Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association Museum - DVHAA
The Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association Museum is located in Willow Grove PA, about a half hour northwest of Philadelphia.
The big draw for me personally for this museum was the very rare German WWII Messerschmitt Me 262B two seater jet fighter. This Me 262 has been extremely well restored. Damaged panels have been replaced, the parts of the airframe you can see look like new and the respray is probably a lot better than it had gotten when new off the assembly line. This example was brought to the US for evaluation then sat as a gate guard for years. Fortunately it was rescued and eventually restored by a company that wanted to use it as a template for building Me 262 replicas in exchange for restoring it completely. It took several years but was well worth the wait. There are about a dozen other aircraft in the collection the most unusual of which is the Convair Sea Dart, an amphibious jet fighter prototype.
The staff at DVHAA were just super! These guys bent over backwards to make you feel welcome and were quick to give you more information about the exhibits and some interesting stories as well. They're very knowledgeable and have done a great job of restoring and displaying the exhibits. The exhibits indoors are in outstanding condition. The aircraft outdoors run from very good to really showing their age. The Cutlass looks like it needs some care but I'm not sure if it is oxidation or just road dirt that has settled on it over the years. An early photo on the DVHAA Museum's website shows it looking pretty good some years back.
The Museum is located right on 611 just south of the entrance gate to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. It's easy to pass it (I did). There are a couple of fast food places within a mile and a decent diner just a little north of the museum. They're only open 4 days a week so check the DVHAA Museum's website for hours and directions. Pay these guys a visit! It's not far from NJ or even NYC (It took me less than 2 hours from Wayne, NJ) and it's free (donations are welcome though)! They'd love to see you and are very proud of their collection.
11/24/2010 - The Naval Aviation Museum in Pensecola, FL earlier this year commandeered the Me-262 and the WWII German Jet is now down in Pensecola. As of early November 2010 a fellow aviation enthusiast reported that the Me 262 was in a storage hangar and is not on display. It will be put on display after the museum's new hangar which has just been completed sometime in 2011.
12/03/2012 - According to the Pensecola museum's website the Me 262 is still not yet listed as being on display. Maybe they ought to consider returning it home to Willow Grove where it was so proudly displayed and taken care of.
I hope the Messerschmitt will be displayed as prominently and thoughtfully as the staff and volunteers at the DVHAA did. They were excellent caretakers. Before DVHAA was allowed to take possession and display the Me 262 they were required to construct a building that would house it safely indoors and the plane was the centerpiece of their collection. They displayed it proudly and enthusiastically told visitors the stories of how German Jet came to be theirs. It is sad to see the centerpiece of their collection gone.
This website not affiliated with the Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association Museum.