San Diego Air & Space Museum Mig 15

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Date of visit: November 2019.
Preserve, Inspire, Educate and Celebrate is the motto of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate housed in the former Ford Building, Balboa Park, San Diego.

San Diego is a city which has one of the richest aviation heritages in the country. Convair was founded here, Ryan Aeronautical was located here and the North Island Naval Air Station located in San Diego Bay is considered the home of naval aviation.

The San Diego Aerospace Museum as it was formerly known opened in February 1963, housed in the Balboa Park's Food & Beverage Building and in 1965 the nearby larger Electric Building. In February 1978 the Electric Building suffered a devastating fire, which destroyed more than fifty aircraft and the museum's extensive artefact and archival collections. With public support and the formation of an Aerospace Museum Recovery Fund the museum re‑opened in February 1980 housed in the old Ford Building (originally built by the Ford Motor Company for the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935 and 1936).

In 1993 an annex was opened at Gillespie Field, El Cajon, to house additional and larger aircraft and in 1996 the museum changed its name to the San Diego Air & Space Museum to better reflect its mission and collection.

The museum is divided into galleries containing original and reproduction aircraft and spacecraft, emphasising the contribution San Diego has made to aviation.

During my visit the museum was preparing for a function that evening in the Edwin D. McKellar Pavillion of Flight, which considerably hindered photography and as a result i was unable to capture all the exhibits. The Pavillion of Flight was closed to the public but the staff were very considerate in allowing myself quick access to capture the images shown.


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Outside Exhibits


San Diego Air & Space Musuem YF2Y-1 Sea Dart (135763)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Lockheed A-12 (60-6933)
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World War 1 Gallery


San Diego Air & Space Musuem Curtiss A-1 Triad
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Fokker E-III Eindecker
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem SPAD VII.c.1 (B9916)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Fokker Dr.1
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Fokker Dr.1
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Nieuport 28C-1 (6169)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Albatross D.Va
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Nieuport 11 (N1256)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Nieuport 11 (N1256)
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The Golden Age of Flight Gallery

Regarded as the period between 1919 to 1939 when aviation truly came of age.


San Diego Air & Space Musuem Lincoln-Standard J-1 (N2826D)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Ryan STA (NC17361)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Ryan M-1 Messenger
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Ryan M-1 Messenger
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Gee Bee R-1 (NR2100)
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World War II Gallery


San Diego Air & Space Musuem A6M7 Zero (23186)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem F6F-3 Hellcat (42874)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem F4U-7 Corsair (133704)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem P-51D Mustang (44-73683)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem P-51D Mustang (44-73683)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Spitfire Mk XVI (SL574)
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Edward D. McKellar Pavillion of Flight Gallery

Originally an open courtyard, the now covered centre section of the musuem is where special events are held and where some of the larger aircraft are displayed.


San Diego Air & Space Musuem Ford 5-AT Trimotor (NC9637)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem Ford 5-AT Trimotor (NC9637)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem PBY-5A Catalina (48406)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem AH-1E Cobra (77-22778)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem MiG-17 (3020)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem MiG-17 (3020)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem F-4J/S Phantom II (157267)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem F-4J/S Phantom II (157267)
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Modern Jet & Space Age Gallery


San Diego Air & Space Musuem A-4B Skyhawk (142905)
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San Diego Air & Space Musuem F/A-18A Hornet (161963)
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