The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum accepted a number of new exhibit items in December on long-term loan from Gateway STEM High School Aviation Engineering program. The museum has built a relationship with Gateway STEM High School through its association with the St. Louis Community College Aerospace Institute workforce development programs. The well-equipped Gateway STEM High School Aviation Engineering facility uses modern equipment to teach airframe and powerplant mechanics, and management was ready to pass along some of the more “historic” equipment to the museum for staff training and educational exhibition beginning this spring. That surplus equipment took the form of four 1950s-era engines and a rare wind-tunnel model used in the development of an early McDonnell Aircraft jet, the Model 119.
Several deliveries were made within the last ten days to complete the relocation of the items. On December 13, four engines were delivered with the donated help from our friends at Bollmeier Construction Company, Inc. Included in the loan were two General Electric J33-A-35 jet engines manufactured by the Allison Division of General Motors in Indianapolis – 2 of over 15,000 manufactured for aircraft including the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer; a General Electric J47-GE-11 jet engine (cutaway) – a popular engine used to power the F-86 Sabre and the Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bomber among others; and a Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp radial engine (cutaway) – used to power most fighters and medium bombers of the World War II era. The engines can be seen in the museum’s hangar, though they will not be set up for exhibit until the coming spring.
On December 19, a team of museum members returned to Gateway STEM High School to pick up another loaned artifact that may be the only one of its kind – a 13% scale, low-speed wind tunnel model of the McDonnell Aircraft Model 119. Museum members were astonished to see it stored in the rafters of the Gateway STEM High School facility during a visit earlier this year, and the museum is grateful to receive it for repair and display along with the high-speed wind tunnel model and a large display model of the aircraft already in the collection. The model was dirty and contained some paint chips, but it was in remarkably good condition for a 50+ year old artifact. There was only one actual McDonnell Model 119 (later Model 220) manufactured, and after failing to receive military or civilian orders, it was sold to private owners and now resides in El Paso, TX in non-flying condition. The museum hopes to put the aircraft on display if a sponsor can be found to assist in acquiring it.
Special thanks to Museum President (and The Aero Experience Contributor) Mark Nankivil for pursuing the loan of these items. Also, thanks to Gateway STEM High School Instructor Paul Voorhees, Ray Bollmeier of Bollmeier Construction Company, Inc., Museum Curator Mike Burke, Museum Curator Emeritus Jack Abercrombie, and other museum volunteers who helped with the move and in the operation of the museum.