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WWII Vintage Plane Exhibit

Several models of WWII aircraft as well as an example 21st century technology was on display at the Hawthorne Airport.

de Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth

Built throughout the British Commonwealth (England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), the fabric covered wooden and steel "Tiger Moth" was produced in quantity (8,600) during World War II. The two-seat biplane served as a primary and intermediate trainer for thousands of pilots.

XAT-6E (Far Right)

During World War II, in 1944, North American Aviation Aero-Engineer, "Tom Sullivan", was given the task of creating an advanced high-altitude fighter transition-trainer for the USAAF. This one of a kind prototype combined a "Fairchild-Ranger" V-12 super-charged engine of special design with an AT-6D airframe, and was subsequently designated as the XAT-6E "Texan". The XAT-6E went through an extensive military flight test program, and demonstrated compliance with all its design goals.

P40 Warhawk

The prototype of this airplane was flown for the first time on October 14, 1938, and in 1940 the P-40 became the first American fighter capable of exceeding 300 mph. This aircraft is probably best known for being supplied to Brigadier General Chennault's AVG in China where, deployed with considerable skill, the P-40 in several variants achieved notable success against Japanese aircraft. When production of the airplane ended in December 1944, with the exceptions of the Republic P-47 and North American P-51, it was the most extensively built US fighter of World War II, with 15,000 planes delivered.


The North American B-25 Mitchell was one of the best-known medium bombers of World War II, especially remembered for its use in the Doolittle raid on Japan in 1942 and its participation in every major theater of the war. Less known, however, is its continued role in the postwar world, both in military and civilian service. Thousands of war surplus B-25s sat on airfields in 1945, available to the highest bidder. Though most B-25s, as other warplanes, were scrapped and smelted, hundreds did enjoy a postwar career in the civil sector. The B-25 is now one of the most prolific surviving warbirds, and this book tells the story of the type in the years since the end of World War II. The B-25 has provided diverse and distinguished service in roles from fire-fighting to movie production.


During 1944, Lockheed began the development of the P-38 night fighter which involved the conversion of the P-38J with an AN/APS-4 AI radar pod mounted under the nose on a modified bomb pylon. In October 1944, Lockheed began production of the P-38M with all the modifications mentioned previously and it made it's maiden flight on January 5, 1945. The P-38M crews trained at Hammer Field, California early in 1945, but did not finish training until early in the summer of 1945 and were not deployed because of the end of the war. By March of 1946, the P-38M was phased out of service.

YF-23A Black Widow

Where did the name "Black Widow II" come from? There was no official USAF "nickname" for the YF-23A. However, prior to the first flight of PAV-1, the Northrop YF-23A team personnel had a "Name the Plane" contest. The name "Black Widow II" was chosen. In fact, when PAV-1 first flew, it had the "Red Hour Glass" symbol of the Black Widow spider painted on its underside. During the YF-23A flight test program, PAV-2 went by the call sign "Spider", while PAV-1 used the call sign "Gray Ghost".

The YF-23A "Black Widow II" was a supersonic "Stealth" fighter. Along with its Stealth capabilities, the YF-23A was designed to "Supercruise". This meant that the YF-23A "Black Widow II" could cruise supersonic without the use of engine augmentation or "afterburning." The first flight of YF-23A PAV-2 took place on October 27, 1990, with Northrop test pilot Jim Sandberg at the controls.

The YF-23A "Black Widow II" PAV-2 (S/N 87-801) on display at the Western Museum of Flight is on long term loan to the Western Museum of Flight from NASA. YF-23A "Black Widow II" PAV-1 (S/N 87-800) is currently at the USAF Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The Western Museum of Flight's YF-23A "Black Widow II" PAV-2 used two General Electric YF120 engines. YF-23A PAV-1 used two Pratt & Whitney YF119 engines. YF-23A "Black Widow II" PAV-2 was delivered in October 1995 to the Northrop Grumman Hawthorne facility where it underwent some preliminary repairs in preparation for formal restoration activities at the Western Museum of Flight.

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