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Flight to Excellence Program

Planning a Field Trip
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Teachers' Walking Tour

Flight Adventure Deck

Program Overview
Interactive Devices
6th Grade Curriculum
7th Grade Curriculum
8th Grade Curriculum

National Flight Academy

History Education Program

Home Front - Letter Writing
Home Front - Photographs
Home Front - Map Analysis
Home Front - Posters of WWII
Home Front - Mini Museum
Aircraft Carrier Below Decks Site Visit

Planning a Field Trip

Flight to Excellence

Sponsored by the
Naval Aviation Museum Foundation
at the
National Museum of Naval Aviation
NAS Pensacola, Florida

The National Museum of Naval Aviation is one of the largest and most beautiful aviation museums in the world. Share in the excitement of Naval Aviation's rich history. See over 140 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. These historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed inside the Museum's 291,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the Museum's 37-acre grounds. Enjoy free guided tours both inside and outside the Museum.

The IMAX®Theater offers students and teachers the chance to explore our world and its wonders. Our specially designed 534-seat auditorium guarantees that every seat is the best seat in the house. State-of-the-art technology will zoom your group into the heart of the film's action, allowing them to live the adventure. With a screen almost seven stories high, comfortable stadium seating and 15,000 watts of digital surround sound, your group will share a unique educational experience.

We also have a Motion-Based Simulator that is available to groups at a discounted price when advance reservations are made. The flight simulator generates a mission similar to those flown by Blue Angel pilots during an airshow. Riders experience flight on low-level and high-performance turns and manuevers and feel like they've had a bona fide ride with the Blue Angels. The large-screen video presentation is coordinated with the pitch and roll of the simulator. The computer-controlled simulator is a five-minute ride and can carry up to 15 passengers. The simulator runs every 15 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

You must sign an acknowledgment stating the following information has been read and agreed to, prior to making a reservation for a group visit.


Static Displays at the Museum

Please [click] these links for details on all of the Museum's Major Exhibits and Aircraft Collection. They will take you to other pages in this web site. [click] here to see samples of the Museum's Major Exhibits and Aircraft Collection we have selected for you.


Walking Tour of the Museum

Click here to view a slideshow-type presentation that highlights several exhibits around the Museum. This may take some time to load, but should run on any computer. The presentation will run in its own window - close it to return to this page of the Museum web site. By the slide counter at the bottom center of this screen there are arrow keys; click them to move through the presentation. Click the "movie screen" icon in far right bottom of this window to view the slide show full screen; clicking anywhere will advance to the next slide.
Follow this link to a printer-friendly version of this presentation. It is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format - if you do NOT have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to go to their site, download it for free and followtheir instructions for installation.


Group Visit Policy


  • To assure the safety of all visitors and exhibits, children MUST be supervised AT ALL TIMES while in the Museum
  • One adult for every ten children is required.We recommend each adult have an assigned group of children when touring the Museum.
  • Only ten children with an adult chaperon are allowed in the Flightdeck Museum Store at any one time.
  • Ensure each adult chaperon is given a copy of this policy.
  • Buses should unload passengers at the Museum's main entrance and park in the northwest parking area designated for buses.


  • Quiet, PLEASE. There are often several tours and ceremonies taking place in the Museum at the same time. Please keep the noise level of your group to a minimum so that all visitors can enjoy the Museum.
  • No running.
  • Backpacks are not allowed in the Museum.
  • Do not touch the displays or exhibits.
  • Food and drinks are not allowed in the Museum display or exhibit areas.
  • If you picnic at the Museum, you MUST clean up afterwards and take your trash to the dumpster by the Cubi Cafe.
  • Upon arrival, check with the IMAX® personnel (Red Coats) at the main Museum entrance for assistance.
  • Elevators are designed for those who need them, i.e. mobility impaired persons, children in strollers and senior citizens. Please use the stairs and DO NOT let children play with the elevators.


  • The simulator is pre-programmed for the motions experienced in flight. A computer controls the simulation.
  • Simulated motions include acceleration, deceleration, slow and rapid turns, dives and climbs.
  • The motion experience runs for approximately five minutes. Riders are scheduled in groups of 15 at 15-minute intervals.
  • The motion is synchronized to a computer-generated film. There are no individual controls to affect the simulator motions.

Simulator Restrictions: This is a dynamic, high-speed motion simulation. If you have children under 3 years of age, we strongly suggest that you not bring them with you into the simulator. Please leave them with another adult member of your group. You should NOT enter the simulator if any of the following apply:

  • You are easily prone to motion sickness.
  • You have neck, back or heart problems.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You are claustrophobic.

