Air Force Museum welcomes historic plane to collection

Rare PT-17 trainer one of just two remaining used by Tuskegee Airmen

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force welcomed the arrival of a PT-17 to its collection following a ceremonial transfer at Joint Base Andrews, the museum said recently.

The aircraft is only one of just two remaining PT-17s once used as Tuskegee Airmen trainers during the Second World War.

The aircraft was acquired from the Collings Foundation’s American Heritage Museum in Hudson, Mass.

“It is a little emotional to leave it behind,” Rob Collings, executive director of the Collings Foundation, said in a museum announcement. “The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is such spectacular museum, and this aircraft deserves to be on the national stage. Going through the museum and seeing the crowds that are here, I hope this aircraft will inspire everybody who comes through. It’s in the right location. It needs to be here.”

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black pilots to fly in the U.S. military.

“This aircraft is a valuable piece of our American aviation and military history,” said David Tillotson, III, museum director. “Adding this to our collection gives us the ability to tell the broader story of the impact and bravery that that Tuskegee Airmen had during World War II, and the precedent they set for future generations.”

The PT-17 is expected to be placed in the museum’s World War II Gallery next spring.

About the Author