Chino, CA. – On Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 10:00am to 12:00 noon, Planes of Fame Air Museum hosts its monthly Living History Flying Day. Museum doors open at 9:00am. The theme for December 1 is the “Japanese Combat Aircraft”, featuring the Aichi D3A1 (Val) Carrier Bomber Val replica. We will be flying the Val (in actuality, a modified Vultee BT-15 Valiant and on static display a Yokosuka DY43 Type 43 Suisei (Judy) that is currently being restored to operational taxing condition. Originally, we were to feature the A6M5 Zero, but it has been shipped to Japan to be put on temporary display for 5 months at the Tokorozawa Aviation Museum in Tokyo, Japan before returning to Planes of Fame Air Museum again. The presentation is followed by a question and answer period then a flight demonstration of the Val. At 12:00 noon, following the presentation, there will be a Membership Sponsored raffle flight.
Dan King, author of "The Last Zero Fighter" (firsthand accounts from Japanese WWII pilots) will speak and sign books. You can access more about Dan King at http://historicalconsulting.com/ .
When the Twentieth Century Fox studio began planning production of the feature film Tora! Tora! Tora! in the late 1960s, there were no airworthy examples of period Japanese aircraft available. The problem was solved in typical Hollywood fashion: the studio built their own fleet of Zero fighters, Kate torpedo bombers, and Val dive bombers. A series of Val replicas was made from Convair BT-15 trainers. This was accomplished by raising the top of the fuselage behind the canopy and adding three feet to the length of the fuselage behind the cockpit, reshaping the canopy, and adding fiberglass wheel pants to the landing gear. The engine was replaced with a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 engine.
The Val replica on display at the Museum was sold by the studio to the San Diego Aerospace Museum following completion of filming. It was acquired by Planes of Fame Air Museum in 1973, and placed in storage until the late 1990s. At that time, Touchstone Pictures contacted the Museum about using the aircraft in their film Pearl Harbor. The airplane was restored to flyable condition, and the powerplant was changed to a geared R-1340, driving a three-bladed propeller. The Val replica was featured in the movie, along with six other airplanes from Planes of Fame Air Museum.
About Planes of Fame Air Museum
The Planes of Fame Air Museum, founded in 1957 by Edward Maloney, is where aviation history lives. It is the oldest independently operated aviation museum in the United States. The museum collection spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the space age Apollo Capsule. The mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and air shows in fulfillment of this mission. Photos available upon request. Visit the Planes of Fame Air Museum website www.planesoffame.org and our Facebook page.