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"I visited Planes of Fame about 3 years ago. If I had to offer a one-word description it would be "Wow!" ... I was wearing my VFM uniform shirt and ID badge (and) the folks at Planes of Fame welcomed me like I was a personal friend!"

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Our Founder Edward T. Maloney


Origins of the Planes of Fame Air Museum


Growing up in the Pomona Valley in the 1930's, Edward Maloney was surrounded by aviation.  Aviation was exciting at that time as headlines every day reported world records set and daring flying stunts attempted.  Famous pilots of the day made history with their daring feats and many toured Southern California. Charles Lindbergh, Howard Huges, and war heroes and aces like Dick Bong and Joe Foss. Robert Morgan and the crew of the Memphis Belle all made appearances locally as Southern California was the world's largest producer of commercial aircraft (Douglas, Lockheed, Convair, North American, Northrop and Vultee.

As a youngster, Ed built models of many of them. After WWII ended, Ed would grab his camera and head out to photograph the planesat Cal Aero Field (Chino Airport) which had been a training field during the war. Post war Cal Aero Field was used as a salvage station where the aircraft were brought to be scrapped and recycled into refrigerators, cars, all the products people had given up to support the war effort. Ed watched the 18-foot steel cutters snap the noses off of B-17’s like they were toys. He saw house-sized mounds of aircraft technical manuals being burned. One of the workers told Ed that he was welcome to all he could carry. Ed made quite a few trips to save as many books as he could.

Ed was shocked when he saw all the airplanes being cut up. He realized that his children and grandchildren might never get to see these beautiful aircraft fly, that the engines that roared over his house would be silenced, that the men who flew them so valiantly would not be able to show their families the wonderful craft that had carried them safely home. Ed just couldn’t live with that, and the idea for an air museum was born. He opened the first aviation museum on the West Coast, The Air Museum, in Claremont, California in January of 1957 with ten aircraft on display there and our flyable B-17 at Chino Airport. The Air Museum moved to a larger facility at Ontario Airport in 1963, then to Chino Airport in 1973, as Planes of Fame Air Museum, where we still operate today.

We hope you enjoy looking at the aircraft, here on our website as well as at our Planes of Fame Air Museum Chino, CA or Grand Canyon, AZ locations. Be mindful of the great contributions made by so many to design them, build them, fly them and now to... ‘Keep ‘em Flying!’

Edward MaloneyMay 21, 1928 – August 19, 2016

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