Planes of Fame Demo Day: More Than Eye Candy

If vintage airplanes and classic cars are your thing, you’ll want to visit the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Southern California this Saturday for Flying Demo Day.

D-Day Doll sports the livery of the Allied forces for the Normandy Invasion.[Courtesy: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force/Ken LaRock]

If vintage airplanes and classic cars are your thing, you'll want to visit the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Southern California this Saturday for Flying Demo Day. The event is being held at Chino Airport (KCNO). During World War II, the airport was home to Cal-Aero, one of the first training facilities used by the Army Air Corps. 

Among the guests invited to appear is the Douglas C-53D from the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Inland Empire Wing. The C-53D was a variant of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain (a militarized version of Douglas’ DC-3). The C-53D was used to tow gliders into France during the Allied D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The CAF aircraft, designated D-Day Doll, sports the livery of the forces on D-Day—note the “invasion stripes" on the wings.

Demo Day is more than just aviation eye candy. At 10:30 a.m. in the Maloney Hangar, Stephen Rose of the CAF will share the story of the C-53D. Rose will take visitors through the history of the aircraft, its use in combat, and as an added bonus, Rose will talk about the trip the vintage aircraft made to Europe in 2019 to be a part of the commemorative events honoring D-Day’s 75th anniversary.

At the conclusion of the talk, there will be a brief outdoor presentation followed by an engine start of both Pratt & Whitney 1,200 hp radial engines. The aircraft will taxi by the crowd and then launch for a short flight over the airport. Upon its return, the aircraft's pilot and crew will be available for questions.

In the afternoon, flights aboard D-Day Doll will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.  The cost for a 20-minute ride is $125 and is open to guests ages 6 and older. You can book your flight in advance at

Aces, Earhart and Automobiles

D-Day Doll isn't the only attraction at Demo Weekend. Hangar Talk would not be complete without museum historian, writer, and aviation photographer Frank Mormillo, who will share stories about "Fighter Aces" in aviation history, covering both World War I and World War II.

The Museum expects to have historical re-enactors at the event, wandering in period-correct clothing to add an additional layer of authenticity to the event, so don't be surprised if you see an “Ace” in the crowd.

Did you know it has been 85 years since Amelia Earhart attempted her famous flight around the world? Museum collections manager Mike Smith will present "Last Flight: A Look Back at the Final Flight of Amelia Earhart," as July 2 marks the anniversary of Earhart's last flight and her disappearance over the Pacific. Earhart's disappearance remains one of aviation history’s great unsolved mysteries.

Aside from celebrating aviation history, the event will also recognizeAmerican automobile engineering. The California Association of Sunbeam Tigers are slated to bring their classic, high performance V8-engined sports cars for display. The Tiger was designed in the 1960s by Southern California auto racer Carroll Shelby, who is often remembered for his work with the Ford Company in the design of the Cobra and Mustang.

Doors to the museum open at 9 a.m. Regular admission prices are in effect—remember members always get in free.

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Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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