How Things Fly--Now Open!


How Things Fly… Experience the Adventure entertains, challenges and educates visitors of all ages! Visit the four zones of How Things Fly: Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Meteorology and Air Traffic Control—each giving an insight into the wonder of flight.



Have you ever wondered how a bird flies in the sky? Or what it was like during the Wright brothers’ very first powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903? This fun zone is filled with action-packed simulators that answer those questions and many more! Experience a flight with today’s modern squirrel suit jumpers as they soar around a mountain. Learn how to fly a helicopter and experience a real wind tunnel with your own set of wings.



See real, historic, and modern day engines in operation! Also enjoy a series of non-operating engines, such as the mammoth 28 cylinder Pratt and Whitney 4360. Enter a special listening dome that plays the actual sounds of several engines as they fly overhead.



Explore the effects of weather on aircraft and flight planning. View a weather balloon with “radiosonde,” a functioning weather station, videos of weather patterns and phenomena that affect the safety of flight, live NEXRAD radar, and create your own lighting storm in a Van de Graaff machine!


Air Traffic Control

Enter the world of air traffic control and witness the importance it plays in aviation safety. View live radar and air traffic control communications at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport and our own Lindbergh Field! Try to control the aircraft on your own at the training station.


Don’t miss How Things Fly—on display for a limited time.

For pricing, please click on the “visit” tab.

Spirit of '45 Event with Chuck Yeager

Spirit of 45 Awards and Celebration Dinner

Spirit of 45 Banner

Don’t Miss this Historic Evening at the San Diego Air & Space Museum!

An evening honoring the men and women who served in WWII.  They lived through the depression, as a community of one, they fought a world war on two fronts, and then they rebuilt a shattered world.  They are our parents, our grandparents, and our dearest friends. Spirit of ’45 day, the second Sunday in August, is a new national day in honor of their legacy.  Join us as we work to keep their memories alive!

Individual Lifetime Achievement Award:  General Chuck Yeager.  General Yeager served as a fighter pilot during WWII and was the first to break the sound barrier in October 1947.

Arsenal of Democracy Award: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler are being recognized as the six companies that were essential elements of the “Arsenal of Democracy”. 

Event Information

When: Saturday February 18th, 2012

Where: San Diego Air & Space Museum

Cost: $190

Schedule: 6:00pm Reception 7:00pm Dinner & Program

Masters of Ceremony: Mark Larson & Jerry Coleman

Special Guest: Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree General Chuck Yeager

Attire: 40’s Attire Encouraged

RSVP by Febraury 7th to Becky Conrad at 619.234.8291 x102 or

2012 Invited Guests Include:

Robert Cardenas: B29 pilot

Bob Hoover: Chase plane pilot

Jerry Coleman:  WWII marine fighter pilot

Dr. Roscoe Brown: Tuskegee Airman

Adolpho Celaya: Hispanic Hero of WWII

Skip Adams:  Battle of Iwo Jima

Walter Ehlers:  Normandy Sacrifice for Freedom

Dr. Frances Carter:  Founder of the American Rosie the Riveter Association

Christ McIntyre:  Representing Vietnam veterans

Lt Col Hank Cervante:  Mighty 8th Air Force

Tibor Rubin:  Jewish War Veteran

Nell Calloway:  Executive Director of the Flying Tigers Foundation

Dick Cole: Doolittle’s Raid

Joe McPhlan: Black Sheep Squadron

Dr. Bruce Heilman: Battle of Okinawa

Al Tortolano:  Go for Broke, 442nd/100’

Steve Pisanos: Eagle Squadron

Dick Deeds: Aviator in Europe and the Pacific

All proceeds benefit promoting the work of the Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive Campaign and the SDASM’s educational programs.

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Exciting New Restoration Projects

File:Bell X-1 color.jpg

In the restoration area of the Museum, the Bell X-1 Rocket Plane is taking shape.  Bulkheads from the cockpit aft have been fabricated. Longerons have been attached, and the crew has begun to skin our ground-up reproduction of this historically significant aircraft. While precious little aviation history may be taught in the schools today, our aircraft, when once completed, will tell the story of the Air Force’s pursuit of a sound barrier breaking machine, the heroics of those who flew them---most notably, the first person to surpass the speed of sound, Chuck Yeager, and of the support he received in the process.  Now, more than sixty years later, conquering the once thought impossible flight through the invisible sound barrier ranks in importance right up there with the pioneering efforts of the Wright brothers in historic significance.

