Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Begins Busy Season

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:



Museum Hosts Local Boy Scouts for Young Eagle Flights with EAA Chapter 64

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum hosted another group of Boy Scouts as they took their Young Eagle Flights Saturday at St. Louis Downtown Airport.  The flights were conducted by Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 64 air and ground crews, including pilots Jim Thurman, Woody Gray and Bob McDaniel.  In all, 16 Boy Scouts were flown in the three aircraft starting at 10am as the cloud ceiling slowly lifted over the St. Louis area.  During their visit, the Boy Scouts toured the museum, including the inside of the Lockheed Jetstar aircraft on display.  Another series of flights for other Boy Scout troops will be held in April, and flights will be offered to the general public at Midwest Airport Fun Days to be held June 7-8.




Museum Hosts Scout Troop, Assists With Merit Badge Activities

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum hosted about 70 Cub Scouts Saturday at historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport.  The museum periodically assists local Scout troops with activities that contribute towards the requirements of the Aviation Merit Badge, and EAA Chapter 64 provides Young Eagle flights and ramp safety.  The overcast weather conditions kept the aircraft on the ground this weekend, but the Scouts toured the museum and flew aircraft they made to demonstrate aerodynamics in action.  The Scouts will return in the spring to take their Young Eagle flights.  (Photos courtesy of museum Curator, Mike Burke).






Museum Receives Several High-Profile Aviation Artifacts

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum recently received several high-profile aviation artifacts to add to its already impressive collection at its location in historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport.  The museum has been preserving and exhibiting local aviation history for over 30 years, and continues to attract donations from across the region.  The museum receives hundreds of items each year of all types relating to St. Louis and Metro East Illinois aviation.  Additionally, the museum has a world-class archive of media relating to aviation history throughout the world that is regularly used by researchers in their books and professional journal articles.  Recent donations include:

Low-Speed Wind Tunnel model of the McDonnell Aircraft 119/220 executive jet prototype of the late 1950′s was donated by the University of Michigan.  The McDonnell 119/220 aircraft lost a military contract to the Lockheed Jetstar, and the only prototype was the personal aircraft of  James S. McDonnell for a time before being sold to private owners.  The aircraft currently resides at El Paso International Airport, TX.










Albatros D.III 7/8 scale replica wings along with plans and materials for the rest of the aircraft were donated by the family of the Late Andrew Smith of the Camdenton, MO area.  The wings were meticulously constructed, and the museum will pursue completion of the project with the assistance of other interested parties in the future.







Class Project Features Lindbergh Flight for City of St. Louis 250th Anniversary Celebration

Miriam School Celebrates the 250th Anniversary of St. Louis

On February 7th, Miriam School held a celebration honoring the 250th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Louis.  The 4th Grade Class chose to feature Charles Lindbergh and the “Spirit of St. Louis,” the aircraft Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, in their class project.  Jack Nankivil,  4th grader and son of Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum President Mark Nankivil, tackled the subject with energy and focus by researching the history of the “Spirit of St. Louis,” the origin of the aircraft’s name and Charles Lindbergh’s contribution to St. Louis aviation history from the 1920s onward.  Jack took inspiration from the Spirit of St. Louis cockpit replica and display board presently on long term loan to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum from the nearby Missouri History Museum when deciding on his contribution to the project.  He then created a replica of the instrument panel, incorporating opening doors with placards describing the various decisions Charles Lindbergh made in equipping his aircraft for its epic journey across the Atlantic.  The classroom also included other photos and artifacts on display from the Greater St. Louis  Air & Space Museum’s archives and photo collection to give the children from the other classes at the school an understanding of Charles Lindbergh’s accomplishment.

Well done Jack!

Midwest Airport Fun Days Will Take Off from St. Louis Downtown Airport June 7-8

Taking Off June 7 & 8, 2014 At St. Louis Downtown Airport

St. Louis Downtown Airport, Ideal Aviation, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, EAA Chapter 64 and The Aero Experience present the Midwest’s newest aviation event offering free, family-friendly fun hosted by a thriving airport community!  At Midwest Airport Fun Days, our guests are invited to visit the airport and take part in activities provided through the generous contributions of participants and sponsors from throughout the Midwest.  Planned activities include:

Tour the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum
















Examine aircraft on display from St. Louis Downtown Airport and other airports from around the Midwest
















Experience a flight in a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber

















Fly in a 1941 Waco Biplane

















Meet Aerobatic airshow star Patrick McAlee



















Youth Fly FREE on Sunday

Entertainment from Fanfare and the Ramblers

And MUCH more!
For more information about participating in the event or sponsoring an activity, please contact Carmelo Turdo at
To assist in the production of the event by contributing to the general expenses, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum.
Check back often for more details!

Rare Artifact Links St. Louis Aircraft Producers of World War II Era

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has acquired an artifact from the World War II era  that links several St. Louis area aircraft manufacturers.  The item is a Left Hand Gun Box No.2 .50 caliber ammunition container from a Curtiss Wright A-25A Shrike, a two-seat dive bomber ordered by the USAAC in 1940 under the U.S. Navy contract for the SB2C Helldiver.  Deliveries began in 1942.  The next year, the order for 3,100 aircraft was canceled due to its perceived vulnerability in combat after 900 had been produced.  While some of the aircraft were transferred to the USMC as sister ships to the SB2C Helldiver, many of those remaining were used for non-combat roles such as target towing.  The A-25A Shrike was produced at the Curtiss-Wright plant in St. Louis at Lambert Field, while the ammunition container recently acquired was made at the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation plant, also located at Lambert Field.  The container is in very good condition, possibly due to non-combat use during much of the life of the aircraft for which it was fitted.  The artifact is now on display at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum’s Historic Gallery with other items representing the Curtiss-Wright St. Louis facility.

