The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has begun in earnest to do some “Spring Cleaning” and start on some new projects that will improve the visitor experience. The museum is preparing for the upcoming Midwest Airport Fun Days event planned for June 7-8 by arranging some of the aircraft in their historic 1929 Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 for easier viewing. Space is also being made in the hangar for the arrival of a Pietenpol Air Camper, an aircraft being restored by neighboring EAA Chapter 64, due to arrive in the coming weeks. At the same time, the museum’s vintage Laister-Kauffman LK-10 USAAF training glider will be moved from one hangar bay to another as preparations are made for its restoration and future display. A team of specialists continues to work on the museum’s Lockheed Jetstar aircraft, providing electrical power and improved ventilation of the classic executive jet. Much more is planned for the coming year, and the museum welcomes new members who share a desire to bring aviation history to our community. Work on the LK-10 glider was performed just outside the museum’s hangar recently:
Book Review: Unknown Rider by Major Scott D. Anderson, USAF
|Unknown Rider, by Major Scott Anderson, USAF (1965-1999) 1996, Dennoch Press, Duluth, MN|
(Biography of Major Scott D. Anderson provided by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)
Mr. Jack Abercrombie, Curator for the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, has produced a scholarly work entitled, “Washington Park: The First St. Louis Airport.” The 18-page article took hundreds of hours of painstaking research to establish the location for the “National Aviation Meet for Novices,” the first event to attract amateur flyers. Access to the preferred location that would later be known as Kinloch Field in St. Louis County was still pending, and the President of the St. Louis Aero Club, Albert Bond Lambert, searched for a suitable location on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. Mr. Abercrombie describes the events that culminated in choice of the Washington Park area outside of East St. Louis, IL for the site:
The year 1910 was the most exciting period in American aeronautical history. It began in January with an international air meet at Dominguez Field near Los Angeles. From there, the spectacles spread throughout the country in a “frenzy” of shows and meets of one kind or another, both small and large. During almost every week, new flight records were established. It has been estimated that a hundred major events were held around the country during the year.
The aeronautical fever captured St. Louis as well. The Aero Club of St. Louis, whose president was Albert Bond Lambert (for whom Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is named), sponsored several events during the last half of the year in efforts to establish St. Louis as the country’s “Air Capital.” Most of the St. Louis events (an International Aero-nautic Tournament, an International Balloon Race, and a National Aero Show) have been well described. However, the first event of the year has been relatively undocumented, its location undefined, the fact that it even occurred, nearly forgotten—the National Aviation Meet for Novices. This article is intended to shed some light about the location of the event, the aeroplanes, and the pilots (or aspiring pilots), as well as the aftermath.
The entire article will be published on the museum’s website http://www.airandspacemuseum.org/education.html in the near future.
Display items from the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum are presently featured in the Tuskegee Airmen art exhibit at the Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation now through November, 2012. Large models of a P-40 Warhawk and B-25 Mitchell, aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in combat, along with pilot flight gear, are on loan for the exhibit. The exhibit honors the service of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous “Red Tails” of World War II. The artist, Mr. William Curtis, was on hand to explain the images on the various panels that tell the story of the African-American 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group. In addition to the art exhibit, memorabilia from Mr. Myron Lane was on display. The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum also has items on loan from Mr. Lane in a special exhibit.
Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Curator, Jack Abercrombie, has written another blockbuster article on early St. Louis aviation history – this one focusing on historic Kinloch Field formerly located in what is now St. Louis County. The site remains unmarked, and this article has sparked interest in a remedy for that situation. The article will soon be published on the museum web site in the Education/Published Articles section. The abstract below gives a tantalizing peek into the 49-page work:
“Only a year after St. Louis saw its first flying machine, the Aero Club of St. Louis developed one of the finest flying fields in the country. An old horse racetrack and surrounding meadows and farmlands in northwest St. Louis County, Missouri were transformed into a home for three flight training schools, a flight test facility for checking out newly designed and built aircraft, and flight exhibition teams which gave thrilling flight demonstrations to various locations around the country. Kinloch Flying Field held two large air meets and many smaller gatherings. New aviation records were set, and, for the first time, a former President of the United States flew above cheering crowds.
“For a number of reasons, the aerodrome closed less than two and a half years after an aeroplane first lifted off its grounds. One hundred years ago, 1912, was the last year of operation. The Kinloch Field within the northwest quadrant of the intersecting Graham and Frost Roads, now within the limits of the City of Berkeley, Missouri, has long been covered over with streets, parking lots, and warehouses—all but forgotten. This article traces the history of this remarkable airport.”
The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum’s library is being renovated by hard-working volunteers, thanks to a generous donation of shelving by Barnes and Noble. Museum members are installing the newly-acquired shelving units and arranging thousands of volumes of aerospace books and technical materials. Future plans include the installation of additional shelves in the periodical and multimedia rooms of the library, and the introduction of a digital archive research center within the library suite. Recent donations of archives from Parks College of St. Louis University, as well as from prominent individuals in the aerospace field, have greatly expanded the printed and digital archive collection soon to be available for education and research purposes. “The museum is well on its way to becoming a premier archive and research center for St. Louis area aviation history,” said Carmelo Turdo, museum Board Member and 2nd Vice President. “We will work tirelessly to make the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum a hub of aeronautical knowledge and activity to educate and inspire current and future generations. St. Louis has a rich aerospace history, and we believe a bright future as well.”