Chico Air Museum adds aircraft, displays

Just in time for Chico Airfest, the Chico Air Museum is ready to show the public something new. Displays, new aircraft and a good viewing area to see the municipal airport runway are being unveiled. "We've done a lot in two years...


Just in time for Chico Airfest, the Chico Air Museum is ready to show the public something new.

Displays, new aircraft and a good viewing area to see the municipal airport runway are being unveiled.

"We've done a lot in two years," said museum volunteer Noel Wheeler.

Located at 170 Convair Ave., the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday.

Among the new planes is a British plane called a Taylor Titch, after designer John Taylor. The name Titch comes from the original test pilot, Titch Homes.

The museum's plane was built specifically to be raced in the Formula One class at the Reno Air Races. It raced from 1988 to 1991 and in 1993. The best finish was second place in the Formula One Bronze group in 1990. The aircraft qualified fifth overall at a speed of 233 mph in 1993, according to museum volunteer Norm Rosene.

Also new to the museum is a glider, an early 1940s Luscombe, one of the first all-metal aircraft, and a 1942 fire engine.

According to Wheeler, the engine was based at the Chico Army Air Corps Base, then worked for the city after the base became the city airport. It spent some time at the Vina monastery, and was purchased by the Knights of Columbus, and wound up back at the airport.

A new grassy area will be available soon to picnickers and plane watchers.

Knowing the public's fascination with planes, museum volunteers also have arranged for one plane people can sit in, and a small pedal plane for children six and under to pedal around.

Inside the museum are aviation artifacts, displays and exhibits such as one about Thaddeus Kerns, Chico's first aviator; an aviation library, and Chico Army Air Corps Base history.

Opened in 2005, the museum charges no admission fee.

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