On the Wings of Greatness at the Tri-State Warbird Museum
Tucked away near the Clermont County Airport in Batavia, the Tri-State Warbird Museum adds a page to Ohio's reputation as an important player in aviation history. Upon entering, we were welcomed by a small group of volunteers, eager to show off the exhibits and planes in the museum. First stop was a short film about WWII planes narrated by Ohio's favorite son, beloved astronaut and pilot, John Glenn. His explanation of the impact of airplanes during WWII piqued my interest in what inhabited the vast space behind the doors in the large hangars of this attractive building.
What differentiates the Tri-State Warbird Museum from other aviation museums is that all of the aircraft and other vehicles within are in fully operating condition. In fact, these planes often fly during airshows. One of the prize specimens, the P-40, dazzles the crowds with not only its adept flying ability, but also because this particular plane is an exactly replica of the original. Unlike some planes that look nice and shiny with new parts, this magnificent P-40 is the result of extensive research seeking both manuals and original parts. True to the original, this specimen could be mistaken for a brand new model fresh from the factory line. Intense efforts were made to find original parts, paint colors, finishes and even decals. Make no mistake about it, this plane is true to its origins. Other aircraft include a Mustang, C-45, Kaydet and T-6 trainer to name a few. In addition there is a jeep and a car – and yes, they can all be started up and driven.
Besides preserving the aviation history of both the planes and the people involved in WWII, the museum uses volunteers that make a strong impression. I noticed immediately the palpable excitement, enthusiasm and knowledge of these dedicated individuals. While checking out some of the aircraft in the back room that are in the process of restoration, I noticed the lights being shut off. Where had the past few hours gone and why was there so much more that I needed to see?
The Tri-State War Bird Museum is going through the process of joining Ohio's other great aviation museums as part of the official Aviation Trail; a fabulous addition it will be.