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  • Where is Santa Maria, CA?
    Santa Maria is the largest city in Santa Barbara county along the California Central Coast. Highway 101 runs through the city. It is located just south of Pismo Beach, approximately 45 minutes from the cities of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
  • Why was Santa Maria chosen?
    We were looking for a great general aviation airport with a runway at least 8000 feet long to accommodate our jets, favorable weather for most of the year, emergency services, and proximity to a population base for visitors. We started with a list of every airport in the USA and began narrowing it down. The list shrank when we started crossing off locations due to our deal breakers: military bases, major airliner operations, too short runway, snow, natural disaster risk, too far from a major population base, etc. We received proposals from many wonderful airports but ultimately the Santa Maria Airport put forward the most attractive proposal. In 2021 we finalized a deal and signed an agreement for 23.89 acres.
  • Did you consider any other locations?
    Yes. We started with a list of every airport in the USA, including Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, etc. etc. etc.
  • What will be built at the SMX Campus?
    23.89 acres are available for building. Phase One of the project will include the 56,000 square foot Building “Alpha” which will serve as a welcoming entry point to the new campus. Building “Alpha” includes a large central aircraft display hangar, a restoration and maintenance wing, and an event hangar for educational and public programs. The visitor center at the front of the building will include a lobby, gift shop, offices, and other visitor amenities such as seating and restrooms.
  • What programs will be available?
    At this point we are developing our programing plan but we hope to provide permanent and temporary exhibits, flying demonstrations, educational tours and lectures, warbird rides, etc. Programing will be similar to what is currently offered at Chino.
  • How soon will the new facilities be open at Santa Maria?
    As long as design, engineering, construction, and most importantly fundraising efforts stay on track, we anticipate opening the doors by 2025.
  • How to get updates on the project?
    Sign up for project updates at
  • Why expand? Why not expand at Chino?
    Our museum at Valle, AZ is now closed to the public until further notice. Those collection pieces and aircraft are no longer accessible to the public. Additionally, at least a dozen of our aircraft are housed in various hangars/tiedowns not on public display. An expansion will bring more of our collection into publically accessible hangars. When the museum first opened its Chino location in the 70’s, it was surrounded by agriculture and enjoyed open uncongested airspace. Growth in the Inland Empire has led to a significant increase in air traffic as well as dense housing tracts and industrial complexes being built where there were once open fields. These are no longer ideal flying conditions. The museum needs an axillary base for its flyable aircraft where safety of flight operations is a top priority while performing annual maintenance and test flights.
  • How much does POF need to raise for Phase One? How much as it already raised?
    The Phase One goal is $12 Million. As of January 2023, we have raised approximatly $7.5 Million.
  • You said Phase One - will there be a Phase Two & Three?
    We will offically announce our goals for Phase Two and Phase Three once we have completed Phase One. We are hopeful our community will continue to support our expansion efforts and make it possible to build additional hangars at Santa Maria Airport.
  • How does the expansion effect the museum at Chino Airport?
    Chino Airport has been a home to Planes of Fame since 1974 and will continue to be our home for many years to come. No changes to programs at Chino are anticipated due to the expansion. Hangar Talks, flight demos, coffee klatch, special events, etc. will all continue. Aircraft will be rotated between the two locations and with the extra hangar space, additional aircraft, displays, and collection pieces will be on view for the public.
  • I heard 'this or that' about the future of Chino... Addressing Rumors:
    Planes of Fame is a large community with many different leaders and passionate community members. You may have heard conflicting reports about what the future of Planes of Fame will look like. The fact is we don’t know exactly what the future holds for us at Chino or Santa Maria, so we want to prepare for various scenarios. We are very hopeful that our launch at Santa Maria Airport will be a success and we’ll be able to continue to operate at our home base in Chino for years to come.
  • Will any aircraft leave Chino? If so, what?
    At this time, we don’t know what aircraft will be based at Santa Maria. We do plan to rotate aircraft between Chino and Santa Maria.
  • When will aircraft leave Chino?
    We anticipate the museum at Santa Maria opening in 2025, so we would expect sometime in 2024 aircraft to begin moving from Valle and Chino.
  • Will POF be a part of AirFest 2023?
    Plans are being discussed now for POF’s involvement in AirFest 2023. We anticipate being involved at some level, at this time we do not know how many of our aircraft will be able to attend.
  • When is AirFest 2023?
    The dates have not been officially announced, but October 14 & 15, 2023 are the tentative dates.
  • What aircraft will go to AirFest 2023?
    At this time we do not know how many or which of our aircraft will be able to attend.
  • Will there be a Planes of Fame Airshow at Chino in 2023?
    No. There will not be a POF Airshow at Chino Airport in 2023. Road construction still does not allow for a large volume of cars at Chino Airport. We will be hosting our 2nd Annual Wings, Tracks, and Wheels event on May 6 & 7, 2023. This is a much smaller event but will feature several flying demonstrations, warbird rides, military vehicles and reenactors, tank demo, food trucks, and more.

Have additional questions? Contact us HERE.

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