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Date of visits: November 2017, March 2023.
The Proud Bird which first opened in 1967 is an aviation‑themed food bazaar and events centre located on Aviation Blvd near LAX airport, Los Angeles. The restaurant was the brainchild of David Tallichet, a former World War II B‑17 bomber pilot with over twenty combat missions to his credit. Tallichet who founded Speciality Restaurants Corporation (SRC) which owns restaurants and events centres across the United States, opened the themed restaurant as a homage to his passion for aviation.
The Proud Bird name was inspired by the 1960's Continental Airlines slogan “The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail”. Continental Airlines had painted the tails of their DC‑10's gold, to reinforce their image as an airline with a high‑quality service.
The Proud Bird offers a food hall with six culinary kitchens open for lunch and dinner, plus six banquet rooms for corporate meetings and private events. These services are enhanced by interactive aviation exhibits and an aircraft park for guests to explore. The premises are also located at the eastern end of LAX's Runways 25L and 25R, where one can observe aircraft on short final for landing.
Driving through the main gates of the premises one is greeted by a replica fibreglass P‑51 Mustang mounted on a pole, painted with the distinctive red‑tail and propeller spinner of a Tuskegee Airmen squadron aircraft. There are another three World War II replica or mock‑up aircraft displayed on poles positioned around the car park. With a temporary closure in 2016 for renovation, the Proud Bird reopened its restaurant in the summer of 2017 as a food “bazaar”. The entrance to the renovated building is dominated by a replica Curtiss P‑40 Warhawk, suspended from the ceiling in the markings of the American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers”. At the rear of the building is the air park. During my first visit, I found the grounds of the air park and some of the aircraft looking tired and neglected. Since then, the grounds have been landscaped along with the construction of a children's play area. Two World War I replica aircraft present during my first visit are no longer there, but I noticed that the remaining aircraft had received or were undergoing refurbishment.
Most of the aircraft exhibited are fibreglass replicas, but the Proud Bird does have some credibility as an air museum as the Beechcraft C‑45, Douglas DC‑3, Douglas A‑4 Skyhawk and MiG‑15 are originals.
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Car Park Exhibits
Air Park Exhibits