Page 85 - SLO Visitors Guide Fall 2023
P. 85

Paso Robles
History takes wing at Estrella Warbirds Museum and Woodland Auto Display
 Rare airplanes, military collections and vintage autos
See some of the rarest airplanes, vehicles and military collections in the United States at the Estrella
Warbirds Museum. Located at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, formerly Estrella Army Airfield, the museum was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1992. It was origi- nally organized as a chapter of the Confederate Air Force, now the Commemorative Air Force.
From its first building on a small parcel of land, the museum has grown to a 14-building com- plex, including hangars, exhibit halls, a restoration workshop, a library, gift shop, and conference facilities. Dedicated to the preserva- tion of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia, the museum has a collection of 40 aircraft and 43 military vehicles, along with the Woodland Auto Display with a col- lection of period cars.
Education is a large part of the museum’s mission. The museum sponsors school tours, monthly dinners with speakers, and a youth aviation program for middle and high school students.
Visitors have the opportunity to see and experience history by standing beside an F-14 Tomcat, flying a F/A-18 flight simulator, or riding in a Douglas C-47 transport.
Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber, the C-47B transport at the museum
The Estrella Warbirds Museum is the home of the Gooney Bird Group and their C-47B, Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber. Betsy took a historical flight to Normandy in 2019, joining the largest fleet of her C-47 comrades since World War II for the 75th international anni- versary of D-Day. For the second time in her career, Betsy crossed the Atlantic, flying 13,000 miles for
130 hours over two continents. The 2019 anniversary of D-Day was the largest commemoration of a tragic period in world history and an occasion to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation.
The museum’s restoration crew restored Betsy's Biscuit Bomber and returned her to flight status
on August 1, 2009. Before being recovered from Canada where she had been sitting for six years, Betsy served with the United States Air Force, the Belgium, French and Israeli Air forces and had totaled 9420 flight hours.
She still flies and you can too!
A donation gets you a seat on a once-a-month flight onboard Betsy. Flights are on the third Saturday of the month and must be reserved
in advance. Make your reservation on the Estrella Warbird website (
On display
The displays include restored aircraft from the 1940s through the 1990s, a growing collection of armaments and ordnance, restored military vehicles, a full-size F/A-18 cockpit simulator that was used for pilot training, a fully equipped old Indy car garage, and the WWII Red Ball Express Motor Pool. The 19,700, square foot Woodland Auto Display includes historic NASCAR cars, a Steve McQueen
Indian motorcycle with a sidecar and an always-changing assortment of street rods, antique and classic vehicles.
A must-visit for all
The museum is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, dedicated to restoring and preserving military aircraft, vehicles and memorabilia, to honoring those who flew, drove and worked on them and to helping future generations un- derstand that the American way of life does not come without sacrifice.
Estrella Warbirds Museum and Woodland Auto Display, located at 4251 Dry Creek Road in Paso Robles, is open Thursday – Sun- day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Mondays for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day. For tickets or more information visit, or call
(805) 238-9317.
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