The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark has an excellent collection of USAF, US Navy, USMC and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft. They are all on open air display on the edge of the high desert in Palmdale, California at the historic USAF Palmdale Plant 42. Allow a couple of hours to look around and entry is free.
Established by the City of Palmdale and the USAF in the late 1990’s, the airpark was named to honour Joe Davies who served in the USAAF in World War Two and continued to serve following the war. He was Air Force Plant 42’s third commander from 1963 to 1967 and served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.
Joe Davies retired from the USAF in 1973 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He went on to assume many public roles and was elected to the Palmdale City Council in 1988, going on to serve three four-year terms. According to the airpark website, at 92 he still plays an active role in the community!
US Air Force
From fighters to bombers and even an experimental transport there are air force aircraft here that span many decades of aviation and include some of the greats like the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II multi-role fighter and the Boeing B-52F Stratofortress strategic bomber (the only preserved 1958 F model on display in the world – see my previous blog for more information). There are also famous members of the Century Series fighters / interceptors on display including the North American F-100 Super Sabre, McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Training aircraft are not forgotten with a classic Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (“T-Bird”) and Northrop T-38 Talon.
Fighters and Bombers
The Century Series
Transports and Trainers
US Navy & US Marine Corps
Some of the greatest jet aircraft to take off from the decks of US Navy aircraft carriers are displayed in the airpark. These include a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk attack aircraft (undergoing some restoration during my visit), Grumman F-14D Tomcat interceptor and Vought A-7 Corsair II attack fighter. They are joined by a USMC Northrop F-5E Tiger II aggressor fighter too.
Royal Canadian Air Force
This is an interesting inclusion in an essentially all American airpark. A Canadair F-86F Sabre Mk. 5 that served in RCAF 421 Squadron, 2nd Fighter Wing from 1954 to 1960 as part of a NATO deployment and operated from Grostenquin, France. A true Cold War warrior. In 1960 it left RCAF service and changed hands a number of times before ending up with Flight Systems Incorporated at the Mojave Airport from 1982 to 1998 when it was donated to the airpark.