Statement of Purpose: To educate the public about Minter Army Air Field and Kern County aviation's impact on local, regional, and global history through preservation efforts, specialty presentations, and community outreach programs.
The Gossamer Condor:
The Gossamer Condor was the first human-powered aircraft capable of controlled and sustained flight. It won the Kremer Prize of 50,000 pounds in 1977.
The aircraft, piloted by amateur cyclist and hang-glider pilot Bryan Allen, won the first Kremer Prize on August 23, 1977 by completing a figure-eight course specified by the Royal Aeronautical Society, at Minter Field in Shafter, CA. It was capable of taking off under human power.
The aircraft is preserved at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. (Wikipedia)
The Museum is housed in the original fire station, built at Minter Field in 1941. It is the last examples of this architecture left on the field. The base was a major basic training facility where nearly 12,000 pilots received basic training in BT-13s, UC-78's, AT-6s, P-38s and B-25s. Over 7,000 personnel manned the field, both military and civilians. The field had a WASP contingent of as many as 17 female pilots who flew as test pilots.
The Museum houses artifacts and photographs of the men and women who were stationed here as well as other military eras. Artifacts include military uniforms, radio equipment, a Link Trainer, a Norden Bomb Sight; Medals and Patches, Echelons (Class Books), Snap Roll Newsletters, hundreds of photographs and documents, and beautiful aviation art.
The Museum is currently displays 5 period aircraft: an Aeronca L3B "Grasshopper" a Vultee BT-13 Valiant" were types based at the field. New to our collection are a 1928 design Pietenpol Sky Camper, recently built and donated for display. Also on display is a WW I era Fokker DR.1 in "Red Baron colors", and a 1966 Turner experimental plane that won the Oshkosh design award. The Museum also is working on 3 helicopters for display; A Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw flown by the South Vietnam "King Bees', a Vietnam era AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, and a OH-6 Loach, used for reconnaissance in Vietnam.
Inside the Museum is a nearly completed Link Trainer. We are also renovating an original 1945 Minter Field GMC fire truck to go along with the 2 operational jeeps: a Ford and a yellow Willys "Follow Me", plus an original 1940s era Plymouth Staff car that was stationed at Gardner Field in Taft, CA. A newly acquired White B-666 Bridge Erector truck is in line for renovation. A special vehicle in the collection is a Clark Tug that was stationed at Wheeler Field, Hawaii during the Pearl Harbor attack. We have several other vehicles waiting for their turn for restoration.
The Museum features a wonderful collection of models of aircraft and military vehicles. There are several recreations of historic aircraft, ships, and even a German Railroad cannon. There are several displays of local people who made historical contributions, especially during WW I and WW II.
The Museum has a new database of over 11,500 names of cadets and staff who were at Minter Field. Many include pictures in class books. There is also a DVD library of over 900 hours of military and aviation videos, cataloged by subject and names.
Minter Field is base for many flying WWII aircraft, including Stearmans, Aeroncas, Stinsons, North American AT-6s, and a P-51 Mustang. Minter Field is the home of Reno Air Race Champions Bill "Tiger" Destefani and his P-51 "Strega", 8 time Reno winner Eddie Van Fossen who flew the AT-6 "Miss T-N-T", and was the home base of the late Al Goss, Reno AT-6 winner in 2004. The field is known for many restoration companies who specialize in Warbirds and Antiques.