To schedule a field trip, the following School Field Trip Registration Form must be filled out, signed and returned to us. There is a separate signature line for acknowledging that the Group Visit Policy has been read. Please click here for a printable version of this form. There are four ways to contact us regarding field trips:

Phone: 850-453-2025
Toll-Free Phone: 888-NAS-IMAX (888-627-4629)
FAX: 850-453-2018
Recorded Message: 850-453-2024



School Field Trip Registration Form


School:_________________________________ Teacher:______________________


City:___________________ State:____ ZIP:________ County:_________________

Phone:(____)___________ FAX:(____)____________ E-Mail:___________________

Group Size:_______ Grade:________ Children:_______ Adults:________
The National Museum of Naval Aviation requires one adult chaperon per ten children while at the Museum.

Date of Visit:________ Arrival Time:______ Motion / Hearing Impaired? ___________

School group rates: Any IMAX® movie = $4.25 each. Motion-Based Simulator with a movie = $2.00 for a total package price of $6.25. A school group consists of 15 or more people. Payment of one sum (single check, credit card or correct cash) is acceptable upon arrival. We do NOT accept purchase orders. Make checks out to the "Naval Aviation Museum Foundation" or "N.A.M.F." The large volume of visitors to the IMAX® Theater and Motion-Based Simulator make it essential that schools stay on schedule. Late arrivals are not guaranteed a seat in the movie. ALL FIELD TRIP REQUESTS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO IMAX© Theater/Museum Reservations at 850-453-2025, before visit date.

The Magic of Flight - 10:00a.m.______ 12:00p.m._______ 2:00p.m._______ 4:00p.m._______
Coral Reef Adventure - 11:00a.m._______ 1:00p.m._______ 3:00p.m._______

Requests for Motion-Based Simulator tickets MUST be approved in advance through IMAX® Theater/Museum Reservation Staff. Motion-Based Simulator rides WITHOUT seeing a movie are $2.50 per person. Ride times are approximate and vary with demand. The 5-minute Simulator ride seats 15 people (14 students and one adult chaperon) per ride time. The adult chaperon rides free. Late arrivals are not guaranteed a seat. Tickets are non-refundable and are valid for one year from purchase date.

Motion-Based Simulator requested? Yes____ No____

Do you plan to eat lunch at the Museum? Yes____ No____
NOTE: The Museum has ONLY outdoor picnic areas and they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. School groups must clean up after themselves. Trash must be taken to the dumpster by the Cubi Cafe when you leave. Food and drinks should be carried into designated lunch areas in coolers. Food is not allowed in the Museum.

Print, sign, then fax this form to the IMAX® Naval Aviation Memorial Theater at: 850-453-2018.

By signing below, I acknowledge and will comply with the Museum/IMAX© Theater Group Visit Policy.

Signature:_____________________ Date:__________ Printed Name:____________________



The NC-4 Exhibit
In all of recorded human history, few of mankind's endeavors have developed with such speed and impacted the manner in which we live more than aviation. Even now it is difficult to believe that only sixty-six years after the Wright Brothers introduced the world to powered flight over the windswept dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his "one giant leap for mankind" onto the desolate gray landscape of the moon. Indeed, throughout the course of its development, the aircraft has signaled a revolution at virtually every turn, whether changing the face of warfare, eclipsing the sound barrier, or making the world a smaller place through air travel.

Examined in this context, the NC-4 flying boat is one of the tangible symbols of aviation's historic development, both a harbinger of change and one of the sparks of the aerial revolution. Her epic transoceanic journey during the period 8-27 May 1919, though overshadowed by the later non-stop flights of others, nevertheless marked the first time an aircraft conquered the forbidding Atlantic. Her intrepid crew represented attributes that have been subsequently passed down through generations of aviators, combining technical prowess, an element of daring, and mental and physical fortitude.

On 8 May, the three NC (Navy/Curtiss) series flying boats took off from Long Island, New York to attempt that first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by air. Two of the three aircraft (NC-1 and NC-3) were forced to land in heavy seas to take a navigation fix during the long Newfoundland-Azores Islands leg of the journey. So heavily damaged in the landings, they were unable to proceed, leaving NC-4 to continue alone.

After nearly 15 hours in the air, NC-4 touched down in the Azores and continued on to Portugal, arriving on 27 May, completing the 2,150 mile transit in 26 hours of flight time at an average speed of 80 mph.

