Pima Air Museum

By Frits Jongerman | March 2004
Out of Service Special.
info_outline This article is outdated and will be updated soon.

These links will provide you with additional information about the Pima Air Museum and the Titan museum.
open_in_new Pima Air Museum website
open_in_new Current inventory

By 1966, MASDC (now called AMARC) had collected an informal display of aircraft near the main entrance of the base. The collection was around 30 aircraft but not accessible for the general public. The idea of a permanent aircraft museum was conceived in 1966, by te MASDC commander at that time, Colonel I.R. Perkin. Later that year the Pima Air Museum was founded by members of the Tucson chapter of the Air Force Association. They obtained a 320 acre parcel of government surplus land south of Davis Monthan AFB.

In October 1969 MASDC authorised the transfer of 35 aircraft to the museum, although they remained in store in MASDC.

The first aircraft, which arrived in 1970, comprised a damaged F-94, a BT-13A and an L-5B. An ex-Indian AF B-24J Liberator arrived in late 1970. It was flown from India to Davis Monthan AFB in 31 days, with 12 stops along the way.

The Museum officially opened on May 8th 1976 witch 75 aircraft on display and has grown to a 75 acre fenced in site containing several hangars as well as aircraft. The Air Museum has a large library and a nice shop).

Located at 6000 E Valencia Road, just off Interstate 10 the Museum currently has at present over 200 aircraft on display and 100.000 square feet of indoor exhibit space housing. Open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). If you want to visit AMARC you have to buy a ticket in the shop of the Pima Air Museum. Tours were given by the Air Force but nowadays by the Pima Air Museum. In May 1986 the Pima Air Museum opened the Titan Missile Museum, located in Green Valley about 25 miles south of Tucson, which contains a former Titan II missile in its underground silo. The Titans were operated by the 390th Strategic Missile Wing. Near the site, an UH-1F is preserved (63-13141). The Titan Missile Museum is located in Sahuarita off Interstate 19 about 25 minutes drive from the Pima Air Museum. From November through April 30 the Museum is open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). You can buy tickets in the shop of the Pima Air Museum.

44-70016 TB-29J

56-1393 F-102A

61-2489 VC-140B

Nowadays Pima Air Museum is the largest privately financed air museum in existence.

Most of the helicopters and planes were stored at Davis Monthan AFB (AMARC or before MASDC). The old types like the B-24 and B-29 are inside the hangars but most of the aircraft are outside and very good to photograph. Take plenty of water with you during the museum tour.

64-117653 TA RB-26K

55-5118 YF-107A

62-4427 WW F-105G

64-0673 FG F-4C

149289 RA-5C

57-0493 C-130D

Most aircraft are in the original colour scheme and many are under restoration.

I have visited the Pima Air Museum about six times and you will always see new aircraft, and in new markings. Sometimes aircraft are transferred to another museum or back to service! An example of the last is the McConnell Douglas YC-15 72-1875 (AMARC parkingcode CX 001). One off the 2 prototypes was in the Pima collection but was transferred back to Boeing/McDD Long Beach CA and became N15YC.

It's always nice to visit this museum, together with the scrap yards around Davis Monthan AFB and AMARC. The weather is almost very nice and most off the aircraft are outside. During the summertime you have to think about the sun (right above the aircraft; it's better to do it very early or late in the afternoon).

Here you will find my collection of 1995 and of course, it's a very small part off the whole collection (more than 200 aircraft!). Personally I really enjoy the fighters like the F-4, F-102, TF-104 ,F-105G and F-106A but also the A-1 Skyraider is very nice. You can also see the SR-71A of the 9 SRW in 1991; later this Blackbird was placed in a sun shed so not easy to photograph anymore.

64-17951 SR-71A

57-1323 F-104D
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