LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Planes of Fame Air Museum

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 24.  Planes of Fame Air Museum

This week for aviation enthusiasts the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California is our destination.  Founded by Edward T. Maloney in l957, the museum opened its doors with less than a dozen planes.  It was the first aviation museum west of the Rocky Mountains. Now it is home to over 150 display aircraft, numerous historic artifacts and exciting educational exhibits that span the history of manned flight.  Its mission is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans.

The museum has one of the largest collections of Japanese aircraft in the world, including the only authentic flying Japanese Mitsubishi A6M5 zero fighter, complete with its original Sokai radial engine (for those who are interested).  Also, on display is a B-17 Flying Fortress, P-40 Warhawk, German Messerschmitt ME-109, and a Russian MIG 15.  A special exhibit hanger is dedicated to the heroic contributions of the famed WWII 475th Fighter Group.

There was a beautifully refurbished Vought F4U Corsair, a WWII navy carrier-based aircraft fighter.  Bob’s favorite.

As you walk through the hangers for an up-close view of the planes, there are captions explaining the planes history, as well as relating the history of the pilot exploits.

There is plenty of free parking available.

P.S.  For the super enthusiasts, next time you’re in Ohio we recommend the National Museum of the US Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton OH.  




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.