Bravo Zulu: My Search to Save Classic Warbirds

by Jerry Yagen

Bravo Zulu: My Search to Save Classic Warbirds Front Cover

“To the Yagen family, their passionate staff, dedicated volunteers, and pilots, I say, Bravo Zulu!”—Timothy J. Keating, Admiral, USN Ret.

Established from the largest private collection of vintage warplanes in the US, the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, is a time capsule of aviation in the 20th century with an emphasis on World War II. Bravo Zulu is an account of this brainchild of celebrated collector Jerry Yagen and his wife Elaine. These pages recall some of the most exciting war stories ever told and some of the most famous airplanes of all time—from Replica Fokker Dr. I triplanes built to resemble those flown by the Red Baron to painstakingly restored original combat veteran aircraft like the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Supermarine Spitfire the collection includes many of the most iconic historic aircraft.

Bravo Zulu was created to bring the stories that surround this incredible collection to life, beautifully illustrated with images of the Museum aircraft in flight, this book is the perfect way to experience the collection if you cannot visit the museum. Bravo Zulu recalls the tales of the tireless searches for and restorations of each remarkable plane, which the Yagens dedicated themselves to collecting and sharing with the world.

What people say about it

In the twenty years I’ve known Jerry, he always enjoyed acquiring some new treasure. Bravo Zulu shows the zest and knowledge he has about historic aircraft. Even through the most-trying times, his sense of purpose and good humor remained. I am glad he has put some of the stories I heard in person down on paper.

—R.R. “Boom” Powell, warbird pilot, historian, and author of Wave Off! and Vigilante! 

Bravo Zulu: My Search to Save Classic Warbirds is a once-in-a-lifetime book about author and collector Jerry Yagen’s quest to find, restore, and fly the world’s most historic airplanes. Along the way, Jerry founded the Military Aviation Museum to share these treasures with the community. As one of the pilots flying these historic airplanes, I can say without a doubt, this is a must-read book.

—John “Pappy” Mazza, warbird pilot, former chairman of Virginia State Aviation Board and inductee, Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame 

About the Author

Jerry Yagen

Gerald “Jerry” Yagen, founder of Military Aviation Museum, was born in Hamburg, Germany, just a few months after the end of WWII. As the son of an American Army Air Corp commander, he spent much of his childhood on airbases and traveling to other countries. He continued to travel as an adult, often piloting himself and his family in one of his collected planes. Jerry logged more than 4,800 hours in twenty-one different aircraft before retiring from active flying in early 2021.

Jerry’s passion for aircraft collection and restoration exploded thirty years ago when he purchased a crashed P-40 Kitty Hawk that had been discovered in northern Russia. He had it shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, and later to New Zealand for restoration. That P-40, a fully restored award-winning, airworthy war plane, is kept in one of seven hangars in rural Virginia Beach, with over eighty other planes and projects, comprising a world-class collection of historic artifacts in the Military Aviation Museum.

Jerry is also founder and president of Aviation Institute of Maintenance and Centura College, which operates more than twenty colleges across the US. He was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in Richmond, Virginia, in 2014. Jerry and his wife Elaine have lived in Virginia Beach for more than fifty years, raising two children (both married), and enjoying four grandchildren.

Jerry Yagen