Discover the only museum dedicated to WWII aircraft and D-DAY air operations.
The D-Day landings took place on the ground, but with major air support. Between June 5 and 6, 1944, no fewer than 11,000 Allied aircraft criss-crossed the skies between England and Normandy.
A few kilometers from the D-Day landing beaches, the D-Day Wings Museum is entirely dedicated to aeronautics.
It offers the chance to climb aboard authentic warplane cockpits… a childhood dream come true!
In other museums, collectors’ items must not be touched.
But here, with a special admission ticket, it’s possible!
Indeed, the museum’s founder, aviation enthusiast Philippe Bonneau, came up with an idea to make the visit immersive:
Here, with the full experience package, you put yourself in the pilot’s seat aboard a Spitfire, a C-45, an anti-aircraft gun and a B-17 turret.
Rates: €29 adults, €25 children.
Sitting behind the dashboard, the aim is not, of course, to play war, but to try and feel what the pilots experienced at the controls of their machines on D-DAY.
A museum set up in a hangar at the former Caen-Carpiquet air base
Aeronautical parts and aircraft are displayed in a historic hangar, itself a collector’s item.
Located in the Koenig district of Bretteville-sur-Odon, this former French army air base was soon occupied by the Germans.
Look up at the ceiling and you’ll see the traces of shell holes, the stigmata of the fighting in the summer of 1944.
At Carpiquet, from June 1940 to 1941, the Lutwaffe (the German army’s air wing) assembled its Stukas bombers for the Battle of Britain.
A third of them passed through this hangar.
On D-Day, this base was a priority target for Allied soldiers. But the hangar would not be liberated until July 9, 1944 by the Canadians, who had landed just over a month earlier on Juno Beach.
Did you know?
Some of the aircraft on display here have been used in films. Like the twin-engine Beechcraft featured in the film De Gaulle (2020) starring Lambert Wilson. There are also wrecks, such as the mythical P-38, the plane flown by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
All the pieces presented here have a history.
The team of guides will tell you all about it with passion.
At the controls of the joysticks, a unique, immersive experience
The full experience offers aircraft enthusiasts the chance to take the controls of a Spitfire, the B-17 Turret, the C-45 and the anti-aircraft gun.
A museum guide will accompany you to give you valuable information on how each device works.
We’ve tested it for you!
Pierre aboard the Spitfire…
Wearing a flight jacket just like a real pilot of the era, climb into the cockpit of a Spitfire, the iconic British fighter jet.
Easy to handle, very fast and capable of tight turns, the Spitfires gave the Germans a hard time.
It was on this plane that the brave British pilots of the Royal Air Force saved England from the threat of an enemy landing.
Winston Churchill, in a speech in 1940, congratulated the RAF pilots by saying:
« Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few »
Several women pilots have taken command of the Spitfires.
They transported aircraft from the factory to the fighting units.
Spitfire, IWM CH 7725
Mathilde in the B-17 Turret
This belly turret from an American bomber was intended for the machine-gunner soldier, the smallest member of the team.
It rotates 360° and is flanked by two 50-calibre machine-gunners.
The gunner could spend several hours in the fetal position in extreme conditions, without a parachute. It could be as cold as -30 degrees in this confined space.
It’s probably the most uncomfortable and risky part of a World War II bomber crew.
Staff Sergeant Max Armstrong cleans the spherical turret of a B-17 Flying Fortress. IWM FRE 704
Pierre operating the Bofors anti-aircraft gun…
Capable of firing 120 rounds per minute, it was a formidable artillery weapon, capable of shooting down several aircraft within its range.
Fully electrified, you can operate the unit from left to right and from bottom to top.
This 40mm automatic anti-aircraft gun was a great success in the defense of London.
Between 1943 and 1945, this gun was used on numerous British and American ships.
It is still used today.
Anti-aircraft gun, IWM H 23701, H 23704
Nancy aboard the C-45 (Beechcraft 18 for its civilian name)
So many dials and levers to handle!
The guide explains what’s in front of me: 2 intake pressure levers, 2 propeller pitch levers, then another for the oil coolers. There’s a landing gear retraction control, and here are the fuel tank selectors… how technical!Nancy
It was on this mythical aircraft, with its 15-meter wingspan and 11-meter length, that American aviator-bombers trained.
All pilots who have dropped parachutists have practiced on this type of aircraft.
The aircraft were also assigned other tasks, such as light cargo transport, reconnaissance and aerial photography.
After the war, the plane was used as a private jet.
The C-45 flew in the US air force until 1975.
The latest one… the mirage V
Enjoy another unique experience as you climb aboard this Mirage 5. The ultimate reconnaissance aircraft of its time, used by the Belgian army until 1994.
Highly coveted for its multi-role profile, this aircraft will be exported to two different nations.
Today, the museum is proud to present this model in perfect condition, a true jewel of French aeronautics.
You too can try the full experience!I want to know more
The museum does not limit itself to these few collector’s items. It also features a Focke Wulf, a German fighter-bomber, and a C-47 which was used to drop paratroopers at Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
Please note: to board the cockpits or the B-17 turret, you may be asked to state your height and weight. Some experiences are reserved for children over 7.
The museum also features models of tanks and aircraft, and an American barrage balloon.
The only American barrage balloon still flying and visible in the world
The tour also includes a defense system built by the Firestone company in 1943.
This balloon is one of only three remaining American barrage balloons known in the world today.
As the other two are not presented to the public by the American museums that own them, the D-Day Wings Museum displays an absolutely unique piece.
Looking like an airship, the 10-meter-long balloon, 50 meters above the ground, was connected to the deck of a ship by a cable.
This prevented enemy fighters from attacking the barges at low altitude. This forest of cables forced German aviators to gain altitude, where they became more vulnerable.
These barrage balloons appear in numerous photos taken just after the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.
IWM B 5151, B5140
In poor condition, this authentic piece needs to be repaired. The museum team has launched an online fundraising campaign to finance its renovation.
Temporary exhibition on 1st floor
The exhibition traces the evolution of flight jackets from the 1930s (notably by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) to the one worn by astronaut Thomas Pesquet, with a nod to the one worn by actor Tom Cruise in the film Top Gun.