Photo Essay

The Proud Bird Restaurant and Airplane Museum

The Proud Bird Restaurant and Airplane Museum

Located next to one of Los Angeles International Airport's approach runways, the restaurant provides diners with a 1940's ambience along with a front row view of airplanes making their landing. In addition to the view, the restaurant has an incredible outdoor display of aircraft. WWII fighters, jets, even an X-1 replica!

Themed after the era surrounding World War II, when you step through the front door you will feel as if you have stepped back in time.

There are about fifteen aircraft in the outdoor display. Everything from a First World War-vintage Fokker D.VII and SPAD XIII through World War II veterans such as a Bf-109G, P-47, Spitfire, and Avenger to a few jets, including a MiG15, F-86, F-80, and an A-4 Skyhawk.

While a number of the aircraft are replicas, they are still quite convincing, and they certainly look the part.

The first photo you see is a Lockheed P-38 Lightning

at rest outside the restaurant. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in active production throughout the duration of American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day.

The next one in line is the Supersonic Bell X-1 which was originally designated XS-1, and was a joint venture between the NACA and the U.S. Army Air Force. It was involved in a US Air Force supersonic research project and it was the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in a controlled, level flight. This resulted in the first of the so-called X-planes, an American series of experimental aircraft designated for testing of new technologies and was usually kept highly secret.

Following that is a relica of the Fokker D-V1 which was the German army's term for the Fokker M.22 biplane, and was ordered as a training aircraft in October 1916. It was the last in a series of closely related and generally unsatisfactory Fokker biplanes produced since the acceptance of the Fokker D.I in June 1916.

After the Fokker is the The SPAD S.XIII French Bi-Plane which was the most used French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I. It was developed by Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) from an earlier highly successful SPAD S.VII and was one of the most competent fighters of the war. It was mass produced, with 8,472 built and orders for around 10,000 more cancelled at the time of the Armistice.

The Mikoyan-Gurevuch MiG-15 was one of the first triamphant swept-wing jet fighters. It achieved it's fame in the skies over Korea. Early in the war, it outclassed all the enemy fighters. The MiG-15 was also the prototype for the development of more advanced MiG-17s which was used against American fighters over Vietnam in the 1960s. The MiG-15 is suposed to have been one of the most numerous jet aircraft ever made, with over 12,000 built.

In the backlot you will see the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star which was one of the first operational jet fighters used by the USAF and it saw extensive combat in Korea with the United States Air Force as the F-80. It was one of the world's first successful turbojet-powered combat aircraft and it helped bring in the "jet age" in the USAF and many other air forces worldwide. Its main "claim to fame" is in training a new generation of jet fighter pilots, especially in the closely-related T-33 Shooting Star trainer development.

Any avation fan would recognize the Messerschmitt Bf 109 which was a German World War II fighter aircraft and was designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the 1930s. One of the first true modern fighters of the era, that included certain features like an all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. It was the most mass produced of all fighter aitcraft in history and was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighting force in World War II.

As you pull into the parking lot of the restaurant you will be pleasantly surprised to see a North American P-51 Mustang, an FU Corsair, a Douglas SBD Dauntless and a Supermarine Spitfire. There is also a memorial to the Tuskegee Airmen 332 Fighter group and the 477th Bomb Group. The Tuskegee Airmen was America's first Black military airmen.

Last, but not least, resting alongside Aviation Blvd. is the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt which was also known as "The Jug" and was the largest single engined fighter plane of its day. It was a vast improvement over the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk which was its predecessor. It was also one of the main United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and served with other Allied air forces.

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1 response

  • Jason Pepe

    Jason Pepe   gave props (25 Jul 2009):

    Excellent all the way! Loved it!! Voted for you!!

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