Castle Air Museum will add two new helicopters to its collection
The Castle Air Museum has received delivery of two new aircraft which will be part of its collection of military aircraft and helicopters on display at Atwater.
Castle Air Museum general manager Joe Pruzzo said the Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and a Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired in Hawaii.
The Cobra was used by the Marine Corps in the Battle of Khafji during Operation Desert Storm. The Seahawk was a Navy helicopter that flew missions in Somalia.
Both additions “are really important to us,” Pruzzo said, as they are pieces of modern fighting history to educate today’s youth and future generations.
He said the plane brought a whole new dimension to the museum. “The fact that we’re building the rotary wing or helicopter section of the museum to have its own exhibit representing the four or flying services of this nation is huge,” Pruzzo said.
Around 50,000 people visit the Castle Air Museum each year, with around 30% of visitors coming from abroad, according to Pruzzo.
“It’s all the money and dollars spent here in Merced County. And that puts Merced County – not just the museum, but Merced County – on the world map for aviation enthusiasts that Castle Air Museum has the best selection of military aircraft on the west coast and it’s here , in our backyard,” Pruzzo said.
Although the aircraft may require exterior painting and touch-ups, it arrived in Merced County with interiors ready to show off.
The next Open Cockpit Day is scheduled for May 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the Castle Air Museum website.
This story was originally published February 20, 2022 12:41 p.m.