Work is also progressing nicely on the Hughes H-1 “Racer” ground-up reproduction as well.  The wing spars have been under construction for some time now, growing in thickness as layers of wood laminate are added on a regular basis.  CAD drawings designating the fuselage, landing gear, tail section, and cockpit have been partially drawn, and our metal workers are beginning the process of sorting out all the necessary components that will be part of the construction process.  As is our custom, neither the Hughes nor the Bell will be built to fly, but the authenticity of the construction process will not be compromised.

Paper Airplane Festival

As part of Science Family Day in Balboa Park, participate in the Paper Airplane Festival at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on March 17 from 11 AM until 3 PM! Enjoy hands-on experiences while gaining insight into the science of flight by creating many fun types of paper airplanes.

During the festival, attendees can learn to fold a variety of paper airplanes and enter into competitions, which include farthest flight distance, longest air time, and flight accuracy. Make sure to stay for the group launch in front of the Museum at 3 pm!

Please click here for a special offer for adult admission on March 17. 

Children 12 and under are free with paid adult; adult discount coupons available on website. Does not include admission to “How Things Fly”. Discounted opportunities for children and adults to see “How Things Fly” will be available that day to festival attendees. Please ask at the admissions desk for more information.


Viva Las Vegas--Buy your tickets today!

Viva Las Vegas - Come Fly With Us

Viva Las Vegas

Purchase a Ticket Today!

Purchase a ticket to this event today online.

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Publication of “Hap” Arnold Book


The Library & Archives is just starting to provide electronic publications for download thru iTunes. The first such offering is A History of Rockwell Field, a narrative prepared by Henry “Hap” Arnold in 1925, documenting early days at North Island.


San Diego’s North Island Naval Air Station is one of the largest and most important naval bases on the west coast today. The facility had its start at the dawn of flight, when aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss used the site to establish one of the first pilot training schools in the country. The United States Army saw the advantages that the location offered as an air station and training center, and it soon acquired the island, establishing Rockwell Field as its west coast training center. Eventually the U.S. Navy took over the growing base, and today it is a thriving deep water port and naval aviation center, serving as home for some of the most advanced ships and aircraft in the naval inventory.


The site has a rich aviation history dating back to 1910. The officers, enlisted men and students of Rockwell Field, and later North Island Naval Air Station, are composed of some of the most important and influential aviation figures of the 20th century. One of these was Henry “Hap” Arnold, who served as overall commander of the Army Air Forces in World War II and was one of the primary figures responsible for the establishment as the United States Air Force.


Arnold served as Rockwell Field base commander on three separate occasions during the crucial early years of the establishment of the base. He was fascinated by its development and the potential it offered as an aviation center. Arnold wrote of these early years in 1925 when he penned A History of Rockwell Field, a chronicle of the history of the site until that time. His manuscript sheds light on the vital first years of the North Island base, when the function of aviation and the potential that it offered to the military was still being defined. It is an important document that so far has never been published, a situation that hopefully will soon be resolved by the publication of the book by the San Diego Air & Space Museum.


The Library & Archives has augmented the text by the addition of many rare and unpublished photographs of the locations, incidents, and individuals that Arnold writes about in A History of Rockwell Field. As such, the book is a vital document that chronicles the early years of the development of a military base that has had a large influence on aviation in the 20th century, written by one of the most influential figures in aviation history.


This book is available for download on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks and on your computer with iTunes. Books must be read on an iOS device. Download your copy at for $14.99.



Museum Month

Leap into Museums this February with a Free Museum Month Pass!

San Diego Museum Month, presented by Macy’s, February 1-29, 2012

Museum Month is back for the 23rd year in San Diego County. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums.

Click here to find the Macy’s store nearest you.


Museum Month Passes may be picked up starting February 1, 2012 at any of Macy’s fourteen locations in the San Diego Area, Temecula and Imperial Valley.  The passes are free to obtain while supplies last. With a pass, up to four visitors can gain admission to any of the 40 participating museums for half-price.  Plus, you can use the pass all month long!


Museum Month, created by the San Diego Museum Council in 1989, draws tens of thousands of visitors to the region’s museums, historical sites, educational institutions, and cultural centers.  The savings encourages locals and visitors to explore the variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations.  From the Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.


Special thanks to Macy’s for their continued support and partnership for Museum Month 2012!

For more information on the San Diego Museum Council and participating museums, please visit