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PHOTO ESSAY: The WWII Museum Is an Avgeek Must-See!


The National World War II (WWII) Museum in New Orleans covers all aspects of WWII. It emphasizes the personal dimensions of combat, often told through first-hand combat accounts of soldiers, sailors, Marines, as well as seen by politicians and civilians.

Still, no account of WWII is complete without recognizing the aircraft that were instrumental (or infamous) throughout the theaters of combat, and the WWII Museum is no exception. Although, unlike any other museum I have visited, all of their aircraft are suspended—none are simply sitting on display.

The First aircraft encountered is a C-47 (military DC-3) Skytrain, the workhorse of the allied forces, carrying and dropping supplies and troops, and towing troop-carrying gliders.

The C-47 above the museum lobby, viewed from the second level inside the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion.

In the Campaigns of Courage building, visitors follow the roads to Berlin and Tokyo. On the road to Berlin, visitors encounter a Bf-109 (commonly known as the ME-109). Designed by Willy Messerschmitt (hence ME-109), it was built by the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke and therefore officially designated as the Bf-109.

While on the road to Tokyo, a restored P-40 Curtiss Warhawk seems to roar overhead in a low attack profile.

 

Most Museum aircraft are displayed in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. This multi-story building is about twice the height of other museum buildings. Despite the height, viewing aircraft is very easy, and close-up views are easy from three catwalks at different levels. The fourth-floor catwalk provides some impressive views of all aircraft on display.

On display are:

The North American P-52 Mustang, “Bunnie.”

A Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber, dive brakes extended.

A Vought F-4U Corsair.

A Boeing B-17E “My Gal Sal.”. There really is no place to stand to get a photo of the entire aircraft without a wide-angle lens. Photos taken from the fourth-floor catwalk.

The North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber—the same type of aircraft featured in “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” launched from the USS Hornet aircraft carrier. The B-25 exterior gun mounts are shown below.

Grumman TBM Avenger Torpedo Bomber

There are many aircraft not yet represented in the museum’s collection, but the collection is almost certain to grow over the years and space and funding increase. Perhaps a reason to return in a few years.

 

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Written by Jeff Richmond

Jeff Richmond

Jeff has been flying and writing for more than thirty-five years. He flew in the Air Force and later taught college-level aeronautics. He has worked as professional photographer and a business and technical writer for both Pratt and Whitney and Lockheed Martin. Now retired, Jeff is on a mission to visit, photograph and write about aerospace museums—especially the smaller, lesser known museums.