When businessman Jim Cavanaugh decided to purchase a half-share in a 1939 Piper J3 Cub in 1980, he likely could not have imagined the impact that his decision would have on preserving America’s aviation heritage. Cavanaugh’s passion for collecting and conducting research on historically significant vintage aircraft is evident today in a museum that honors his legacy and dedicates its mission to the work he began. If you’re traveling through the Addison, Texas, area, plan to visit the Cavanaugh Flight Museum to explore the stories and witness the wonders of many aviation marvels.
What Is the Cavanaugh Flight Museum?
As one of the premier aviation museums in the United States, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum exhibits more than 50 types of aircraft from World War I to the Vietnam War eras. Admire warbirds such as the North American P-51D Mustang, the Sopwith Camel, and the Bell Helicopter UH-1H Iroquois (“Huey”). In addition, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum is one of the few museums in the world where those interested in vintage aircraft can see actual examples spanning close to 100 years of aviation history in one place.
What Is the Museum’s Mission?
As a nonprofit educational organization, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum promotes the study of aviation and preserves the aircraft and stories from America’s history of flight. In addition to interpreting this history for visitors of all ages, the museum also restores, operates, and maintains its collection of historically significant, vintage aircraft and artifacts related to aviation history.
What Are Some of the Types of Aircraft on Exhibit at the Museum?
The aircraft in the Cavanaugh Flight Museum’s collection spans several eras of military history: World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the 1950s, the Vietnam War and the 1960s, and civilian aircraft. Learn about some representative examples you can encounter at the museum below.
As one of the most recognizable World War I-era fighter planes, the Fokker Dr.1 found favor among pilots, thanks to its maneuverability and lift from its three-wing design. The museum’s Fokker Dr.1 is a full-scale reproduction painted in the color scheme of the plane piloted by the infamous Baron Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen or “Red Baron.”
The Piper L-4J “L-Bird” served as an instrumental piece of military aircraft during World War II. The U.S. Navy used modified versions of this aircraft as primary trainers and aerial ambulances. The Piper L-4J in the museum’s collection reflects a paint scheme characteristic of the reconnaissance L-4s used during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
North American T-28B Trojan
The North American T-28B Trojan served the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force during the 1950s. While initially intended to serve as a trainer aircraft, the T-28 was also an attack aircraft. In the museum’s collection, the North American T-28B Trojan once called the Naval Air Station Lemoore its home between 1964 and 1967.
Republic F-105F Thunderchief
According to the museum’s website, the Republic F-105F Thunderchief is “one of America’s most important, yet often overlooked, aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s.” But the aircraft flew more missions than any other American aircraft in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
The Republic F-105F Thunderchief on exhibit at the museum is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Markings on the aircraft represent the 457th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing, based at the Carswell Air Force Base, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. This aircraft was retired from service in 1981.
Is the Aircraft in the Museum’s Collection Still Operable?
According to the museum’s website, most of the aircraft in the museum’s collection still fly and appear in air shows throughout the country. By visiting the museum’s Facebook page, you can preview upcoming events and air shows that feature the museum’s planes. For example, the museum’s P-51 Mustang participated in a heritage flight at the Thunder Over Dalhart air show in May. This show featured a few of the museum’s planes in the Addison Airport Freedom Flyover as part of the Addison Kaboom Town! Independence Day celebration on July 3.
The museum reserves several of the vintage jet aircraft pieces in its collection for exhibition only.
What Else Can I See at the Museum?
In addition to its vintage aircraft collection, the museum also exhibits representative examples of armored vehicles, military trucks, and civilian cars.
According to the museum’s website, “The Willys M38A1 is a direct descendant of the famous World War II ‘jeep.'” U.S. forces used this vehicle in combat operations through the 1970s.
1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe
Chevrolet’s introduction of its Special Deluxe model in 1941 brought impressive styling and a “Victory Six” engine, inspired by the activity surrounding World War II, to this classic automobile trim. During the 1940s, this vehicle model was the volume sales leader for Chevrolet.
What Are the Museum’s Operating Hours and Admission Costs?
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and military members, $6 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for children 3 and younger.
When visiting the museum, plan to spend at least 90 minutes to fully explore the aircraft in the exhibits throughout the facility on a self-guided basis.
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is at 4572 Claire Chennault St. in Addison. Visit the museum’s website or call 972-380-8800 for more information.
If you find yourself in and around the Addison, Texas, area, be sure to visit the Cavanaugh Flight Museum for a high-flying experience as you explore the marvels of the vintage aircraft in the museum’s collection. At Huffines Chevrolet Plano, we’re always eager to encourage residents of and visitors to our region to discover the culture and history of its communities. If you know about an attraction in the Plano area you’d like to see us feature, drop us a line and let us know about it. We’ll be sure to add it to our website.
Image via Flickr by Eric Friedebach