Thursday, March 4, 2021

Touring history: A look at the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum

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I was too early for the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards (NJLA), an annual event staged by the Philippines Graphic magazine. This was to begin at 6:30 pm. My watch showed it was barely a few minutes before 4 pm.

I had time to spare. Fortunately, just across from Resorts World in Pasay City was Villamor Air Base, the home of the Philippine Air Force (PAF). And inside the base was the PAF Aerospace Museum

I love visiting museums, especially those that showcase the country’s military history. I’ve been to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum in Camp Aguinaldo. I’ve always enjoyed visiting the museum dedicated to the history of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea, which was also near Villamor Air Base.

Since I had a couple of hours to spare, I decided to drop by the PAF Aerospace Museum.

It was, of course, a military museum housing the heritage, legacy and history of the PAF’s airmen.

The museum has three parts, namely the Heritage Section, the Science and Technology Section and an Art Corner.

The Heritage Section contained the various galleries for the weapons and uniforms used by the PAF. Included, too, were dioramas, memorabilia and photographs of the PAF’s early years. It was fun to see our country’s military aviation history.

My inner geek was delighted when I viewed the Science and Techology Section. Inside were exhibits of aircraft cockpit mock-ups, ejection seats, cockpit trainers and simulators, and indoor displays of military aircraft. What took my breath away was the real P-51D Mustang that was proudly displayed in the main lobby. Above it was the actual experimental jet aircraft that the PAF used several years ago. This was known as the Cali. Once upon a time, the PAF did try to build its own jet aircraft.

And there was the Art Corner, which had displays of pictures and paintings depicting the PAF’s history.

The museum also housed the official archives of the Philippine Air Force, contained in a small library.

Outside the museum was the Aircraft Park. True to its name, this park featured several aircraft on its grounds, including jet fighters such as the F-5B Freedom Fighter and two versions of the famed Sabre jet.

 

The park also contained an open Huey that visitors can actually board and several prop-driven aircraft, which included the classic transport plane C-47D Dakota, the trusty Trojan and the versatile T-141.

Time quickly flies when having fun. And I had fun. It was dusk and it was time to get to the NJLA.

 

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