Under the Cowl
Cory Graff
Military Aviation Curator
  As the military aviation curator at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, I get up close to some of the rarest airplanes in the world, hear stories from the pilots that flew the planes in World War II, and work with a team of mechanics who maintain the craft in immaculate, flying condition.

Now the staff and I would like to invite you to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Collection that is rarely seen by the public in a web blog called Cory's Blog. We hope you'll check back often for more reports and photographs.

A little about me: I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life. Growing up in Tacoma, my house was right under the flight path for McChord Air Force Base. Day and night, I'd see a seemingly endless stream of Lockheed C-141 cargo planes headed for the runways on the other side of Commencement Bay.

I graduated from the University of Oregon and soon after went to work for the Museum of Flight in Seattle. I did writing and research jobs for the exhibits department and later assisted in the creation and installation of large exhibits including The Boeing Story, Wings Over Hollywood, and 747.

Perhaps the most complex and rewarding project I helped lead was the World War I Gallery in the Museum of Flight's Personal Courage Wing. The sprawling layout covered 25,000 square feet and contained 18 aircraft. As well, there were extensive scenes to illustrate the era, such as a bomb-damaged French farmhouse and a curving of trench scene.

I'm also an author. My first book, Shot to Hell, contains stories and photos of battle-ravaged Army aircraft. The sequel, Clear the Deck!, takes on the Navy side of the story. I've also written Strike and Return; a book about the aviation activities surrounding Iwo Jima in the final year of World War II, P-47 Thunderbolt at War, F6F Hellcat at War, and a history of Boeing Field. My seventh book is The Navy in Puget Sound, by Arcadia Publishing.

I was hired by the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in September 2008. I track and log FHCAM's collections from the aircraft to our archives of printed material, military uniforms, and other historic items. I also work on exhibits and create histories of the institution's aircraft.

It's a fascinating job. Check back soon to see photos and the inside story of the latest exhibits at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Under the Cowl.
Southern California's World War II Aircraft
by Cory Payton Graff, Patrick Thomas Devine

Book_SoCalWWIIAircraft.jpgThe cities of Los Angeles and San Diego were boomtowns during World War II. California aviation companies designed many of the greatest combat aircraft of the era, and bustling armies of women and men helped quickly churn them out by the thousands.

Available in our gift shop >