at the albuquerque international sunport
Beginning with the first display case in 1965, the Cavalcade of Wings airplane model display has grown into a popular aviation museum with over 900 scale aircraft models and a multitude of aviation artifacts. Located in the Albuquerque Sunport’s Great Hall, the display of this historic collection is one of, if not the largest to be found at an airport in the United States.
The collection has gone from one display case with 25 airplane models to a collection that represents almost all commercial, military, government, and private aircraft that have directly contributed to New Mexico’s aviation history. Each aircraft model is crafted to look like the actual plane to land in Albuquerque and in most cases is documented with a photograph of the plane sitting here on the ground. The collection includes all commercial airlines from the first TAT and Western Air Express to every airline currently servicing the Sunport. Most of the commercial aircraft models were donated by the actual airline when they serviced Albuquerque.
The military aircraft models were mostly built and donated by members of the Albuquerque Scale Modelers club over the years and include aircraft for the US Air Force and the US Navy that were assigned to adjacent Kirtland Air Force Base. The large contingent of Navy planes assigned to Kirtland for testing over several decades became affectionately known as the “Rio Grande Navy”.
The model and aviation artifact collections and the display cases are managed and maintained by the all-volunteer Board of Directors and Committee members. The Board is also charted to maintain records on all ongoing aviation history for the City of Albuquerque, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the State of New Mexico and continues to capture aviation history, and when possible, add more models and artifacts to the collection.