Museum Shows Value of Aviation Education at St. Louis Area STEM Fair

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum participated in a STEM Fair, sponsored by STEMpact, at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Grand Hall today.  The display included a slide show of the museum’s on-site exhibits, airfoils from an aircraft wing and helicopter blade, cockpit instruments, and other items illustrating the use of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  The morning session was attended by STEM Leaders from area schools who visited with the exhibitors from around the St. Louis and Metro East IL areas.  The museum was well received by area educators who showed great interest in the aviation and space science fields of study.  Many opportunities were discussed for follow-up activities in the coming year.  Other organizations representing aviation and space science were Southwestern Illinois College, the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association and the Challenger Learning Center – St. Louis.

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Exhibits Provide Insight to the Region’s Aviation History

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has been providing a first-hand view of the region’s aviation history for over 30 years.  The museum, located in historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport, tells the story of aviation development in St. Louis and Metro East Illinois from the 1920s to the present using period artifacts and full-size aircraft.  The gallery features displays from McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, TWA, Ozark and other locally-owned aerospace and aviation companies.  In the hangar, there are two working Link Trainers, a restored F-4 Phantom II jet cockpit, a rare Meyers OTW biplane and other aircraft exhibits.  The museum welcomes visitors Friday through Sunday, 10am-4pm.

Museum Hosts Ranken Adventure Academy Class, Young Eagle Flights

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum hosted a class from the Ranken Adventure Academy Friday.  The students toured the museum and gained an understanding of aerospace vehicles and their construction, including a complete F-4 jet cockpit and aircraft projects under construction.  EAA Chapter 64 provided aircraft and volunteer pilots for Young Eagle Flights, ensuring that every student experienced  an interactive flight over the St. Louis area.  Thanks to EAA Chapter, Ideal Aviation and Women With Wings St. Louis for their contributions to making this a great experience for the students and all involved.

Museum Hosts Tuskegee Airmen Youth Group Tour, Young Eagle Flights

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum recently hosted a youth group participating in a week-long activity at nearby Scott AFB sponsored by the local Tuskegee Airmen chapter.  EAA Chapter 64, also located at St. Louis Downtown Airport, provided volunteer pilots for Young Eagle Flights around the St. Louis area in a variety of aircraft.  Between flights, the teens learned about St. Louis aviation and aerospace history from the museum’s docents and the exhibits and activities, including the opportunity to climb into the cockpit of a real McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet fighter.  The museum hopes to work with the Tuskegee Airmen chapter regularly in the future.  (Photos by Mark Nankivil)

Museum Announces Achievements Over 18-Month Period

GREATER ST. LOUIS AIR & SPACE MUSEUM

HIGHLIGHTS—JANUARY 2015—JUNE 2016

MISSION: SERVE the PUBLIC through PRESERVATION and DISPLAY of HISTORIC AIR & SPACE ARTIFACTS and EDUCATION PROGRAMS to FOSTER the SPIRIT of FLIGHT in TODAY’S YOUTH and in FUTURE GENERATIONS.

MAJOR AWARD—Inducted into Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame, Honored with Spirit of Flight Award, May 2016.

 RECENT CELEBRATIONS—Supported 50th Anniversary of Gemini Space Flights at Missouri Aviation Historical Society.

 COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS:

  • Co-hosted  “Young Eagle” Flights with Gateway Eagles and EAA Chapter 64 on Six Weekends.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibits to Gateway to Space Development Conference.
  • Displayed Material at Selvidge Middle School in support of STEM Program.
  • Hosted Various Visiting Groups Including United Flying Octogenarians, Central Institute for the Deaf, Army/Navy Heritage Foundation, Cahokia Chamber of Commerce, Cahokia Head Start, SAFECON Region VI, Women in Aviation, and Navigators USA.
  • Continued with Artifact Loans to Missouri History Museum and St. Louis Science Center.
  • Continued Cooperative Activities with The Aero Experience, Missouri Aviation Historical Society, Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, and Aviation Archives.
  • Established an e-Newsletter for Member/Public Distribution.
  • Teamed with SLU/Parks to Assist With Scout Merit Badges By Providing Flight Simulators.

 RESTORATION PROGRESS:

  • Major Work on Replica 1910 Demoiselle by EAA 64 and Gateway Area Ultralight Assoc.
  • Cabin Air Conditioning for the Howard Hughes Lockheed JetStar.
  • Continuing work on the Cutaway R3350 Engine.

 MAJOR ARTIFACT DONATIONS—APPROXIMATELY 130 DONORS:

  • Large Collections of Books, Photos, Slides (more than 6000).  Includes Original Material on Construction of Curtiss-Steinberg (St. Louis Downtown) Airport.
  • Original Paintings.
  • Various Aviation Patches/Stickers/Miscellany.
  • Aircraft Equipment.

 RESEARCH/DOCUMENTATION:

  • Historic/Extinct Aviation Fields of Greater St. Louis.
  • Histories of Greater St. Louis Airplane Development.
  • Digitizing Photos/Documents for On-line Access.
  • Contribute content to history of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport book project.

