Our flying aircraft are more than metal, fabric and wood. They are time machines that provide a tangible link to the period in history that gave birth to the modern world, a time when the United States was forged into the nation we know today through industrialization, innovation and the social changes precipitated by conflict on a global scale. Each of our airplanes represent a culmination of technological and manufacturing achievements, each is a crystallization of the American spirit, and each is kept flying as a monument to the sacrifices made by the whole country in the cause of freedom.
To Preserve and Inspire
The Military Aviation Museum honors the heroes who built, flew and maintained America’s military aircraft. By sharing their stories through exhibitions and events, we promote an understanding of history, science, service and sacrifice that will inspire and educate visitors of all ages.
To be an Aviation Museum unlike any other, where guests can experience American History and the birth of the modern era firsthand, surrounded by a world class collection of operating aircraft and vehicles on a unique campus populated with museum buildings and historic structures.
To support our community as an engine of economic growth by emerging as a destination attraction through the development and maintenance of a strong national brand and interest base.
To maintain our position as a top regional attraction for visitors to Virginia Beach by developing high quality experiences that speak to a range of audiences and interests.
To create a space where visitors can embrace the lessons of global conflict and reflect on foundational American values in a modern context.
Honor and Integrity
The Museum’s values are shaped by those of the WWII Generation, sometimes called the Greatest Generation, and reflect the deep respect for their wartime experiences that inspired our founders to begin collecting vintage military aircraft, and to establish a museum.
All of us, no matter our age, are shaped by the events of our time. The Generation that fought World War II had life experiences that shaped their values, and it is these that we seek to share with modern audiences by sharing their stories and life lessons.
Although the Nation was not without its challenges both at home and abroad, from Japanese internment camps, to segregation in the armed services, the generation that fought World War II fought to maintain the country that offered hope for change. There were even those who had to fight for the right to fight, and they did so understanding that each of us is responsible, ourselves, for creating a more perfect world to live in.
The scope of our Museum experiences, collections and programs is shaped by our belief in the significance of the time period that begins in WWI and ends at the conclusion of WWII, when America emerges as a world power willing to fight to guarantee the freedom of others. Our scope is further defined by our interpretation of the aircraft as the seminal reflection of major advances both socially and technologically within the United States at the time.
Originally established as the private collection of Virginia Beach businessman Gerald Yagen, the years spent collecting and restoring these rare aircraft eventually led to a desire to share them with the public. It is onto these foundations that the Military Aviation Museum would be built, with a mandate to continue the work of locating, restoring and flying these incredible machines, while working to share them with the rest of the world through education programs, public demonstrations and special events.
Opened in 2008, the Military Aviation Museum has continued to expand and today is one of the largest collections of historic military aircraft in the world. It is also the largest flying collection on display in a single location. To experience these airplanes just as they were 75 years ago means the Military Aviation Museum is the best place in the world to visit.
The maintenance of these airplanes in flying condition allows a modern generation, increasingly removed from WWII to experience a small piece of the war, while forming a tangible, resonant connection to the generation that fought it, and the lessons they can teach us today.
In addition to our aircraft, the Museum provides visitors another incredible opportunity to experience several historic WWII structures from around the world. The Goxhill Watch Office, a control tower originally used by the US 8th Air Force in England is one such display, and the Cottbus Hangar, recovered from a German Airfield that became a battlefield on the Eastern Front, continues to display the Battle Damage inflicted by the Red Army that captured the field from the Germans in 1945.
Taken together with our private grass strip, our airplanes and facilities have created a small piece of Virginia where more than 85,000 people per year come to find history living and breathing around them, offering an experience that is altogether unique, where people can experience the stories of what is sometimes called the Greatest Generation, so that a modern audience can understand how adversity was overcome through courage, sacrifice, determination, optimism, and teamwork.