Museum Monday: Kansas Aviation Museum

There are close to 700 aviation/space-related museums in the country.

Each Monday on StuckatTheAirport.com we profile one of them.

Eventually we’ll hit them all.

Today: The Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, Kansas

The museum is near the McConnell Air Force Base and is housed in the art deco-style building that served as Wichita’s municipal airport during the 1930s and 40s. Among the museum’s collection of about 40 airplanes is this Beech Starship,

and a B-52 bomber, a refueling tanker, and this 1927 Laird Swallow, which crashed in 1929, was put into storage for decades and then restored by museum volunteers.

Another charmer?  The Pretty Praire Special III, designed and built by Marion Unruh. According the museum website, this is the third in a series of airplanes named after Unruh’s hometown of Pretty Prairie, Kansas. Unruh designed the plane in 1951 but it wasn’t completed until 1957.

“It rolled, looped and could snap with the best acrobatic planes of the day.”

In addition to the airplane collection, the Kansas Aviation Museum has a wide variety of airplane engines on display and offers opportunities for volunteers to help with airplane restoration projects.

Do you have a favorite aviation-related museum you’d like others to know about? Tell us why you like it and it may be featured on a future edition of Museum Monday here at StuckatTheAirport.com.

13 million cranberries, Dusseldorf Airport’s Ski jump, and Amelia Earhart

This weekend would be a good time to have as my superpower the ability to travel anywhere in the world and be in several places at once.

If I could, I’d stop first in Richmond, British Columbia, a short SkyTrain ride away from the Vancouver International Airport to watch 13 million (!!) locally-grown cranberries get dumped into the Fraser River in front of the Richmond Olympic Oval to form a  giant floating version of the maple leaf, rings and flame that make up the Canadian Olympic Committee logo.

Then I’d head over to the Dusseldorf International Airport to see if they finished trucking in enough snow (and turned the temperature down low enough) to make the world’s first indoor ski jump in an airport.   When they sent this photo, they were just waiting for the snow to arrive.

It would be fun, too, to stop at New York’s Albany International Airport (ALB), where the newest art show, Material Witness, is now underway.

And it might be interesting to touch down in Wichita, Kansas.  The Wichita Art Museum is one of the 100 or so museums around the country where Bank of America account holders can get free admission this weekend as part of the Museums on Us program.  And look what the Wichita Art Museum is using to promote an exhibition of works of paper.

(Robert Cottingham, Wichita (1985)

But, alas, the ability to be everywhere at once is not my super power.

So instead, I’ll stick close to home this weekend and pay a visit to the Museum of Flight, just up the road from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where there’s an exhibit titled  In Search of Amelia Earhart.

This exhibit includes many of Earhart’s personal artifacts,  including a suede jacket she wore on her 1932 solo transatlantic flight, two flight suits, a helmet,  a scarf,  newsreel footage and photos.

Amelia Earhart and her Lockheed L-10E Electra NR 16020 c. 1937. | The Museum of Flight