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Vintage aircraft at a new home in Santa Monica.

Look closely at the City of Santa Monica seal and you'll notice a pair of biplanes flying over Santa Monica Bay. Built near Wilshire Boulevard, these Douglas World Cruisers earned this honor in 1924, when they completed the first around-the-world flight-28,945 miles in 175 days.

It was another 64 years before either of the planes came back to Santa Monica, but the New Orleans has now touched down in a spectacular new home the Museum of Flying, at the Santa Monica Airport near the site of the old Douglas plant, It houses restored aircraft all in flying condition (that's real oil in the drip pans beneath the planes).

Display aircraft include a Curtiss Robin, the same type Douglas "Wrong-Way" Corrigan flew between New York and Ireland in 1938 (he had filed flight plans from New York to Los Angeles). The museum also has a Fairey Swordfish torpedo plane (the kind used to help sink the German battleship Bismarck) and other World War II aircraft.

The full-size aircraft, as well as models and videos, tell the story of flight in an informative, entertaining manner. You'll also learn about Southern California's important role in aviation history.

The wild blue yonder-indoors and out Hangar-like, the museum captures flying's soaring spirit. The architectural firm of Solberg & Lowe used skylights and large gridded windows to create dramatic effects in the three-level, 35,000square-foot building. Designer Richard C. Runyon used sky blue and white for the interior. Decorated with red and white checks, the elevator bank resembles an air racing pylon, adding to the aviation mood.

Perhaps the most dramatic touch is the huge world map covering the right wall as you walk in. Neon lights running across the map trace the route of the four Douglas World Cruisers on their round-theworld attempt. Two lights abruptly go out where two of the planes crash-landed.

Be sure to watch the video about this famous flight, as well as presentations about other museum planes. Vintage footage of the aircraft in flight is accompanied by narration covering their history. Celebrating a tradition

While not exactly Kitty Hawk West, Santa Monica played an important role in aviation history Preparing for his transAtlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh visited the original Douglas landing strip and was the last person to land there. In 1935, 32 years to the day after the Wright brothers made their first successful flight, the DC3 prototype lifted off from a runway here. "The DC-3 was designed, built, and flown from this field. And it was the first real airliner," says Craig Schmitman, who made the museum's videos. "Santa Monica has really placed an indelible stamp on commercial aviation."

An exhibit pays tribute to Donald W. Douglas, the founder of Douglas Aircraft. The museum also houses the Donald Douglas Library and Archives. Not surprisingly, the museum maintains a DC-3, as well as a DC-2. These planes are among the working aircraft often rolled out for display near the main building.

The museum is at 2772 Donald Douglas Loop N. From the Santa Monica Freeway (1-10), take Bundy Drive south two blocks, turn right on Ocean Park Boulevard, then go left on 31 st Street to its end. Hours are 11 to 7 Thursdays and Fridays, 10 to 6 Saturdays and Sundays; closed some holidays. Admission is $4 adults, $2 ages 13 to 17, $1 ages 12 and under, members free. For information, call (213)
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Museum of Flying
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Words:566
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