Slideshow CK


MailwingFor the last decade the volunteer-run Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association has worked meticulously to preserve, re-store and display dozens of regionally significant small and medium-sized aircraft . inside and outside its 4,800-square-foot Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

A museum curator, volunteer docents, a skilled aircraft restoration team and the DVHAA board of directors work to share the history of regional aviation and, in particular, that of the museum's namesake, Harold F. Pitcairn. The late aviator had lived in nearby Bryn Athyn and operated an airfield adjacent to the existing museum in the 1930s until 1942 when the federal government assumed rights to the land for use in developing the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove.

Many view Pitcairn as the forefather of rotary wing aircraft. In 2012, the museum was bestowed with its crowning jewel, a striking black-and-yellow 1931 PA-8 Pitcairn Mailwing (photo inset). Only one other Mailwing of this model remains.

Realizing the importance of the history within its walls, the museum is a frequent stop annually for thousands of Boy and Girl Scouts, children on educational field trips, lovers of aviation and local and out-of-state visitors curious about the final flights that found a home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.