A three-story, 88,000-square-foot addition which opened June 6, 2004—the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing highlights the stories of courage, dedication, heroism and human spirit of those involved in fighter aviation in World War I and World War II. It presents the history, aircraft and memorabilia behind those human stories.
Meet ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances as they demonstrated the highest qualities of courage, dedication and heroism. The Personal Courage Wing . . .
- Features exhibits dedicated to telling the stories not only of those who flew, but the people who designed, built and maintained these amazing aircraft.
- Provides a fitting tribute to that "greatest generation" and an inspiring experience that motivates and encourages the next generation of innovative thinkers and inventors.
- Highlights stories of the American Fighter Aces and the American Volunteer Group—the "Flying Tigers"—who now make The Museum of Flight their official home.
Revisit the sights, sounds and sensations of bygone eras. The Personal Courage Wing . . .
- Tells the history and evolution of World War I and II fighter aviation through state-of-the-art exhibits, flight simulations and interactive experiences unlike any this Museum has ever created.
- Gives visitors a feeling of reliving history through innovative exhibits and displays with highly dramatic lighting, realistic sounds and theatrical sets.
- Provides a highly immersive environment using dioramas and displays such as observation balloons, French and German airfields, a pilots’ lounge, a French farmhouse, a battlefield trench, a Quonset hut and an aircraft carrier flight deck.
- Includes new technology and multimedia presentations such as an aircraft ID kiosk and database, in-depth oral histories, vintage film footage and photos.
- Offers an exciting new educational live theater program—Amazing Skies Theater—in which actors interact with visitors and bring aviation history to life by recreating characters from the military past and by retelling the courageous exploits of fighter pilots.
See the planes and artifacts that helped forge the history of a century and learn how that history shaped our world today. The Personal Courage Wing . . .
- Showcases 28 restored World War I and World War II fighter planes in two galleries—including one of the finest collections of historic fighters found anywhere in the world—the internationally known Champlin Fighter Collection.
- Includes famous fighters such as the Spitfire, Sopwith Camel and P-38, as well as the less celebrated, but extremely rare, Soviet Yak.
- Provides a "black-box" environment that controls exposure to harmful ultraviolet light and humidity, enabling the Museum to display personal artifacts and fragile items like documents, uniforms, letters and vintage photos that previously could not be displayed.