Aeroseums Blog

Aviation history, one article at a time.

Air Mobility Command Museum

When you go to school to be an Archivist or Historian, one of the lessons taught is focus when planning an exhibit—or even a Museum.  I like a museum that has a purpose that tries to show a time, a mission and more.   The Pax River Museum is a good example.  Another is 134 miles north, about a two hours drive from Pax River. The Air Mobility Command Museum is located adjacent to Dover Air Force Base.

The AMC Museum is charged with showing the history of the United States’ Air Force’s ability to project men, material, and supplies across the globe.  It has a very complete collection of the aircraft that have transported everything from food stuffs to presidents. Read More…

The challenges ahead

This past year has shown the challenges faced by aviation museums with the future of two facilities in doubt. The Canadian Air and Space Museum and National Aviation Theme Park Aviodrome in Lelystad, Netherlands are both facing permanent closure.

I personally have been to the Aviodrome in Lelystad back in 2003, this facility was large and had an amazing collection including one of the last air worthy DC-2s in the world as well as a Replica of the old Schiphol terminal building from late 1920s. Like many non-profits they are seemingly facing hard times with creditors.  The only information I currently have is that they could not come to terms and are temporarily closed to the public and are filing for bankruptcy as of Dec 25th. There is a group that according to the Dutch paper DePres.nl are looking to raise funds to pay off the debt before the February deadline where the aircraft and collection could go up for auction. A news broadcast in Dutch gives a short tour and talks about their problems.  The concept of the Aviodrome closing is crushing to me, such an amazing facility and collection. This would be the equivalent of the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum closing here in the states.

The Canadian Air and Space Museum has been far more vocal about their current location and financial problems. They have a petition up on the web with over 8700 signatures, local and national politicians fighting for them and a tremendous amount of effort being spent on traditional and social medias. Currently they are fighting to save the building that they are in and prevent the required move. The museum is located in de Havilland factory building #1, and the Parc Downsview Park’s is planning on leveling the building (other then apparently “hundreds of feet” of the facade) and constructing indoor hockey rinks.  Even with that there are of course funding issues if they have to move.

There is always hope and where some struggle others seem to flourish. There is the recent news of McAllister Museum of Aviation getting a large donation to start expansion. Texas A&M getting the Space Shuttle motion simulator and plans to keep it operational and open to the public. And most exciting the new Liberty Aviation Museum being built at the Erie-Ottawa Airport in Port Clinton Ohio, finally bring a permanent location to their centerpiece B-25.

As members of the greater aviation community we have to stand up and help these and other facilities that speak to us. Join the local museums, heritage centers, or historical societies, attend their fundraising activities, and promote them through your social circles. We cannot take it for granted that these places will always be here. With in the last few years I renewed my EAA member ship but this time as a Life Member and joined the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame also as a life member. I encourage you to in this coming year pick at least one organization that has a mission to preserve history and support them in some way and if you know of any other aviation organization doing good but struggling for their future please leave a comment below and tell us about them.

Thank you,

Sam

EAA AirVenture Museum

Aviat Eagle II

EAA AirVenture Museum

The EAA AirVenture Museum is a multi fasted with its primary focus on general aviation, with World War Two, air racing and acrobatics also having prominent places. The museum is broken into three prominent areas: The general museum containing the majority of their aircraft, Eagle Hanger containing World War Two exhibits, and Pioneer Airport a 1930’s vintage airport.

Located in Oshkosh WI the EAA AirVenture Museum becomes a focal point of AirVenture, the world’s largest aviation event. Pioneer Airport, open spring to fall, offers airplane ride in vintage aircraft including a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, 1929 Travel Air, Bell 47 Helicopter and a 1927 Swallow.

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Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Located outside of Gate 1 of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station is the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.  This is one museum that is going to have to be a trip all by itself—though what you get is worth the effort.  Pax River is the home of most of the U.S. Navy’s testing.  As such, the museum is a bit remote. Read More…

Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

Located just west of the main entrance for Kennedy Space Center, the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum (VAC) is in its self a hidden gem. The museum is not located right next to the 405 but just a short half-mile drive through the trees on Tico Road. VAC is located on the ground of Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX) where you can taxi right up to the Warbird Ramp making for a fun flying destination.