If an aircraft could assume human characteristics, it could be said that the NC-4 possessed all of these things. She dared go where no plane had yet ventured, she was a marvel of technological development, and she endured the chilling winds over the Atlantic and the spray of its ocean swells. And 80 years ago, she came in first and thus flew into history.

Commander A. C. Read and his crew of five have the honor of being the first to fly the Atlantic. The actual aircraft they used is proudly on display in the center of the South Wing.
The USS Cabot Exhibit
The Museum's west wing houses an exact replica of the flight deck and superstructure of a famous CVL, or light carrier, the USS Cabot, CVL-28. Its extensive combat record is proudly displayed just as painted on the original ship - and by the original artist. The voice call for the Cabot was "Mohawk". The skipper "charged up" his crew with a rousing "Up and at 'em, Mohawks" at the end of ship-wide pep talks.

With several World War II aircraft displayed on her deck, one gains an appreciation for the limited size of a light aircraft carrier flight deck. This exhibit also houses an anti- aircraft gun from the USS Cabot; climb in, take aim and defend the ship!
The Squadron Patches Exhibit
Flight jackets were originally worn to protect aviators from the harsh weather at high altitudes, but they quickly became a symbol which set aviators apart from everyone else. The display will take you from the dawn of the flight jacket to the present day Navy flight jacket which is still issued to aviators. There are many colorful squadron patches with cartoon pictures which depict the squadron’s missions on display as well. This exhibit is located where the Quarterdeck (the Museum entrance) joins the South Wing.
The Flying Tigers Exhibit
The American Volunteer Group (AVG) was a band of flyers formed to help defend China against the Japanese. Contrary to public belief, the AVG was not a U.S. Army Air Corps unit but a civilian contracted organization made up of pilots recruited from the U.S. military. About 60% of them were from the Navy and Marine Corps. Their fighter was the Curtiss P-40B "Tomahawk." As a result of the tiger jaws painted on the nose of each airplane, the group became known as the Flying Tigers famed for their success against the Japanese "Zero" pilots. To learn more about this group, please visit our exhibit which includes a P-40B "Tomahawk" located in the West Wing near the Blue Angel Atrium.
The Prisoner of War Exhibit
Completed in the fall of 1997, this display replicates parts of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, better known as the "Hanoi Hilton", where U.S. prisoners of war were held during the Vietnam Conflict. Uniforms, personal items, photos and other memorabilia provide a vivid picture of life as a prisoner of war. See some of the things POWs made with their limited supplies, look at some of their drawings and read some of their poems. This exhibit is located in the South Wing.
Designation: JRF-3
Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft
Type: Utility, Training
Crew: Two pilots plus 4-7 passengers
Power Plant: Two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-6
Dimensions: Span 49'; length 38'
Weight: 8,000 lbs gross
Speed: 201 mph maximum
Range: 640 miles
Appearing in 1937, the JRF "Goose" was the first in a long line of amphibian flying boats produced by Grumman Aircraft Corporation for military and commercial use. Equipped with main and tail wheel landing gear which retracted into the fuselage, the high-wing aircraft was also capable of carrying six to seven passengers. Variants of the "Goose" ranged from the JRF-1 to the JRF-6 series with the first production models being delivered to the Navy in late 1939 and to the Marines and Coast Guard shortly thereafter. Under the Lend Lease Act, 54 of the more than 300 produced were programmed for Great Britain as a navigation trainer. While provisions were made for the carriage of two 250-pound bombs on wing racks, the primary duties within the Navy were as a utility transport, to tow targets, as a photo aircraft, and navigation training. Some of them were provided with autopilots and anti-icing equipment for use by the Coast Guard in northern waters.

The Museum's aircraft is a JRF-3 (BuNo V190) obtained from Glen Hyde of Roanoke, Texas.

Name: FIFI
Designation: FF-1
Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
Type: Carrier-based fighter
Power Plant: One 750 hp Wright R-1820-F
Dimensions: Span 34' 6
Weight: 4,658 lbs gross
Speed: 229 mph maximum
Range: 365 miles tactical
On 2 April 1931, the Navy issued a contract for an experimental fighter to be called the XFF-1 to Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. This contract marked the beginning of a Navy/Grumman association that has endured to the present day.

