Lyon Air Museum

Lyon Air Museum, founded by Major General William Lyon, is located on the west side of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. Martin Aviation, an award-winning jet, turbo-prop, and piston-powered aircraft repair facility founded in 1923 by legendary aviation pioneer Eddie Martin, shares the Lyon Air Museum.

The Lyon Air Museum show features actual aircraft, unusual vehicles, and related memorabilia, with a focus on the twentieth century’s defining event, World War II. Visitors acquire a greater knowledge of the significant role the United States plays in influencing world history through compelling and thought-provoking exhibitions based on historical scholarship.


At the close of WWII, the B-17 Flying Fortress, nicknamed “Fuddy Duddy,” was utilized as a VIP transport in the Pacific. It once transported General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. It served as a fire bomber in civilian life and was occasionally utilized for motion picture filming, appearing in films such as the 1962 Steve McQueen film “The War Lover” and the 1970 blockbuster “Tora Tora Tora.”


The Cessna Aircraft Company first manufactured the Birddog in 1950 as a reconnaissance plane for the United States Army. Between 1950 and 1964, 3,398 aircraft were constructed. Originally known as the L-19, it was renamed the 0-1 in 1962. It saw heavy combat duty in Korea and Vietnam, typically in the hands of former World War II fighter and bomber pilots. The Birddog served with the United States Army, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and 19 other countries. Many people regard the Birddog as the best observation aircraft ever built.


The Invader participated in more wars than any other aircraft type of the time. The assault bomber was flown by Americans in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, while other air forces used it in Indo-China, Algeria, Biafra, Cuba, The Congo, and at least a dozen more conflicts.


Lyon Air Museum’s C-47 Dakota, freshly dubbed “Willa Dean,” has had a long and fruitful career. Despite being transferred from the USAAF to the French in May 1945, this aircraft remained mostly unchanged, unlike many of its contemporaries. It changed hands once more in 1967, this time to the Israelis. It remained in service without major modifications until it was sold to the civilian market, where it ended up at Lyon Air Museum as one of the most complete and original C-47s still in operation. The 440th Troop Carrier Group’s 97th Troop Carrier Squadron’s colors, complete with D-Day Invasion Stripes, are now displayed on “Willa Dean.”


The DC-3 airliner not only provided luxury and dependability, but it also made air travel profitable. According to C.R. Smith of American Airlines, the DC-3 was the first airplane that could make money solely by flying passengers, rather than relying on government subsidies for transporting US mail. As a result, by 1939, more than 90% of all airline passengers in the United States were flying on DC-2s and DC-3s.


During World War II and into the 1950s, the North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to teach pilots for the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force, and other air forces of the British Commonwealth. The T-6, designed by North American Aviation, is known by many designations depending on the model and operating air force. The AT-6 was designated by the USAAC and USAAF, the SNJ by the US Navy, and the Harvard by the British Commonwealth air forces, which is the designation it is most known outside of the US.


The B-25 is well known for the April 18, 1942 bombing of Tokyo, and was named after the controversial proponent of US airpower, General “Billy” Mitchell. 16 B-25 bombers, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and flying from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, successfully accomplished the first strike on Japanese soil during WWII.

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