Air Force Aircraft Park is a recreational complex that features real helicopters and fighter jets as well as aviation equipment used by both armed forces of the Philippines and the United States. It is located within the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, 96 kilometers north of Manila.
The park is the perfect place to marvel at aircrafts that served the country on display and also to experience what it is like inside grounded choppers and fighter jets.
Aside from a history tour, the park also offers shaded areas for visitors to have picnic or nap. Its wide space with play area is also perfect for kids to run and have some fun.
One of the aircrafts featured at the Air Force Aircraft Park is the UH-1H “Iroquois.” Also called as “HUEY,” the helicopters were used during the Vietnam War by American troops. The US government gave the Philippine Air Force as total of 75 HUEYs, with the first one delivered in 1969. Because of HUEYs rugged design and low maintainability, some of these choppers are still being used for tactical troop transport, frontline casualty evacuation, resupply and troop extraction.
Also on display at the open field is the Vought F8 Crusader. These aircrafts arrived in the Philippines in 1978 and were used by the 5th Fighter Wing in Basa Air Base in Pampanga for surveillance, air defense and reconnaissance missions. F8s intercepted Soviet bombers, which flew over the country’s northwestern area. This carrier-based fighter boasts of variable-incidence wings, all-weather radar, auto-pilot and sophisticated weapons delivery system.
F5a Jet is a needle-nosed jet popularly called “Freedom Fighter.” Since these jets were acquired in 1965, they have been used extensively to patrol areas claimed by the Philippines in the disputed Spratlys Islands and Scarborough Shoal. They were also used by the PAF aerobatics team “Blue Diamonds” in aerial demonstrations.
One T-28 Trojan found its home at the Air Force Aircraft Park. These aircrafts were acquired in 1960 and were used in counter-insurgency operations. They were colloquially called “Tora-Tora” because they resemble the Japanese Zero Fighter. “Tora-Tora” became famous for being used in several coup attempts. They finally retired in 1992.
There is also an Air Power Memorial, which features the T-33 or the “Thunder Bird” marker. T-33 was the first aircraft of the country, ushering the Philippine Air Force into the jet age. The marker was unveiled in 1998 during the anniversary of the Clark Air Base.