HRH Duke of Kent Tours Facility as Guest of Gen. William Lyon

SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 9, 2011—Lyon Air Museum, a premier Southern California showcase for vintage military aircraft and automobiles, played host on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, to Prince Edward, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent. The English royal family member traveled to the U.S. with key people from the American Air Museum in Britain as part of a fundraising trip.

Prince Edward, 76, who carries out royal duties on behalf of his first cousin Queen Elizabeth II, flew into John Wayne Airport aboard a private charter jet and spent a few hours touring the facility as the guest of Lyon Air Museum’s founder, Maj. Gen. William Lyon, USAF (Ret), who serves as the U.S. chairman of the board of trustees of the American Air Museum in Britain.

Through his comments, the Duke of Kent gave his hosts the impression that Lyon Air Museum was one of the highlights of his visit to the U.S. due to the facility’s unmatched offerings and its uniqueness among vintage aircraft museums worldwide. Following the brief tour, Prince Edward and his entourage joined Gen. Lyon and his family, as well as Lyon Air Museum President Mark Foster and others, for dinner at the Lyon estate in Coto de Caza.

Prince Edward is a patron of the American Air Museum in Britain, which stands as a memorial to the 30,000 American airmen who gave their lives flying from UK bases during the Second World War, and also honors those who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq and other conflicts and battles of the 20th and 21st centuries. Accompanying Prince Edward were Richard Ashton, director and executive vice president at the American Air Museum and Imperial War Museums (IWM) Duxford, Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, chairman of the American Air Museum board of trustees, and Maj. Gen. James Eugene McInerney Jr., USAF (Ret), a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars and America’s most highly decorated pilot.

The group is in the U.S. as part of a fundraising tour for the American Air Museum in Britain’s “Honor & Educate Campaign.” The campaign is designed to improve the physical museum, create a virtual “museum without walls” on the Web, and develop learning programs to bring stories of sacrifice and courage to current and future generations.

“We greatly enjoyed our visit from Prince Edward and we’re looking forward to sharing the Museum with our Southern California neighbors this Saturday as we celebrate two years of operation at this great location,” said Mark Foster, president of Lyon Air Museum.

Now the general public can see what Prince Edward saw when Lyon Air Museum celebrates its second anniversary on Sat., Dec. 10, 2011. Santa Claus will be onsite, as visitors are invited to tour the interior of the Douglas C-47 military transport aircraft “Willa Dean” and watch as it takes flight for a crowd-pleasing flyover. Additionally, the Museum is requesting that all visitors bring an unwrapped NEW toy of at least $10.00 in value for “Toys for Tots” Holidays gift-giving program.

Lyon Air Museum, which is located on the west side of the runway at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, opens at 10 a.m. Santa will be available for pictures with children from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (bring your own camera). Then (weather permitting), as part of the Museum’s ongoing “History Takes Flight” program, the “Willa Dean” – a gem among the Museum’s aircraft collection – will take off at 2 p.m.

During World War II, the C-47 was the primary aircraft used on D-Day (June 6, 1944). Additionally, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded.

The 30,000-sq.ft. Lyon Air Museum opened in Dec. 2009. The facility represents the fulfillment of a dream of Gen. Lyon, who held the position of Chief of the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1975 to 1979. Currently, Gen. Lyon is Chairman of the Board and CEO of William Lyon Homes, Inc., Newport Beach, Calif. His passion for aviation history and youth education is the driving force behind Lyon Air Museum. In establishing the museum, Gen. Lyon sought to create a world-class facility that would be available to the local community and would offer educational displays to inspire young people. The museum has on exhibit some of the world’s rarest operational aircraft and vehicles.

Lyon Air Museum is located at 19300 Ike Jones Road, Santa Ana, CA 92707. P: 714/210-4585. F: 714/210-4588. Email: Web:

Hours of operation are daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission rates: General admission–$12; Seniors and Veterans–$9; Ages 5-17–$6; Under age 5—Free. Groups of 10 or more–$1 off each visitor. Pre-arranged school groups—Free.

Media Contact:
Ned Madden
Rodheim Marketing Group