The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, located at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, AZ, is a rare find as the only aviation combat historical museum in the Greater Phoenix area. The Museum offers children and grown-ups of all ages an opportunity to learn and experience the history and evolution of wartime aircraft from World War I to the present.
The non-profit organization is managed mainly by volunteers who honor the Museum’s mission to educate, inspire, and honor. This Air Force Museum gives the local community and AZ visitors a unique space to learn via an extensive collection of exhibits & artifacts, get up close and personal with genuine warplanes and interact with friendly, knowledgeable volunteers.
Air Force Museum History
The first Commemorative Air Force was developed into a non-profit organization for veterans in 1961 by a small group of like-minded Texans who bought a historic combat plane in 1951. Seeing the importance, public interest, and popularity of historic combat aviation preservation, the group found and restored the world’s remaining combat aircraft. Now, CAF has grown to over thirteen thousand members with dozens of individual volunteer-run facilities across the globe.
CAF came to the Greater Phoenix, Arizona area in 1978 as the Commemorative Air Force’s 10th unit after ground broke for the Falcon Field Airport in Mesa. The newly christened AZCAF started its collection with “Sentimental Journey,” its first shining glory warplane Boeing B-17G, donated by Mike Clarke, a local Phoenix resident. It took about five years of scrounging for parts and many hours of work to restore the old warbird to its original beauty. The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum was born through this restoration project and the idea of necessitating a permanent residence for “Sentimental Journey,” as well as for future warbirds and aviation relics to call home.
The Planes at Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
Arizona’s Commemorative Air Force Museum’s stars of the show and main attractions are notably its collections of rare,, fully operational flying warbirds and over thirty combat planes such as fighters, trainers, cargoes, bombers, spotters, and gliders spanning multiple eras ranging from 1912 to the Vietnam War. Flight rides in the Museum’s World War II aircraft are available for a once-in-a-lifetime, truly exceptional experience.
Rare Collection of Flying WWII Aircraft at AZCAF
- C-47 Skytrain “Old Number 30”
- B-17G Flying Fortress “Sentimental Journey”
- N2S-3 Stearman “N2S Stearman”
- C-45 Expeditor “Beechcraft 18”
- SNJ/T-6 Texan
- B-25J Mitchell “Maid in the Shade”
Working Maintenance Hangar
It’s important to mention that these extraordinary planes need consistent, loving care and maintenance to help them run at the tip-top shape of their battle glory days of yore. The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum operates a designated working maintenance hangar with a complete machine shop for parts fabrication and the best artisan aircraft mechanics.
Warbirds Summer Tour
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum’s vintage warbirds take to the skies and tour the US and Canada every summer to share their magnificence with folks outside Mesa, AZ. Their goal is to bring the history of combat aviation and its heroes to life by traveling directly to hometowns all across North America. Check out updates and their flight tour schedule at azcaf.org.
AZ Air Force Museum Collections & Exhibits
While the classic warbirds housed and preserved at the AZ Air Force Museum are the spectacular main event, the Museum is also home to many other intriguing salvaged aviation artifacts, wartime collections, and historical exhibits.
Noteworthy Historic Displays
Tuskegee Airmen | Doolittle Raiders | Women in Aviation Pilots (WASPs) | POW/MIA | Aztec Eagles | Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group | “Walk of Honor” – Remembrance to Arizona Heroes | Remembrance Brick Meditation Area
Bomber Models from the 1940s to Modern-day | Norden Bombsight Bomb replicas | Rare Collection of Authentic Bomber Jackets | Group and Squadron Artwork
Handwritten Letters | Original Pictures | Old Videos | Oral histories from heroic war veterans.
Support the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum’s mission to educate, inspire, and honor aviation combat history, warbirds, and war veterans is possible through generous support from its patrons and benefactors.
Donate – There are a few different ways to donate to the Museum. In 2020, a COVID-19 Closure Relief Fund was explicitly established to help the Museum during its closure from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also donate directly to AZCAF.
Visit – Varying purchase prices for ticket admission at the Museum. Adult, Kid, Senior, Veteran, Group Rate, School & Scout Field Trip, Students, and Teacher/Chaperones.
Membership – Visit the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum unlimited throughout the year with the Annual Airbase Arizona Museum Pass for $75.
Shop – Items for sale are plentiful at the museum, offering apparel & accessories, artwork & posters, books & DVDs, children’s items & toys, gifts & collectibles, home & office, airplane models, and gift certificates.
Fly – Take to the skies in the Museum’s classic warplanes piloted by an experienced pilot. Choose from six warbirds with a variety of passenger seating and pricing options.
Group & School Trips – The Airbase is happy to accommodate schools, scouts, and other groups to take a guided educational tour of the museum, warbird collection, and exhibits.
Warbird Appearances – Book the warbirds to make a special appearance at your community event.
Location & Hours | Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum’s location is at the northeast corner of N Greenfield Road and E McKellips Road in Mesa, Arizona, just south of Falcon Field Airport.
Hours of operation for the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. AZCAF is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
If you seek to learn more about aviation combat history, view or even fly the skies in a rare warbird of the past, the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum is a fit for your top AZ Places to Go and Things to Do list.