Up-Close Aircraft Day

Saturday, December 8th


The "Val" Dive-bomber


March Field Air Museum is proud to announce the fith installment of  “Up-Close Aircraft Days”

on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the upcoming “Up-Close Aircraft Day” guests will see the museum’s very special BT-13A Valiant. Equipped with extended wingtips, simulated dive brakes, landing gear fairings and a reshaped vertical stabilizer, the museum’s BT-13A was modified and painted to depict an Imperial Japanese Navy Type 99 Aichi D-3A1 "Val" dive-bomber for the 1970, Academy Award winning film, “Tora, Tora, Tora. 


“Val’s” carry the distinction of dropping the first bomb of the December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as the record for sinking more Allied ships than any other Axis aircraft during the Second World War. 


In its original configuration, our movie star “Val” began its life in 1941 as a USAAF BT-13A training aircraft constructed by Vultee Aircraft Inc.  It’s original design combined a closed-cockpit, low-wing, metal monoplane with fabric control surfaces and a powerful 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp-junior radial engine with a variable-pitch propeller and flaps. The Valiant proved to be an excellent aircraft for introducing fledgling pilots to basic flight maneuvers. During the war, over 11,500 BT-13As and its variants were produced.