The visitors’ experience begins in Hangar 37, a 42,000 square foot former seaplane hangar that survived the December 7, 1941 attack. Transportation to Ford Island is via shuttle buses. After arrival in the Pacific Aviation Museums’ lobby, guests enter a 200-seat theater where they view a 12 minute movie covering the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, including historic footage.
Leaving the theater visitors enter a corridor that sets the stage with sound effects and photos of what life was like in the Islands before 1941. Upon entering the exhibit area of 25,000 square feet, visitors first see an authentic Japanese Zero in a diorama setting on the deck of the Japanese carrier Hiryu at dawn on December 7th. Also in the hangar is a light civilian plane that was airborne and shot during the Oahu attack, together with a P-40 fighter of the type airborne from Wheeler and Haleiwa Field on the fateful day.
New to the museum is the Mig Alley Korean War Exhibit. Showcasing the Museum’s recently acquired MiG-15 and newly restored F-86 Sabre aircraft which flew during the Korean War, the exhibit features a life-sized diorama that depicts “MiG Alley,” the name given by U.S. Air Force pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea. During the Korean War, it was the site of numerous dogfights between U.S. fighter jets and those of the Communist forces, particularly the Soviet Union. The Museum’s F-86 Sabre which has been restored for the exhibit, and the Museum’s Soviet-designed MiG-15 were the aircraft used throughout most of the Korean conflict.