Nut Tree model aircraft collection

By Dave Wingate

Following my blog about the Nut Tree last month, Richard Cassina informed me that its model aircraft collection was the work of Edward Chavez (1917-2004) and most of the models were acquired by San Francisco International Airport (SFO) where they are now displayed.

SFO contains numerous art and history exhibits, collectively known as the San Francisco Airport Museums. I was at SFO recently and found ten of the Nut Tree models in Domestic Terminal 3, near baggage claim, in a corridor going to the International Terminal. Not the most prominent location but at least it’s before the security screening.

Most of these static display models are 1:10 or 1:12 scale with wing spans in the range of 60” to 85”. They are as beautiful now as when they were built in the 1960s and 70s. The exhibit includes aircraft documentation and a biography of the builder. It turns out Chavez was an accordion maker. Why am I not surprised?

Boeing P-26A

Northrop Gamma 2A Sky Chief

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago

Curtiss Condor AT-32-B

A pair of Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny"s

Lockheed Model 8 Sirius Tingmissartoq

Granville (Gee Bee) Model R-1 Super Sportster

Beech Bonanza 35

Fokker T-2 (F.IV)


JetAviator7 said...

I love the Gee Bee model and the photography is really good. I have been encouraging my grand kids to get into model airplanes by having them learn to fly a rubber band powered Wright Flyer. Learning a little history while figuring out aerodynamics.

Dave W said...

If you are ever at SFO with an hour to spare, go and find these models. They look better in person!

As a child, seeing these models (and a lot of other aviation related stuff) at the Nut Tree sparked my interested in model aviation.

I'm glad that you're encouraging your grand kids to build rubber powered planes. Maybe someday they'll be flying jets, too.