Flying history's new home: Madras Airport

WWII planes moving from Oregon coast to new hangar

POSTED: 7:14 PM PDT April 26, 2013    UPDATED: 11:12 PM PDT April 26, 2013 
MADRAS, Ore. -

The group that owns the Tillamook Air Museum is moving its planes to Central Oregon. The Erickson Group plans to build a 65,000-square-foot hangar at Madras Airport to house a fleet of firefighting air tankers and store the collectables.

The airport already is rich in aviation history. The original two hangars were built back in 1941, to train B-17 and P-39 Cobra pilots for the war.

"You can actually still see the mud in the rafters up here and the footprints of the guys who were actually walking around up here," Airport Manager Robert Berg said Friday. "We all are pilots and mechanics, and love World War II aircraft and history."

This summer, the company will begin construction on the new hangar. The 25 warplanes from the Tillamook museum should start arriving in early 2016.

One plane in the collection is a P-38 Lightning, which was made famous by Central Oregon pilot Rex T. Barber.

"That's the type of aircraft he used in the shoot down of General Yamamoto in World War II," Berg said, "which is one of Central Oregon's famous ties to World War II."

In a news release, the Erickson Group said it hopes to eventually display the collection of the vintage aircraft.