Drive two and a half hours West of Minneapolis, and you’ll find the town of Granite Falls, population 2,819. It seems like a lot of other small farming communities in the Midwest, but Granite Falls hides a secret. Just a little past the city center is the airport, (KGDB), an untowered, 4,300 foot runway with a small FBO and a few hangers. Inside one of those hangers, is one of the last ten flying P-38s in the world. Another contains a beautifully restored and flying B-25N called Paper Doll. A third hanger holds restoration facilities where an SB2C-5 Helldiver is slowly being returned to flying shape, and one of only five flying JN-4 Jennys left.
|The museum's Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, with their two gliders and the halftrack in the background.|
|Flight-worthy BT-13 and B-25N share hanger space with a|
non-flying BF-109 and the museum's Holocaust exhibit.
Aside from the P-38J, JN-4, and B-25N, Fagen is also home to a pair of flying P-51Ds; a P-40E and P-40K; an FM-2 Wildcat; PT-19, PT-22, PT-26, and BT-13 trainers, and an operational M4 Sherman tank. There’s a number of other military vehicles on display, and an amazing Waco CG4A Glider with one side cut-away to show how this aircraft was constructed.
If you’re close enough to make the drive, or are passing through the area on your way to somewhere, I highly recommend making plans to spend a few hours at this museum. Better still for pilots is the fly-in option. The FBO is small but comfortable, and the airport dog (because every good small airport FBO has a dog, right?) is a friendly fellow. Fly-in, grab a hundred-dollar hamburger in town, and spend the day walking among slumbering legends. Or, if you come on a better flying day than I did, maybe share the pattern with a few of them while they get some exercise.