New England Air Museum

BDL: 5 Things We Love About Bradley International Airport

Our “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we land at Bradley International Airport (BDL), in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, about 15 miles from Hartford. BDL is New England’s second largest airport and has a great tagline: Love the Journey

5 Things We Love About Bradley International Airport (BDL)

1. Rocking chairs at Bradley Int’l Airport

Rocking chairs scattered throughout the terminal are decorated by area high school students to showcase a school, town or region.

2. Art & exhibits highlighting area attractions

Two art pieces from the Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA (20 miles away) are displayed at Bradley International Airport. Travelers will also find two scale Lego models showcasing Connecticut’s iconic Mark Twain House and Museum as well as the Goodspeed Opera House.

3. Souvenir shopping at Bradley International Airport

You will find plenty of fun souvenirs in the BLD shops, including lobster lollipops and other items reflecting of the region to university themed apparel, such as clothing and memorabilia from Yale University and UConn, the University of Connecticut.

4. Therapy dogs at BDL

To help passengers “Love the Journey,” BDL airport partners with Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, Inc. for its therapy dog program.

5. The New England Air Museum at BDL

The 90,000-square-foot New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in the region and it is located right next to Bradley International Airport.

The collection includes more than 100 aircraft ranging from early flying machines to supersonic jets. More than half of the aircraft are on display in three large exhibit hangars and in an outdoor display area.

The museum has a large assortment of engines, artifacts and historical exhibits, including this wicker balloon basket from the 1870s built and flown by Plymouth, Connecticut native and aeronaut Silas Brooks that is believed to be the oldest surviving American-built aircraft.

Bonus: Sheraton Hotel at BDL Airport

The Sheraton Hartford Hotel is located in the terminal at Bradley International Airport. AvGeek alert: in addition to an indoor pool, the hotel has many rooms offering great views of the runway.

Did we miss one of your favorites amenities at Bradley International Airport (BDL)? Is there an airport you’d like to see featured in the “5 Things We Love About...” series on Stuck at The Airport? If so, please leave a note in the comments section below.

Museum Monday: New England Air Museum

I’ve been getting a lot of guff from aviation museum fans upset that I didn’t include their favorite museum in my recent column – Aviation and space museums that soar.

Airplanes in museum

I was asking for it.  There are close to 600 aviation and space museums in the country. And with room in the column for just six “top” places, I was sure to disappoint many readers. But now that I’ve read the comments and learned about the cool stuff at so many other aviation-related museums, I’ve decided to add Museum Monday to the line-up here at

To kick things off, I’ve chosen the New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport in Windsor, CT.

Bradley is the airport where about 300 Virgin Atlantic passengers recently spent more than four hours stuck on an airplane when their Newark-bound flight was diverted and I’m sure they would have been much happier if they’d been hanging around this museum instead.

The New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in New England and has more than 125 aircraft and a huge collection of engines, instruments, aircraft parts, uniforms and personal memorabilia.

A few highlights in the collection include:

The last remaining four-engine American flying boat, the Sikorsky VS-44A, which was donated to the museum by  actress Maureen O’Hara and restored to its original condition;

A B-29 Bomber;

The Bunce-Curtiss Pusher (1912), the oldest surviving Connecticut-built airplane;

And a Kaman K-225 helicopter, the oldest surviving Kaman-built aircraft.

In addition to the artifacts and aircraft on display, the museum has Open Cockpit days, a flight simulator, special events and theme weeks throughout the summer. For example, the week of July 5th is Discover Blimps and Balloons Week.

There’s also a speaker program: this past weekend Sergei N. Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev (Prime Minister of the Soviet Union from 1957-1964) gave a lecture about the Cuban Missile Crisis, as viewed from the Kremlin.

Have a favorite aviation or space museum you’d like to see featured on Museum Monday?

Please nominate it in the comments section below. If you have photos to share, all the better!

(New England Air Museum aircraft photos used in this post courtesy Cliff1066 via Flickr Creative Commons. He’s got dozens of other great photos from the museum on his Photostream as well. )