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 will bring a new dimension to the whole museum. “The fact that we’re building the rotary wing or helicopter section of the museum to have its own display representing the four or so 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.

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter
Restoration work takes place on a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. According to the Castle Air Museum’s general manager, Joe Pruzzo, both the Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired in Hawaii in 2021. Once ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (2)
The cockpit of a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum CEO Joe Pruzzo, the Bell AH-1W Cobra An attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (3)
An SH-60B Seahawk helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Castle Air Museum Chief Executive Director Joe Pruzzo, the museum acquired one from Bell AH -1W Cobra attack helicopter and Hawaii’s SH-60B Seahawk helicopter in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Air Castle Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (4)
US Air Force veteran Marcelo Paz, 69, of Chowchilla, works on a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday 12 January 2022. According to Castle Air Museum Chief Executive Director Joe Pruzzo, the Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired in Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (5)
Work takes place on a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter, right, and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, left, inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday January 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum General Manager Joe Pruzzo, both helicopters were acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (6)
A Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum General Manager Joe Pruzzo, the helicopter d Bell AH-1W Cobra attack and SH-60B Seahawk helicopter was acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft . Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter(2)
United States Air Force veterans Marcelo Paz, 69, of Chowchilla, left, and John Hogrefe, 71, of Modesto, right, inspect a handle on a Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter inside Castle of Air Museum restoration hangar in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Castle Air Museum Chief Executive Director Joe Pruzzo, both a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Air Castle Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter (7)
An SH-60B Seahawk helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Castle Air Museum Chief Executive Director Joe Pruzzo, the museum acquired one from Bell AH -1W Cobra attack helicopter and Hawaii’s SH-60B Seahawk helicopter in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Air Castle Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHélico(2) (2)
The cockpit of an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum CEO Joe Pruzzo, the museum acquired a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and SH-60B Seahawk helicopter from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of others vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHélico(2) (3)
A Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum General Manager Joe Pruzzo, the helicopter d Bell AH-1W Cobra attack and SH-60B Seahawk helicopter was acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft . Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHélico(2) (4)
U.S. Air Force veteran Marcelo Paz, 69, of Chowchilla, right, works on a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter while fellow Air Force veteran John Hogrefe, 71, of Modesto, left, and John de Jong, 80, of Modesto, rear, attend and look inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to the general manager of the Castle Air Museum, Joe Pruzzo, Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired in Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHélico(2) (5)
United States Air Force veteran John Hogrefe, 71, of Modesto, left, inspects a handle on a Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter while fellow Army veteran of air John de Jong, 80, of Modesto, right, looks inside the restoration of the Castle Air Museum hangar in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to the Castle Air Museum’s general manager, Joe Pruzzo, the Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter and an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter were acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum along with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

MER_AKCastleAirMuseumHelicopter(3)
Work takes place on vintage helicopters inside the restoration hangar at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. According to Castle Air Museum General Manager Joe Pruzzo, the helicopter d Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter, left, and SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, right, were acquired from Hawaii in 2021. When ready, the aircraft will be displayed on the grounds of the Castle Air Museum with dozens of other vintage aircraft. Andrew Kuhn [email protected]

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