restoration projects

The San Diego Air and Space Museum maintains a vital restoration department, staffed by volunteers who possess great skill and who are extremely dedicated, who build and restore a wide range of aircraft, from gliders to space vehicles. Many of our volunteers come from aerospace companies within the San Diego region. The quality of the Restoration Department is nationally recognized, as demonstrated by their work for the National Museum of Naval Aviation and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. These experts make it possible for the Museum to return many historic planes to exhibition quality. Many of the aircraft require an extensive amount of work before they can be exhibited on the Museum floor. Even though the aircraft may never be flown, preservation includes returning many of them to airworthy condition. With very old airplanes, especially those that have been exposed to the elements for some time, this is a challenging task. Restoration often requires great ingenuity in finding rare drawings, photographs, and other documents needed to return an airplane to its original condition. They have restored many planes in the past which are on display at the Museum in Balboa Park, and at the Gillespie Field Annex, such as the F-102 Delta Dagger, with its bright red tail markings of the 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Alaskan Air Command. Currently, the Air and Space Museum is making an exact reproduction of the Bell X-1, and the Hughes Special 1B Racer.

current projects

Wright Flyer Restoration

This week we will be ordering the fabric to cover the Wright Flyer. Work should begin on the project within a couple of weeks.

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Curtis Jenny Restoration

The Curtiss Jenny fuselage has been re-covered and is in the final stages of paint preparation at Gillespie Field. Once begun, the project will take some time due to the complexity of painting the...

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The Bell X-1

The Bell X-1 was the first piloted plane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Flown by USAF Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the Bell X-1 rocketed to supersonic speeds for the first time...

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Hughes Special 1B Racer

The Hughes H-1 racer, designed by Howard Hughes and Richard Palmer and built by Glenn Odekirk, was developed to be the fastest landplane in the world. It has a large wingspan of 31ft 9in (9.67m)....

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Boeing FB-5

We are currently restoring the Boeing FB-5 fighter.  Click on more information for some restoration images!  


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completed projects

Boeing P-26

The P-26 Project was started in 2000 and finished in 2012.  Currently the Boeing P-26A is displayed on the Museum floor! 

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Nieuport 11 Restoration

The Nieuport 11 restoration is complete!  The volunteers did an incredible job and it is now hanging in our World War One Gallery.

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Corsair Restoration

Balboa Park volunteers have completed the Corsair restoration and it is now displayed on the Museum floor! 

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