 ARCHIVE CATALOGING—Additional 1600 Items Cataloged Using “Past Perfect” Software Provided With Grant from Ameren Illinois.  Total Cataloged Items Now Nearly 3300.

Special thanks to Museum Curator Emeritus Jack Abercrombie for compiling this list of achievements.

 

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Receives Spirit of Flight Award, Induction Into Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame

The Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame held the 2016 Banquet and Induction Ceremonies Thursday at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s Transportation Education Center.  Among the inductees this year is the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, a recipient of the Spirit of Flight Award for the museum’s contributions to the Metro East IL and St. Louis metropolitan areas.  The museum has made many positive contributions to local and regional communities through the conservation of the area’s aviation history and the numerous educational and community events held there each year.  The museum also received the AIAA St. Louis Civic Service Award in 2013.

Criteria for the Spirit of Flight Award:

•Awarded annually to an organization that has made a substantial contribution to aviation in Illinois

•The organization’s activities must be Illinois based and continuous over a long period of time

•The organization’s member activities must be above and beyond that of normal paid employment and exhibit a high degree of excellence in their accomplishment
Significance of the Spirit of Flight Award:
Election to the Illinois Aviation Hall Of Fame is the highest honor that can be attained by people whose principal aviation activity and experience is Illinois based. It is awarded to people of good character for their excellence over a period of time. All of those selected have participated in community service, which reflects the character that earns IAHOF honors.

 

Museum Teams With EAA Chapter 64 for Young Eagle Flights

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum hosted a large group of Scouts and general public youth for Young Eagle Flights and presentations by local experts in various sectors of aviation.  The annual Youth in Aviation Day involves over 100 Scouts working on their Aviation Merit Badge and serves as a major Young Eagle Rally at St. Louis Downtown Airport.  During the day, the Scouts and airport residents were treated to a visit from a Bell 47 and a takeoff by USMC Harrier jets.  Thanks to the Scout members, museum staff, EAA Chapter 64 volunteer pilots and Ideal Aviation for making this another successful event.  (Photos by Museum President, Mark Nankivil)

Museum Hosts Cahokia, IL Head Start Classes as Part of Airport Activity

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport hosted 80 Cahokia, IL Head Start students and their teachers Tuesday, offering 3-5 year-old children the chance to explore aviation first-hand.  The children were invited to climb into a Link trainer cab, F-4 Phantom II cockpit and the museum’s Lockheed Jetstar executive jet that was once owned by Howard Hughes.  The children also sat in a PC-12 medical transport “KidsFlight 3″ and a Cessna 172 from west ramp FBO Ideal Aviation.  The airport Fire Department brought their impressive Panther fire truck, always a hit with young and old alike.  The airport will host another 80 children Thursday.

The museum welcomes group visits, though prior arrangements are necessary.  Special thanks to Firefighter Terry Bowman for arranging and coordinating the visits this week.  Photos by museum President, Mark Nankivil.

Museum Demoiselle Restoration Begins with Help From EAA Chapter 64 and Ultralight Club

The restoration of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum’s Demoiselle reproduction has begun anew with help from members of EAA Chapter 64 and the Gateway Area Ultralight Association (GAUA).  The bamboo and steel tube aircraft, designed by Alberto Santos-Dumont as his model 20 in 1908, featured a 30hp opposed V-engine and was flown in exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. in 1909-1910.  About 50 were produced and more were constructed by individuals using plans.  It was also sold in kit form by St. Louis aircraft maker Tom Benoist in 1910.

The museum’s aircraft, a flying replica made in 1970 by Mr. John Mirka from plans he found in a 1910 edition of Popular Mechanics, flew once just a few feet off the ground.  The aircraft was donated to the museum when it was called the St. Louis Aviation Museum and based at Creve Coeur Airport in St. Louis County.  Since then it has been on display at various times and has been in storage for years awaiting restoration.

A group of mechanically-inclined volunteers has formed to restore the Demoiselle replica for non-flying display at the museum.  The group is led by Travis Roberts, EAA 64 member, ultralight pilot and GAUA President.  Roberts and museum and EAA 64 member Dave Sneddon began the assessment process of the Demoiselle’s current condition, and made some preliminary plans for fabricating new attachment hardware for the empennage, the gimbaled horizontal and vertical tail assembly.  Work will continue through the summer, and updates will appear periodically as major milestones are completed.

The museum encourages anyone with an interest in participating in the restoration project to contact the museum through the website.  Donations for materials needed to complete the project are also appreciated.  

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Chosen for Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, located at historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL, has been selected to receive the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame 2016 Spirit of Flight Award.  The museum is being recognized for its service to the community through preservation of Metro East IL aviation history, education programs supporting local schools and Scouting groups, active Young Eagles program with local EAA Chapter 64, and other aviation activities promoted and executed through the volunteer staff.  The museum is honored to receive the highest honor afforded by the Illinois aviation community, and will continue to serve the greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois communities with ever greater enthusiasm and purpose.

The Awards Banquet and Induction Ceremonies will be held May 5 at the Southern Illinois University – Carbondale Transportation Education Center at Southern Illinois Airport.