalink
      10 March 2010 17:11


      Thanks very much.

      How did I manage to forget about listing the Imperial War Museums — doh!

      And thanks, too, for your advice to use UK instead of GB.

      I’ve rectified the three errors and, again, many thanks,


  2. Phil permalink
    11 March 2010 16:16


    Delighted to be a help, I’m scanning other sites/museums within the UK that may be worthy of consideration for inclusion, so watch out.

    By the way RAF Cosford also comes under the IWM umbrella.

    Nice site & a bloody good idea, for us aviation museum fanatics.



    • travelforaircraft permalink
      16 March 2010 19:26

      Thanks Phil,

      I ‘m on the road in northern California this week so I’m a bit slow on the web site but I will get Cosfod onto the list as soon as I can. I have the sites in teh UK on the list that I know of and your assistance will be appreciated. Next week I’ll finish the sites that I have that are located in Europe.

      On this trip I stumbled upon two other museum sites, in the USA, even though I’ve scoured sites for years. I must not be as organized as I thought — but I agree with you — it is nice to have a comprehensive list of these places.

      Thanks again,


      PS I double checked. It appears the musuem in Cosford prefers to go under the name RAF Cosford but let me know if there are two musuems — RAF and IWM. Thanks again 🙂

      • Phil permalink
        23 March 2010 15:41


        I’m so sorry to have mislead you, Cosford, is indeed RAF Cosford, an overflow for RAF Hendon, & has no association with the IWM

        I have slapped my wrists….

      • travelforaircraft permalink
        23 March 2010 17:08

        LOL 🙂

        Nonsense — the important words were there to ensure that we had the museum on the list.

  3. travelforaircraft permalink
    5 May 2010 05:17


    I added another museum, the Solent Sky Museum, and it is a gem. It has the rare Saunders Roe jet fighter seaplane (the only other jet fighter seaplane was the Convair Sea Dart), a Supermarine S.6 and much more — including a Sandringham that can be toured.

    That makes for 33 museums in Great Britain, 4 in Scotland and 1 in Northern Ireland … not to mention the one in Ireland and the one on the Isle of Man.

    Thanks for your help,


  4. 27 August 2011 05:15

    Good Day, Joe –

    Your 22 August post included some really useful links/lists for US/foreign air museums: much appreciated by aviation history aficionados!
    Here in the Tampa Bay area we are continuing our planning for the Flight 2014 project: The Centenary Celebration of the World’s First Airline. Pioneer aviator Tony Jannus and the 1914 St Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line heralded “The Birth of The Global Airline Industry.” Stay tuned!

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      27 August 2011 12:05

      Glad to hear from you!

      I am looking forward to Flight 2014, as well 🙂 It’s historic! It take place in my home town! And it’s living history!

      What is not to like?

      It is not to be missed 🙂

  5. Leonardo permalink
    11 January 2013 15:10

    if you have a chance go check out the Italian Air Force Museum at Vigna di Valle. It’s on the shore of the Bracciano Lake, near Rome. Just the location is worth a visit.
    Nice blog,

  6. DJ Lazio permalink
    19 August 2014 15:42

    There is a newly opened PBY-Naval Aviation Museum in Oak Harbor, WA. Web site: Good quality naval aviation museum. Has two flight simulators, opening night vision goggle room by end of year.

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      23 August 2014 17:13

      Thanks so much! I’ve added it to the lists 🙂 Joe

  7. Valerie G. permalink
    4 August 2016 00:22

    There is another air museum in PA. The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, PA. Check out our website at We are restoring a P-61, and we have our own B25J Mitchell called Briefing Time, among many other aircraft. We have the hugest annual WW2 weekend annually that showcases our vets such as Tuskegee Airmen, every branch of the service, WASPs, and all things ’40s. 1054 Arnold Road, Reading, PA, 19605

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      4 August 2016 22:18

      Thanks and what a super museum I see from the website. Sorry I missed this one but I’ve fixed that and have entered on both museum lists. Thanks again for the help and I hope too soon visit 🙂

  8. flylady33 permalink
    13 December 2017 11:53

    I am not a pilot but I’m an enthusiast. I love everything AVIATION and enjoy reading your blog. I also have a blog and when I started researching I had plans to visit every aviation museum in the U.S. Well, I’ve been to 3 and that’s a start. I write about women in aviation because my aunt was a pilot in the 30’s. Now I write about many women and other subjects in GA.

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      13 December 2017 19:40

      I enjoy your blog and you selected a great niche–women aviators. If I can suggest…read “West with the Night” by a great female aviator Beryl Markham (aside from her incredible career it is one of the best author styles I have experienced); Jean Batten: the Garbo of the Skies” by Ian Mackersey (she was a fantastic long distance solo aviator, several posts related to her this blog) and anything on Amy Johnson.

  9. Jasmine Noble permalink
    14 November 2021 03:38

    Hello Bill,
    Hope you are keeping well in these challenging covid times.The last time we saw each other would have been 46 years ago and so happy all yours dreams with your career have come true. I have lived in B.C Canada since 1976 and still come back to UK every other year as still have family there. As you remember I used to fly for Laker Airways and still keep contact with my old roommates. Please feel free to contact me for old times sake.
    Yours sincerely
    Jasmine Noble

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