First flown in 1931, the Grumman FF-1 (affectionately known as "Fifi )" was noteworthy for its innovative design characteristics that marked a great step forward in aircraft design - first fighter with retractable landing gear; an enclosed canopy for both cockpits; and, an all metal, stressed skin fuselage. The "Fifi" was of rugged design typical of all future Grumman aircraft. The single significant drawback to the FF-1 was its poor climb capability, taking six minues to reach 10,000 ft.

The FF-1s entered service with the fleet in June 1933 with delivery to VF-5B, the only squadron to ever operate them. They were withdrawn in November 1935 and relegated to reserve duties. A later model (FF-2) was configured as a trainer with the installation of dual controls and operated with Marine Reserves. By 1941 only two remained in service.

The Museum's aircraft (BuNo 9351) was manufactured by Canadian Car and Foundry under license and sold to the Nicaraguan Air Force in 1937. In 1961, it was rescued from a scrap heap in Nicaragua by an American agricultural aerial spray contractor doing spray work on a plantation down there. In reconstructing the airplane, he substituted a Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN1 engine in place of the original Wright R-1820 which was inoperable due to fourteen years of neglect and corrosion. Five years of spare-time work was spent in getting the aircraft in condition to fly to his base in Longview, Texas where he continued to work on the plane. After hearing of the aircraft, Grumman persuaded the owner to demonstrate the FF-1 at an open-house and Blue Angel show at their Peconic, Long Island facility. The owner initially refused to sell the aircraft to Grumman, but relented when told its final destination would be the Naval Aviation Museum. Retired Grumman employee volunteers completed the restoration after which the plane was sent on a barnstorming tour of the United States to show it off. It was flown to Pensacola on 9 June 1967 and became the first aircraft placed on interior display in the original museum.

Designation: F6F-3
Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
Type: Carrier-based fighter
Crew: Pilot only
Power Plant: 2,000 hp P&W R-2800-10/R-2800W
Dimensions: Span 42' 10
Weight: 12,415/12,483 lbs maximum
Speed: 388/400 mph maximum
Range: 540/650 miles tactical
In 1942, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation began mass production of the F6F "Hellcat" fighter as replacement for the F4F/FM-2 "Wildcat" which had been carrying the burden of fighter operations in the Pacific. The results obtained from testing a captured Japanese "Zero" restored to flyable condition were utilized in refining design features of the production F6F to enable it to engage the "Zero" on equal terms and thus dictate the rules of combat. At one time during the war, Grumman was delivering a "Hellcat" at the rate of one per hour around the clock for a grand total of 12,275 deliveries from 1942 to 1945.

While the F6Fs capability for carrying bombs and rockets was widely utilized in air support of friendly ground forces as well as the destruction of enemy airfield installations and shipping, it is best known for its role as a fighter. All in all, the "Hellcat" was credited with destroying 5,156 enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat (75% of all Navy aerial kills) with a kill ratio of 19:1.

Combat stories of F6F encounters with enemy aircraft during World War II are legendary and include:

a. A division of four pilots from the first squadron to receive the F6Fs accumulated 50 kills without the loss of a single aircraft.

b. A Marine night fighter squadron shot down twenty-two aircraft over a two month period.

c. David McCampbell (Navy's leading ace with 34 aerial kills and 20 on the ground) accounts for seven aircraft from a flight of 80 in a single encounter; and, later attacked a flight of 60 aircraft with a single wingman, shooting down nine while his wingman accounted for 7 others. McCampbell received the Medal of Honor. A "look-alike" of his aircraft, "Minsi III" (BuNo 94203), received from Aerial Classics is one of two F6Fs in the Museum's collection.

d. A flight of F6Fs feeds into the landing pattern of 49 Japanese aircraft on Guam and shoot down 30 while the balance crash on landing.

Following the war, F6Fs were used as advanced flight trainers and radio controlled "drones" as targets and explosive laden aircraft flown against installations in North Korea.

One of the F6Fs on display, an F6F-3 (BuNo 66237), was recovered in 1970 from 3400 feet of water off the coast of California where it had crashed in 1946 and restored to its present condition. The aircraft is painted in WW II colors of VF-31 assigned to the USS Cabot, and reflects the fourteen aerial kills made by LTJG Ray Hawkins prior to his 22nd birthday. The other F6F on display, an F6F-5 (BuNo 94203), is painted in the colors of CDR David McCampbell, the Navy's leading ace.

