Planes of Fame Airport Museum Coming to Santa Maria Airport

After several months of speculation, the Planes of Fame Aviation Museum, with more than 160 vintage aircrafts, more than 35 in flying condition, has announced it is expanding from Chino, California, to the Santa Maria Airport. The museum will be located next to the Radisson hotel.

On a 23-acre site, the museum is building a multi-phase project that in the first phase, will include display hangers, maintenance and restoration facilities, and an events center.

According to its website, “The Planes of Fame air Museum will be a premier aviation museum recognized for its flying aircraft, quality educational experiences and unique collections.”

Jane Hinton is Director of Development for Planes of Fame. “All our planes are historic,“ she says. “We have aircraft from World Wars 1 and 2, through the jet age to the ‘landing on the moon’ period.”

Hinton says Chris Hastert, former airport manager of the local airport now directing

operations at the Santa Barbara Airport, was instrumental in the choice of Santa Maria. “He made us very welcome. He assisted in the negotiations and was a big factor in our decision.” Hastert maintains an airplane at Santa Maria.

Hinton is often asked, “Why are we leaving Chino.” She says there are no plans to shut down the museum at Chino. “When the museum first opened its Chino location in the 70’s, it was surrounded by agriculture and enjoyed open uncongested airspace. Growth in the Inland Empire has led to a significant increase in air traffic as well as dense housing tracts and industrial complexes being built where there were once open fields. These are no longer ideal flying conditions.”

The Museum is home to a great many artifacts, memorabilia, uniforms, and documents, most of which are not on public display due to inadequate display spaces. The expansion, Hinton insists, will make these collections more visible and accessible to

Artist rendering of proposed museum