Air Combat Museum
835 South Airport Drive,  Springfield, Illlinois
217-789-7513 (P51D)

     This page was most recently updated Friday, August 3, 2012.

I have been away from Mike's fantastic museum too long. I will post news and more pictures here before the end of September 2010. Check back.

THIS PAGE is being updated. You will find many holes and links to text with no pictures. Please visit often.

The following pictures were taken during a visit on January 14, 2009.

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1. The Ryan  is getting real close to a first flgiht. 
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2. With the Kinner engine mounted and wings off the airplane the fuselage is very nose-heavy according to Rick, the crack aircraft painter and curator. The weights shown here keep the tail down while work continues forward of the CG.
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3.  The propeller looks like it just arrived from the factory.

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5. A&P-Curator Rick is shy about photographs of himself. "People come to see the airplanes; not me," he said, smiling, during our visit. Even so, other hangar regulars are happy to pose, including this friendly feline.
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6.  A recent addition to the collection is this Pratt & Whitney R2800 from Tennessee. Look for more pictures of this historic engine later this year.
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7. This target kite is an original. It was donated by the family of a resident who lived at Lake Springfield for years.
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8.  This Rolls-Royce Merlin, coomplete with turbocharger is displayed next to the R2800.
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9. All that remains of the MiG-15, flown first in the states by Pete Entrekin, is the nose section. The rest of the airplane has been parted out, but this much of the airplane will likely remain with ACM. Rick plans to repair the damaged metal and re-paint the outside.
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11, The F4U-5 is framed by the tail of the Beech AT-11 Kansan.
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12. A better view of the Corsair. The engine problem which kept the airplane on the ground for three years was diagnosed and repaired by A&P Rick, and the big bird has returned to the air in recent months.
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13.  The oldest flying airplane in the hangar at this time is the P-51D.
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14.  Another flying feline poses on the wing.

The following pictures were taken January 15, 2008.

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1. Prominent in the collection and at every fly-in and air show they visit are Mike George's P-51D Mustang and Vought F4U-5N Corsair. This site provides news of all warbirds in the Air Combat Museum and the Mike George collection.
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1.1  During a January 15, 2008 Vist to the museum, I was delighted to see the forward fuselage of  this Mikoyan & Gurevich MiG-15.  This aircraft (N15PE), formerly owned by ex-Marine pilot Paul Entrekin was damaged in a takeoff accident. Mike George acquired it to part out. See additional pictures on this page. Today, all that remains of this fascinating aircraft is on static display at ACM.


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1.1b Though people visit the museum to see the airplanes, most are bound to head home with happy memories from meeting Elvis and Shadow pictured here. Though Elvis looks familiar, he arrived last fall, and Shadow after that.  Shadow's a young sprout and he supervises minor maintenance. It will be awhile before Tony allows him to help in the avionics shop. 

The Air Combat Museum is open 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed major national U.S holidays. Families of up to 10 visitors are welcome.
GUIDED TOURS and GROUP TOURS cost $20 and may be arranged by calling 494-8816.

SUGGESTION FOR VISITORS: Before you leave Springfield or nearby venue to visit the Air Combat Museum, call the hangar (217-789-7513) to be sure someone will be there when you arrive. Sometimes, folks are away, and there's no reason why you should arrive, only to find you cannot enter the hangar.

Volunteers who want to work on aircraft and help maintain the facility are welcome. To learn more about opportunities, visit the museum and talk with the hangar staff.

Pictures on this page are thumbnailed for faster loading. For a larger image, click on it, and "BACK" to return to this page. All photographs on this page are courtesy Job Conger.

FLASH --  Marty Towsley's L-2 was sold last year, but pictures are still posted. The L-2 gallery is on line. Visit by clicking here.

     An authentic Beechcraft AT-11 bombardier nose has been acquired, but not paid for. The Air Combat Museum must raise funds to pay for it before it is installed on the museum's airplane. Part of the funding will come from donations made to the clear Mylar box as visitors enter and exit the hangar, but we need significant additional support for this project. If you can help, call Mike George: 217-494-8816.
UPDATE - The AT-11 is now hangared separately.

The Fleet Model 9 sport biplane restoration has been put on hold so the crew can concentrate on the Ryan PT-22. 

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          Recently, visitors from Burbonnais, Illinois visited ACM. Here they watch Rembrandt Rick polish the P-51.