Designation: BFC-2
Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright Corp.
Type: Carrier-based fighter-bomber
Crew: Pilot only
Power Plant: One 700 hp Wright R-1820-78
Dimensions: Span 31' 6
Weight: 4,638 lbs gross
Speed: 205 mph maximum
Range: 280 miles tactical
The success of Curtiss and Wright Companies in developing two-seat dive-bombers from original fighter designs led the Navy to specify a similar bombing capability for its new single-seat fighter under development in the early 1930s. The end result was the Curtiss "Goshawk" fighter-bomber destined to achieve more publicity than its short production run (57 total including prototypes and variants) appeared to justify.

Of the two prototypes presented by Curtiss for consideration (XF11C-1 with a 3 bladed propeller and double row 600 hp radial engine; and, the XF11C-2 with a two bladed propeller and single row 700 hp radial engine), the XF11C-2 was selected for production. To reflect the role of "fighter-bomber" it was ultimately redesignated from F11C-2 to BFC-2. A later variant with hand-operated, retractable landing gear was designated BF2C-1.

The Goshawk was capable of carrying four 112 lb bombs under the wings or a bomb of up to 500 lb beneath the fuselage on a crutch which swings down to prevent the bomb hitting the propeller when released. A 50 gallon fuel tank could also be carried under the fuselage.

BFC-2s delivered to the famous carrier based High Hat squadron in 1933 were later modified to have a higher rear fuselage and half-canopy over the cockpit. BF2C-1s delivered to a carrier-based squadron a year later served only a few months before landing gear problems led to their withdrawal. These were the last Curtiss fighters accepted for service by the Navy.

The BFC-2 (BuNo 9332) on display was restored over a three year period by World Wide Aeronautical Industries and is one of only two Goshawks on display in the world. The other is in Poland.

Designation: AF-2S
Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.
Type: Carrier-based ASW strike or search
Crew: Pilot and aircrewman
Power Plant: One 2,400 hp P&W R-2800-48W
Dimensions: Span 60' 8"; length 43 '4"
Weight: 25,500 lbs gross
Speed: 317 mph maximum
Conceived as a replacement for its TBF/TBM "Avenger", Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation presented single and twin-engine versions of the AF "Guardian" for consideration by the Navy. With a tandem cockpit arrangement for two, the single-engine design was selected. The first prototypes for testing included a Westinghouse turbojet in the tail for quick escape but this feature was not incorporated in operational aircraft.

When the AFs entered mass production in the 1950s, their intended mission had been changed from torpedo-bomber to antisubmarine warfare. In this role, the Navy ordered two versions for use in a hunter-killer team concept. The hunter half of the team was the AF-2W equipped with a big belly radome and a four man crew to search for submarines both visually and electronically. When located, an accompanying AF-2S would pinpoint the target with its underwing APS-30 radar, illuminate it at night by means of a special spotlight, and follow-up with an attack by depth charges and/or homing torpedoes.

In the late 1950s, the AFs were replaced by the twin engine Grumman S2F "Tracker" as the primary ASW aircraft. The "Guardian" has the distinction of being the largest single-engine propeller aircraft ever operated by the Navy.

The Museum's AF-2S (BuNo 123100) was obtained in flyable condition from Aero Union Corporation in California.

Name: FURY
Designation: FJ-2/FJ-4/F-1
Manufacturer: North American Aviation, Inc.
Type: Carrier-based fighter
Crew: Pilot only
Power Plant: One 7,700 lb s.t. Wright J-65-W-16A
Dimensions: Span 39' 1
Weight: 23,700 lbs gross
Speed: 680 mph maximum
The North American FJ-4 "Fury" is the end result of a number of modifications to earlier FJ models in order to accommodate a 50% increase in the aircraft's fuel capacity while still retaining its four cannons and wing pylons for "Sidewinder" air-to-air missiles. Production models of this series were delivered primarily to the U.S. Marine Corps during the period 1955-1957.

An attack version of the "Fury" (the FJ-4B) was also developed incorporating some of the design features of the F-86 "Sabre" as well as strengthened wing to enable delivery of tactical nuclear weapons and up to five "Bullpup" air-to-ground missiles weighing 540 lbs each.

The versatility of the "Fury" was ably demonstrated in 1958 when two Marine FJ-4B squadrons flew non-stop across the Pacific from Hawaii to Japan with two airborne in-flight refuelings en route.

374 FJ-4 and FJ-4B aircraft were produced for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Museum's FJ-4 (BuNo 139486) on display in the South Wing was received in 1964 from NAS Glynco, Georgia by direction of the Chief of Naval Operations. An FJ-2 (BuNo 132023) is also on display in the South Wing.