Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
Let your imagination soar at this indoor-outdoor museum dedicated to the history of U.S. Marine Corps aviation.
Let your imagination soar at this indoor-outdoor museum dedicated to the history of U.S. Marine Corps aviation. The venue displays 31 vintage aircraft from World War II to present day including fighter jets, prop-powered planes and helicopters, as well as fascinating military artifacts, all while honoring the pilots who flew them. Visitors can strap into an ejection seat, put on a helmet, talk to a pilot and try their luck with an “I Spy” activity. Open Cockpit Days are hosted during summer weekends. Kids and adults can sit in the cockpit of select aircraft and experience Marine aviation from a pilot’s perspective.
Situated at MCAS-Miramar base, the family-friendly museum possesses an impressive collection of restored aircraft, including the famous “Lady Ace 09,” the helicopter that evacuated the American ambassador and flag from the roof the U.S. Embassy during the fall of Saigon. Further exploring the outdoor exhibit area, aviation enthusiasts will also appreciate an F/A-18A Hornet, a World War II Wildcat, a Harrier Jump Jet (in USMC service), the “Easter Egg” (the final A-4 Skyhawk every built), and interesting equipment like a Russian infantry fighting vehicle, among others.
Inside, visitors are invited to tour eight galleries of memorabilia from World War I to present day including “Marines in Space,” the “Hall of Honor” and “Military Working Dogs.” Learn about the history of the U.S. Marine Corps’ air arm, see the world’s finest collection of Marine aviation patches, admire military uniforms and try on a flak jacket. Also take note of “Did You Know” facts, like the ability of the Vietnamese to craft items from coffee and soda cans into grenades, or that “leatherneck,” the nickname for a Marine, stems from the stiff leather collar Marines wore from 1798-1872 as neck protection and also holding a Marine’s neck erect while on parade.
On select weekends during the summer, little kids and kids at heart enjoy “Open Cockpit Days” and pilot talks. Sit in the cockpits of fighter jets and in the cargo area of a helicopter, and then visit the museum on Facebook to post your future aviator piloting an F/A 18. “Open Cockpit Days” run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on select dates. From 11 a.m. to noon, talk to the pilots who flew the aircraft. View the 2019 schedule here: https://flyingleathernecks.org/about-the-flyingleatherneck-museum/open-cockpit-days/
If you love planes, history, and the military, then don’t miss touring this important museum. Many of its volunteers are retired veterans who share their personal experiences with the aircraft.
The venue can also be booked for weddings and various private events. Before heading out, stop by the gift shop, selling aviation-themed books, key chains, clothing, lanyards and gifts. Most importantly, be sure to thank the docents for their time, their knowledge and their service to our country.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is open from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.Tuesday through Sunday. While located at MCAS Miramar, the museum has its own sentry-free entrance gate between Camino Ruiz and Cabot Drive off of Miramar Road. Look for the small Museum sign and the flags on the fence. Enjoy free admission (donations are appreciated) and free parking. For more information, call (858) 693-1723 or visit https://www.flyingleathernecks.org.
Located in Miramar/Mira Mesa/Sorrento Valley
4203 Anderson Avenue
San Diego , CA 92145
Hours of Operation:
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
* Closed Monday & Federal Holidays