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War Eagle Air Museum

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Here's a sort of “hidden gem” for you; a really nice, surprisingly comprehensive air museum right outside of El Paso. Although it's on the New Mexico side it's well within driving distance of the city. It's a great place to visit whether you like aircraft or if you’re looking for something for the kids to do. Don't let the unassuming exterior fool you – once you're inside you're going to be impressed.


I encountered some construction on the way in – thankfully I didn't let it deter me.

Outside War Eagle Museum at the Airport

Air_Museum004The War Eagle Air Museum is located at the Dona Ana County Santa Teresa Airport; it sports everything inside from a Hawker Fury named Magnificent Obsession to a Cold War era East German Mig-21 (formerly of Fliegergeschwader8). The Mig-21 was gift to the War Eagles Air Museum from B. Gen. Guenther Lutz of the German Air Force, who got to know the museum personnel while visiting Ft. Bliss.

Better yet? A lot of these planes actually still fly!

This is a hell of a collection with an extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff. It contains a number of unusual aircraft, even for a museum – a Sea Fury, an F-4U, an F-86 that came to them via the South African Air Force (you can tell from the BUY MOrE  KRUGGERANDS painted on the fuselage below the canopy), an A-26 invader, and a Grumman TBM Avenger like the one George HW Bush flew. There's a beautiful BT-13 Valiant, an U.S. Army L13A Grasshopper #47-316 (with some atomic bombs on display nearby) and a P-28 Trojan that started out as a Navy trainer but was later used over Laos for ground attack. There's a real German Fiesler Stork from WWII (not the French version built later), an ejection seat display (lots from Martin Baker) and a formidable array of aircraft engines.

It's not just planes, of course. There are helos (including a Little Bird built by Harland Beuden of Little Bird LLC and his friends and a Cobra that's under construction), some old Willie's Jeeps, an M-37 and several contemporary automobiles.

Hopefully before too much longer that Little Bird and the Cobra will be paired up in a “Pink Team” that will actually fly. They were called Pink Teams, says Beuden, because of their designators.

“Loaches were white, because they were observation. Cobras were red, because they were gunships…so they would pair a Loach and a Cobra and call ‘em Pink Teams…they got famous for flying like that. The Loach would be down low, looking for trouble, when they’d fire on him he’d roll off and the Snake would roll in on whoever shot at the Loach.”

As you can imagine, most of the planes have their own story – one fought for the United States, then went to China for many years until making its way “home” to the museum. Another, a twin-hulled Lighting, came home from the war and was converted to a racer in the Reno Air Races.
















Lear more at one of these links:

War Eagle Desert Museum

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