The Rio Grande Valley Transportation Museum recently reopened with a big event that featured a live presentation by the pilots, including flyovers in that museum’s vintage Ryan PT-22 aircraft. The Ryan PT-22 is just one of the several World War II era planes that museum has to view – and they are all in working condition. The museum is located within the historically significant Port Isabel Cameron County Airport, on Veterans Drive, two miles north of FM 510, and off of Buena Vista Blvd.
The museum houses World War II exhibits and artifacts that have been donated by local families. Display cabinets have been arranged to display significant events leading to and experienced during the war. Among the exhibits is a display of Flying Tiger artifacts, an enlarged photo of the first bomb dropped on Pearl Harbor, a display of the Women of the Army Air Force who flew every aircraft in the US military arsenal, as well as a Home Front display.
Other features within the museum are antique vehicles. A 1923 Model T touring car rebuilt by the groups’ volunteers is on display as well as a Dodge built 1942 military scout car. On exhibit are several jeeps and vehicles of various vintages. All vehicles are in running condition.
The museum’s small theater presents a compelling video that illustrates the significance of the group that is the Commemorative Air Force in its premier role in preserving and maintaining a flying catalogue of historic aircraft.
The United States manufactured more than 300,000 aircraft during World War II. Trainers, fighters, bombers, transports, and reconnaissance aircraft were built during the war. After the war these warbirds were confined to destruction and to be melted down to aluminum ingots. Several men from the Rio Grande Valley decided that there was an urgent need to preserve these historic artifacts. Their story is presented in a short video produced by the Commemorative Air Force.
Group tours are conducted by appointment. Admission is free and donations are graciously accepted.
The Rio Grande Valley Transportation Museum will be open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., for the season after Saturday’s event.
For more information about the museum and the Commemorative Air Force, visit their website at https://rgvcaf.org/rgv-caf.html.