As you can guess from the name of the museum, the focus is on warbirds, in fact they only have one non-warbird in their collection, a Stuart 51. The VAC has an impressive collection of US Navy aircraft including an F-14 Tomcat, F-18 Hornet, F-8 Crusader, and A-6 Intruder.

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Veterans Day

Remembrance Poppy

On this Veterans Day, Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day we want to thank each and every one of you who have served with your country’s armed forces. I had three grandparents in World War Two, my father’s farther was a instrument flight instructor for B-25 Mitchel bombers in the US Army Air Corp, my father’s mother was in the Women’s Army Air Corps as an air traffic controller, and my mother’s father was a training instructor for African American troops learning to be clerical aids for officers, company clerks, and similar rolls. While none of them saw a combat theater all played an important roll in making sure the war machine was well prepared. My farther service in the US Army as a journalist in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star.

So today on this cold and blustery Veterans Day I give thanks not only to those who have lost their lives in combat but also those men and women behind the scene who gave it everything they had.

Things you can do today: Read More…

Being a present at history, again.

In the last blog post I talked about being present at history, and how it was a wonderful experience. This blog post is about the other side of being at a historical event. Aeroseums was present and working with OnBoard Images part of a video crew at National Championship Air Races, more commonly known as the Reno Air Races. As you may know, the event ended early do to tragedy. Jimmy Leeward lost control of his aircraft resulting it in crashing just short of the VIP boxes resulting in the death of 11 and injuring over 60, many seriously.

Being present at history is not always a glamorous thing; in this case I am still haunted by the sights and sounds of that day, and I was over 1000ft away. This day broke the amazing safety record of zero spectators being hurt by a race aircraft in Reno Air Racing Association history of 47 prior years. What was lost was innocence. We are reminded that even attending what seems like a safe event can have risks. We don’t think of going to a baseball game as being dangerous, yet there are dozens of injuries a year at games from foul balls and bats. Attending any event has risks, even an aviation event. Does this mean we need to clamp down on these events? Personally I don’t think so, We just need to remember that there are risks. Does it mean nothing should be done? No. We should look at ways to lessen the chance of this happening again, but we need to know that already driving to an event such as this has higher risk then being there.

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Being Present at History

On a cool dark night the Aeroseums team gathered along with 40+ other lucky invites to witness history, the final touchdown of a Space Shuttle. We had been selected as part of NASA PR’s new program called a NASA TweetUp. This event selected 50 people randomly from applications submitted over the social networking service Twitter. The people selected where from all walks of life; educators, IT, bloggers, engineers, and so on. We all shared one thing in common, an excitement about space.

After a long set of flights from Appleton (KATW) to Orlando (KMCO) then a drive to the space coast we hit out hotel only long enough for a short nap and get the electronics ready. Next up was short drive to the PR office at Kennedy Space Center, a long wait hanging out with some cool space junkies and the bus ride out to the landing site. All in all about 3 hours of waiting and constantly thinking and reminiscing about the Space Shuttle program then knowing that very shortly we would be present at a moment in history.

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The Mecca of Aviation – AirVenture

Here is a word play game for you. Ask a pilot to respond to the word “Oshkosh” and see what happens. More likely then not they will come back with an answer that you can physically see, a smile, then a fond whimsical look on their face and only then will they say something. Oshkosh, or officially AirVenture, is an event that takes place every late July run by the Experimental Aircraft Association on the grounds surrounding Whitman Regional Airport (KOSH.) Every year the event attracts over 10,000 airplanes and hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Then you should dig a bit deeper and you will find a few key reasons people keep coming back, here are my reasons.

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Community Support

The aviation community is something that I have gotten to know well over the past years volunteering at EAA AirVenture and working on my pilot license. Every aviation event and museum I have attended I have come away a richer individual. The community is full of people who are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate people I have run into and they are just love spreading the joy of aviation. Aeroseums comes in as a place to show you the work of the passionate people who care for our aviation museums. Without community support these museums would fade away. Everyday thousands of volunteers work in the hundreds of aviation museums around the world trying to keep history alive. From telling stories of yesteryear, turning a wrench, wiring up an exhibit, to organizing a fund drive community is what makes these places tick. Be it a large museum with hundreds of paid employees or the small museum with two or three, they all rely on a community of volunteers and evangelists to keep the lights on and the doors open. Read More…