Located just west of the main entrance for Kennedy Space Center, the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum (VAC) is in its self a hidden gem. The museum is not located right next to the 405 but just a short half-mile drive through the trees on Tico Road. VAC is located on the ground of Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX) where you can taxi right up to the Warbird Ramp making for a fun flying destination.
As you can guess from the name of the museum, the focus is on warbirds, in fact they only have one non-warbird in their collection, a Stuart 51. The VAC has an impressive collection of US Navy aircraft including an F-14 Tomcat, F-18 Hornet, F-8 Crusader, and A-6 Intruder.
Exhibit One: C-47 Tico Belle
VAC operates the historic C-47 Tico Belle, this aircraft experienced the events ranging from the D-Day invasion to the Berlin Airlift. The C-47 is a fine representation of both a military aircraft and an excessive transport. Tico Belle now flies to air shows all over the country offering attendees the chance to take part in historical rides.
Exhibit Two: The Vietnam Memorial Hangar
The Vietnam Memorial Hangar is latest building to be added at VAC. As the name suggests, this is where the museum houses its collection of aircraft and artifacts from the Vietnam War timeframe. Aircraft on display in the hangar include a UH-1 Huey, F-105 Thunderchief, F8K Crusader, A-6A Intruder, UH-19B Sikorsky Chickasaw, and a F-101B Voodoo.
Exhibit Three: Restoration Hangar
Tours of the Restoration Hangar can be arranged by asking one of the volunteer tour guides. When we where there, Tico Belle was undergoing maintenance work. Nearby, a recently acquired F-4J Phantom and a TBM Avenger were in the process of being restored for display.
Personal Gem: Modified F-5E
The most unique aircraft on display is a heavily modified F-5E. NASA modified this aircraft with an enlarged nose and fuselage designed to change the airplane’s shockwave when traveling at supersonic speeds. This would allow the airplane to produce a quieter sonic boom. More information on this airplane can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaped_Sonic_Boom_Demonstration
Entry: Adults: $18 Senior/Military $15 Children 4-12 $5
Hours: Open 7 Days a Week 9:00 A.M. 5:00 P.M.
Except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years