Founded in 1957, The Air Museum Planes of Fame, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to preserving aviation history for the benefit of future generations. Currently, The Air Museum houses over 150 aircraft at its two locations, the main facility at Chino Airport in California and a satellite museum near the Grand Canyon at Valle Airport in Arizona. The Air Museum displays aircraft spanning the history of manned flight, from a replica of the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896, through modern space flight, and includes numerous milestone achieving test and research flight vehicles. The Air Museum is dedicated to collecting, restoring, displaying, and preserving aircraft and memorabilia for the educational benefit of current and future generations.
The Air Museum was founded by Mr. Edward Maloney, who recognized the importance of preserving WWII aircraft at a time when most of these planes were being cut up into scrap metal. Although the United States alone produced over 300,000 military aircraft during WWII, most of these were destroyed at the end of the war and many types disappeared entirely. Even fewer of Germany's and Japan's aircraft were saved. In his attempts to save endangered aircraft types from the scrap heap, Mr. Maloney pleaded, bartered, and even purchased the discards by the pound.
A number of the aircraft on display at the museum are sole surviving examples of their type, such as the Northrop N9MB Flying Wing, and still exist only because of Mr. Maloney's personal determination to save at least one example of as many different aircraft as possible.
The Air Museum was the first permanent air museum west of the Rocky Mountains. It officially opened its doors to the public in January 1957, with an initial collection of six aircraft and a great deal of hope for the future. The museum's original location was in Claremont, California. As the collection began to outgrow this first makeshift facility, the aircraft were moved to the Ontario, California airport. In 1973, The Air Museum finally took up its present residence at the Chino Airport, California. Coincidentally, this location was originally the home of the Cal-Aero Flight Academy during WWII, where thousands of Army Air Corps cadets learned to fly the warbirds the museum is now preserving.