Queensland Air Museum

Business: Queensland Air Museum
7 Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra. Queensland 4551

If you’ve got a child who dreams of becoming a pilot, or you’re a big kid whose favourite movie is Top Gun, at trip to the Queensland Air Museum should be high on your ‘must do’ list.

Located at Caloundra, near the airport, the Queensland Air Museum is open to the public every day from 10am to 4pm, excluding Christmas Day.

However, if you’re looking for something special, don’t miss the special events the Museum hosts. It’s an opportunity to see some of the most treasured exhibits come to life. You’ll hear the engines roar and you’ll even have your chance to sit in the cockpit of one of the planes — it could be an F-111 fighter jet!

History of the museum

The Queensland Air Museum got its start in 1973 when a group of passionate aviation fans invested in the preservation of Australia’s aviation history. The first plane to be acquired was a GAF Canberra Mk 20 A84-225 Bomber.

Today, the museum is the largest and most diverse aviation museum in Australia. It has more than 94 historically significant aircraft displayed to the public. Volunteers have sourced, restored, rebuilt, maintained and displayed the aircraft.

The museum also has a range of aviation-related displays, including engines and vehicles.

The Top Five most popular aircraft

The most significant and popular displays at the Queensland Air Museum include the General Dynamics F-111C A8-129 C/N FC-5 fighter jet. Acquired in 2012, the aircraft was open to the public in 2013.

Australia’s first Douglas DC-3-194B VH-ANR C/N 1944 is also on display at the Museum. This fixed-wing propeller-driven airliner made air travel popular with the public in the 1930s and ’40s.

A Lockheed L-285D AP-3C Orion A9-760 Brooke MSN 5676, a Lockheed PV-1 Ventura A59-96 C/N 6371 and a De Havilland Canada Caribou A4-173 C/N 173 round out the Top Five aircraft for visitors to the Museum. The latter served in the Vietnam War and is described as ‘The Great Survivor’. It crashed twice (1965 and ’66) and was to be converted to spare parts before the Queensland Air Museum purchased it in 2001.

A visit to the Museum

With around 2 hectares to explore, the Queensland Air Museum makes for a fascinating day out. Tour guides are available to show you around. It’s a personal experience, as many of the guides are ex-pilots who have incredible knowledge of the features and history of each aircraft. The stories that accompany them are well worth listening to.

There are two hangars, toilet facilities, solid paths for easy access to all abilities, and ample seating. Consider bringing a picnic.

Purchase tickets online or on arrival at the Museum.

Written by Derek Symons

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