Before leaving Northern California, I wanted to get to the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM). Just like running, I enjoy airplanes and their history. The pandemic and moving have taken a toll on our general aviation flights, but it’s always fun to visit museums. Hopefully, we will be able to get back into general aviation again.
History of the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM):
The Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM) began in 1990 in the control tower at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (the current airport it’s at now).
They created an open house on May 26, 1990, to educate the public about private aircraft. For many, it was their first time seeing a small aircraft up close! The open house was so well received they made it an annual event. Now, the Wings over Wine Airshow attracts over 20,000 people! I wish we could have gone.
In the beginning, Pacific Coast Air Museum was just an open house of privately owned airplanes. Later, the PCAM obtained a battered A-26 Invader attack bomber from the World War II era. It was missing several pieces, but it underwent a full restoration.
After that, PCAM began taking in airplanes to show off. Most of the needed restoration was done by Pacific Coast Air Museum volunteers. In 1993, they acquired an F-8U which quickly became one of their most popular exhibits, and put them on the “Bay Area Map.” Now the museum attracts people from all over, whether you are traveling or popping up from the Bay Area.
Since then, the PCAM has acquired many different airplanes, including the F-4C and the F-16N Viper (also known from Topgun).
Their aircraft is primarily military from the Korean War and Vietnam War eras to the modern planes. Some like the T-38 are still flown today. All planes are authentic, and many still have the original engines and nearly complete cockpit. At the museum, they strive to restore and maintain historic aircraft to represent them as authentically as possible.
Not all planes at Pacific Coast Air Museum are military, and they have a Pitts Special Stunt Biplane and S-2A aerial fire fighting tanker. They said some of their airplanes are still used to fight fires now. In addition to airplanes, the Pacific Coast Air Museum also has aviation-related displays, display engines, and all sorts of aviation-related things.
Visiting Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM):
The museum is located at the Charles M Schulz – Sonoma County Airport. It’s easy to find off Airport Blvd. on the corner of N. Laughlin Rd. and Becker Blvd.
They open Wednesday-Sunday from 10-4 pm. For adults, it is $10, and for children $5. Active duty military get in free! Parking is easy, and there is plenty of space.
My Experience at Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM):
When we went, there were only about 5 parties there. Minus the flight simulator and gift shop, the entire Pacific Coast Air Museum is outdoors, which is nice, especially in “COVID-related times.” We walked around the entire area, and during our time, we saw plenty of larger aircraft taking off from the Charles M Schulz – Sonoma County Airport too.
I didn’t even know Alaska Airlines flew into Charles M Schulz – Sonoma County Airport.
We got to sit in the cockpit of several airplanes that were open, and the volunteers shared all sorts of stories with us. It was fun to interact and chat with the volunteers as well.
We decided not to do the flight simulator (I am fairly certain my spouse has had enough “flight simulators” for one year.
There was also a band playing in the hanger. If you are in the Santa Rosa or North Bay area, I highly suggest checking out the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM), especially if you are a plane lover. It took just over an hour to walk around and see all of the exhibits, and we are glad we did.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to an airshow or airplane museum?
What is your favorite airplane?