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Outdoor Exhibits

Pima Air & Space Museum is always growing and a lot has changed on our grounds, but you can see the scope of our air field as of April 2013.

Beauty of Flight – located in the museum driveway is a rock, metal, and fiberglass sculpture comprised of 3 fiberglass models of the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23, a prototype single-seat twin engine fighter aircraft designed for the U.S. Air Force.

The Beacon – this 53-foot tower near the museum entrance was a part of a series of lighted “airways” linking major cities across the U.S. during the 1920s. The Airway Beacons were a substantial navigation aid in an era prior to the development of radio navigation. These 24-inch-diameter rotating beacons were spaced about 10 miles apart depending on the terrain. The beacons were 5-million candlepower and rotated six times a minute. By 1933, approximately 1,500 Airway Beacons had been constructed to guide pilots from city to city, covering 18,000 miles from coast to coast. Radio navigation systems began to replace the lights in 1929 but it was not until the 1970’s that the last of the beacons were officially turned off. The lights are sometimes called “Lindy Lights” in recognition of Charles Lindbergh’s efforts to promote the system during the 1920s. The one preserved at the Pima Air & Space Museum is believed to have originally been placed at the airport in Douglas, Arizona.

Firestone Galleries’ “The Bone Yard Project: Return Trip” – contemporary art painted planes located outside near Valencia Rd., northeast of the Space Gallery & the Administration/Hangar 2:

  • Spy Tiger by Andrew Schoultz, 2012. American contemporary artist Andrew Schoultz used acrylic on a Lockheed VC-140. He is an acclaimed street artist known for his un-commissioned public art.
  • Back to Supersonica by Kenny Scharf, 2013. The latest addition to the collection, contemporary artist Scharf spray painted a Lockheed Jetstar VC-140. He is an LA-based artist known for large scale paintings and installations based on pop-culture and science fiction.
  • Naughty Angels by Faile, 2012. A Beechcraft UC-45 was painted with acrylic by the collaborative duo Faile. They emerged in New York during the 90’s, creating original work inspired by pop culture on streets all over the world.