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         Rick gave a seminar about rib stitching at the 2006 EAA Oshkosh fly-in. He is a skilled aircraft and vehicle painter as well.
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         Getting a look at the PT-22 cockpit. Notice how even though this airplane has a long way to go before it flies again, the aluminum is polished and clean as though it would be flying to an airshow that afternoon..
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          This Fleet Model 9 sport biplane wing was being restored as this picture was taken. Only 25 were built and only two are still flying, and one of them is at ACM.
   Restoration of this aircraft has been put on hold until the Ryan PT-22 is returned to the air. For now, the top wing is on display as you see it here.
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             This P-51D, owned and flown by Mike George, has been based at SPI at least  15 years. It brought home the Reserve Grand Champion Award from Oshkosh in 1997 and is a delight to the eyes. Mike deserves a lot of credit for not covering the natural aluminum with "aluminum" colord paint. This airplane is kept in immaculate shape, and Mike flies it regularly. It is a thrill to see on the ground and in the air.
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         Air Combat Museum's Cessna O-2A "Duck." was brokered for sale and sold by Mark Clark's Courtesy Aircraft in Rockford, Illinois. It departed SPI in mid-2003, and was not listed in Courtesy's aircraft for sale inventory in early March 04. It is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. It still carries bullet hole patches in the lower wing surface. Inexpensive compared with many twins, it is not cheap to fly.
     The O-2 had no "official" name, but those who flew them called them Ducks because of the way they seem to waddle on the ground, and of course flying low over enemy troops in South Vietnam, they were regarded by all as sitting ducks, or Ducks for short. ACM's O-bird is a veteran of combat in the Vietnam unpleasantness and carries patched over bullet holes.  
       USAF serial: 67-21334
      Current US civil reg. N256Z
              Northrop SD-1 Surveillance Drone
The Northrop SD-1 drone which hangs from the ceiling in the back of the hangar was donated to ACM in the early 90s by Lew Fering and retored to display condition by Gene Beneenga. When in service with the US Army, the SD-1, was often equipped with large pods at the wing tips. Though they appeared to be fuel tanks, as you'd find on the F-80 and F-84, they were simply aluminum pods. Their size gave the SD-1 a larger radar "signature" and made them easier to track on the radar that helped ground based "pilots" to fly them. Air Combat Museum is home to the first SD-1 to come off the Northrop production line.
     The SD-1 was one of the first radio-controlled aircraft intended to fly in combat. It was the "grand daddy" of the modern Predator reconnaissance drones that fly routinely today in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though it is a small aircraft, the SD-1 taought US military services alot about how to operate recon drones in the "hot zone." It was followed into service by the Ryan Firebee and others.
U.S. Air Force desingnation:   
U.S. Army designation
Prototype completed: 1955
   1,445 built through the 1960s
   wing span: 11.5 feet
   length; 13.4 feet
Gross weight: 414 to 466 pounds
   depending on payload
Payload: standard still or television
    cameras using regular or infrared
     film, plus flares
Launch method:
     zero-length, JATO assisted
      via insternally-stowed parachine

Engine: McCulloch O-100-2
    4 cylinder, 2 cycle
     72 horsepower at 4,100 r.p.m.
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gallons
Propeller: 44 inch, two blade
    57 degree fixed pitch
Launch boosters
    two 2-M3 JATO rockets
   top speed:: 184 mpg at sea level
         cruise: 166 mph at 7,000 feet
            stall:  80 mph
   ceiling: 15,000 feet maximum
   endurance: 30 minutes, typical
Service life: 23 flights, typical
  Pictures here -- and elsewhere on this page -- are thumbnailed for faster loading. Click on any for a larger view. If you are an AeroKnow or Air Combat Museum supporter, and would like larger, higher-resolution examples of any picture emailed to you, just ask Describe the picture and state desired size and resolution of pictures of interest. . If you are not an AeroKnow or Air Combat Museum supporter and would like to become one, contact the webmaster:

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               This close-up of the F4U-5 was taken in early 2008.
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         Closer view of the U-bird. There are many pictures of Air Combat Museum and George aircraft throughout AeroKnow and specialty gallerys. Brpwse around and enjoy the views.        
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          The instrument panel of Don George's pristine B-25. This airplane was sold, and is no longer part of the collection.
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         Early in 2004, Mike George purchased a MiG-15 airframe, and is parting it out. The rear fuselage was stored outside the hangar in 2005, but it has since been sold.
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         Visible in these pictures are the pushrods which passed through the rear fuselage to the elevator and rudder.
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         Mike is keeping the cockpit section of the MiG. As you may have read at the top of the page, the fuselage forward ot the break behind the wing, is now displayed in the ACM hangar.  
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           It was great to see the forward fuselage of the MiG-15 on display during my January 15, 2008 visit. Note the circular "windo at the top of the air intake. Originally a gun camera was placed behind that window to record results from firing the guns.
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          The fuselage was built so that the rear section could be removed for jet engine and accessory maintenance. Missing are the bulges on the lower front of the fuselage which originally covered two 23mm and one 37 mm cannon. In combat the MiG packed a much heavier "wallop" with these weapons than its primary opponent in the Korean War, the North American F-86 Sabre armed with six .50 calibre machine guns. After the war, the USAF bought the final Sabre variant, the F-86H which was armed with four 20mm cannons in place of the 6 .50s and a more powerful engine: lessons learned from the "Korean experience."
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             The canopy was about the smallest one could  put on this design. The cockpit is so compact, there's hardly room to sneeze!
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          Details here-to-for hidden from most air enthusiasts are evident at ACM. Note how the wing spar carried through the perfectly circular cross-sectioned fuselage. Air feeding the MiG's Klimov VK-1 turbojet separated after entering the nose intacke to flow around the cockpit before separating into four channels to enter the jet's compressor. Imagine the sound in the cockpit with air passing by you at more than 600 miles per hour!
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         The wing was placed at the widest place on the fuselage to create the least amount of drag. Wings entering the fuslage at right angles require no drag-inducing fillets to smooth the flow. That's why Vought used an inverted gull wing seen on ACM's F4U-5 Corsair.
North American solved the problem with vertically flat fuselage sides on the P-51. On their F-86, the company placed the wing under the engine,facilitating smoother air feed to the compressor. It also extended the fuselage vertically down to meet the wing, permitting that essential low-drag interface.
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       The MiG-15's cockpit has been heeavily parted out.
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         Look for more pictures of the MiG here soon.
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          This Allison J-33 was an instructional tool with sections cut away to reveal internal components. The front center here usually had a cone over it to protect accessories from the extremely high-seed air entering the intake channels that surrounded it.
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      The blades compressed the air flowing into the engine. Following compression, fuel was sprayed into the chamber behind the bladss and was ignited by what in essence were eletrical "spark plugs."
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          The super-heated air then flowedout the exhaust in the rear. This engine was equipped with an afterburner at the extreme rear .
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         The uncluttered area is the space between the initial exhaust on the right and the afterburner on the left. It was a relatively simple mechanism of an additional ring of igniters which added considerable thrust, but also sonsumed fuel very fast.
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         Looking into the aft end of the engine.Pictures of this engine were taken in late January 2008.
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           Two J-47 jet engines  true workhorses in the USAF inventory during the worst days of the cold war, were displayed outside, pending restoration and inside display. They are no longer part of the ACM collection
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         Restoring these engines for strictly static display will require a great deal of volunteer help.
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   Displayed plugged at both ends is this Rolls-Royce Viper turbojet.  The engine powe
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    When photographed in 2004 the AT-11 was down for its annual, and during that process, it is being polished from stem to stern. Tony Stickelmaier says it's ready for another polishing. To volunteer, call 522-2181..
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    Another view of the AT-11. The sheen from loads of polish and elbow grease is amazing, even inside the hangar.
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   The Beechcraft AT-11 was photographed during a June 23, 2003 visit. Note the original 1940s style two-blade propellers fitted in 2003. 
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Mike George's F4U-5N at
Springfield Air Rendezvous 2003.
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     Part of the security force on duty 24/7 at the hangar. This eagle-eyed cat takes care of the mouse abatement department.
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             This is the second Ryan PT-22 to come to this hangar for restoration. Mike has committed to get this  machine into the air by the end of 2008.  This picture was taken in late January 2008.
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        This pcture was taken from the storage deck above the hangar floor.
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       This PT-22 will never fly again. Parts are being used from it during hte restoration of the 22 also pictured here. This airplane came down hard in a crash landing, but both occupants walked awayf rom it.
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          This picture was taken in early 2006.

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          This picture was taken in late January 2008.

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    Brent Presney is a new staff member at the hangar and is shown here putting a shine on the AT-11 that will drawn attention wherever she flies. For more information about how to book an appearance by the AT-11 at your airshow, contact Mike George
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    It's attention like this which makes a visit to the Air Combat Museum so rewarding. There is not a square millimeter on any airplane in the hangar that does not glitter like gold.
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     The Taylorcraft L-2M photographed in May, 2006.
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          The Beech T-34 Mentor. We'll have the separate gallery for this and other ACM hangar Mentors up by the end of February.
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          Photographed from the storage deck.
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           The Taylorcraft L-2M from the upper deck, January 2008.

To Mike George's P-51D Mustang "Worry Bird" gallery here
To Mike George's Soko G-2A Galeb gallery here
To Mike George's Taylorcraft L-2M gallery here  -- here

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