Volunteers bring the past to life at Pacific Aviation Museum

John Fisher and Larry Simon, retired U.S. Army veterans and volunteers, work on a Douglas (DC-3) Aircraft’s gage panel, which is being reconstructed for the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

MCSN Diana N. Quinlan

Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Hawaii

The Pacific Aviation Museum is located in the middle of Ford Island. Part of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and one of the most historically significant sites in America.

The museum occupies World War II-era hangars that still bear the scars of the aviation battlefield.

Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in the Pacific region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.

Members of the muse-um’s aircraft restoration team assist with that mission by preparing new aircraft for display.

“I just volunteer here at the museum. We come in and do certain things on all the airplanes,” said John Fisher, a member of the aircraft restoration team at the Pacific Aviation Museum.

“Just as work becomes available we do it. I came out here to work on the C-47 that was just a new airplane that had been given to the museum. And we’re working on it now, getting it ready for the show or to put on display,” Fisher said.

“I’ve always been interested in airplanes ever since a young kid, and when I got out of the military I wanted to go get my private license and go into aviation. You always run into some-body that either flew as a crew member or actually flew them or rode in them,” Fisher said.

The restoration shop in hangar 79 is in its original World War II maintenance configuration. Visitors today can see modern day restoration activities and participate in presentations of the maintenance crews’ techniques and stories of their past.

“After working on older airplanes for 30 years, I just would enjoy being around them, and putting them on show for the public is really a good job to do,” Fisher said. “The airplanes are hard to get in, especially like this P40 Warhawk Flying Tiger. They’re getting to be very few of them left and to get them over here for the museum is very costly, so we’re trying to get as many in as they can. They’re working on them all the time trying to get different airplanes to come in,” Fisher said.

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Category: News