The ties between Curtiss-Wright,  McDonnell Aircraft and the museum do not end there.  The Museum is located at St. Louis Downtown Airport, formerly known as Curtiss-Steinberg Airport owing to the involvement of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in its development.  The museum also maintains a gallery dedicated to military aircraft and spacecraft manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft, who subsequently acquired the Curtiss-Wright assembly plant at Lambert Field after World War II.



Book Review: Unknown Rider by Major Scott D. Anderson, USAF

Book Review: Unknown Rider by Major Scott D. Anderson, USAF

Unknown Rider, by Major Scott Anderson, USAF (1965-1999) 1996, Dennoch Press, Duluth, MN

The Late Scott D. Anderson was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009. The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is honored to offer the book, Unknown Rider, while supplies last.

Unknown Rider is the fictional manifestation of Major Scott D. Anderson’s experience of achieving the title, “Fighter Pilot.”  Anderson sums up his writing process in the Acknowledgements page: “When I was training to fly the F-16 at Kingsley Field in Oregon, each evening, after a day of flying fighters, I sat down and typed a little bit of this book…All I had to do was invent a few characters, put them in an airplane, and make them the heroes of the stories that filled the air.”  He wasted no time introducing USAF Lt. Rick Wedan, a Minnesota Air National Guard F-16 pilot on detachment to Tyndall AFB, Florida, as he scrambles into his F-16 to intercept an “Unknown Rider.”  However, just as his F-16 lifts off the runway, a flashback to pilot training takes the reader on an exhilarating experience through the ups and downs of flying around the country in a jury-rigged Aeronca Champ and then through primary and secondary training the USAF way.  After receiving his silver wings, Lt. Rick Wedan relives his adventures by finding the old Champ and flying to out of the way places.  The final chapter rejoins the intercept of the “Unknown Rider” off Florida and fulfillment of the young Lt. Wedan’s dream of defending the nation at the pointy end of an Air Force fighter.
The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is pleased to offer a limited number of books available through the museum website as well as several copies in the museum library.
Major Scott D. Anderson 1965-1999 Anderson and his family moved to Duluth, MN when he was six years old. He went through school there and attended the University of Minnesota. Continuing later at Stanford University, he earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and History. Anderson lived the life of an adventurer, building a two-man submarine; making a marathon canoe trip from Duluth to Hudson’s Bay and writing a book about it; writing and co-authoring several other books; playing saxophone in jazz bands and playing professional football in Salzburg, Austria. He returned to Duluth and joined the Air National Guard. He flew F-16s, becoming an instructor pilot with Duluth’s 179th Fighter Squadron. His career path led him to the role of test pilot with the Cirrus Design Corporation where he gave his life testing the first production model Cirrus SR20. The Scott D. Anderson Leadership Foundation was created in his honor. Inducted 2009
(Biography of Major Scott D. Anderson provided by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Is Active Community Resource



Prepared by Jack Abercrombie, Curator Emeritus 



  • Birthday Celebration—102 Years—for “Chub” Wheeler—Museum Founder, Pilot, Flight Instructor.
  • Restoration and Public Unveiling of 67 Year-Old McDonnell XP-85 “Goblin” Wind Tunnel Test Model.
  • Restoration and Public Unveiling of Mr. McDonnell’s Factory Golf Cart (used to transport President Kennedy during his 1962 visit to the McDonnell factory)—Restored with the help of a Boeing Employee Community Fund (ECF) Grant.
  • Independence Day week with the EAA AirVenture B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”—The Museum Assisted the Local EAA Chapter 64 in the Celebration.
  • Fly-In and Open House.
  • Participation in the Retirement Party for Airport Director, Bob McDaniel, After 13 Years on the Job.   (Welcome to the new Director, Erick Dahl, was part of the program).


  • Participated in “Careers on the Move” at Mudd Elementary   School in O’Fallon, MO.
  • Participated in Cessna Aircraft Demo Day at Air Associates of Missouri, Spirit Airport.
  • Hosted StL Biplane Rides in a 1941 Open Cockpit Waco Biplane.
  • Co-Hosted the Youth Gateway to Aviation Day Sponsored by EAA Chapter 64, Parks College,  Wicks Aircraft and Motor Sports, etc.
  • Co-Hosted Several Hundred Local Boy Scouts During the Scout Aviation Day in Cooperation with Parks College and Ideal Aviation.
  • Participated in Aviation Day at the St. Louis Science Center.
  • Participated in Midwest Aviation and Conference and Trade Show (MACTS) in Maryland Heights, MO.
  • Co-Hosted “Young Eagles” Flights in Cooperation with EAA Chapter 64.
  • Hosted Several Local Elementary and Middle School Student Group Visits.
  • Hosted Two McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Retiree Group Visits.
  • Co-Hosted a Benefit Event in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Fisher House in Cooperation with Brian Kissinger Ministries and EAA Chapter 64.
  • Supported the Visit of the EAA Ford Trimotor Visit to Downtown Airport.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the Missouri Pilots Association 60th Anniversary Convention in Booneville, MO.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the IPMS Model Show.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the Airport Open House at Vance Airport in Fredericktown, MO.
  • Participated in the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS)—Programs, Research, Images from Museum Archives.
  • Performed Research for the MoAHS Lambert Field History Project (for a book to be published celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lambert Field).
  • New/Continuing Loans of Artifacts to Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Science Center,  Southwestern Illinois Community College,  Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis Aerospace Institute.
  • Speakers Provided for Boeing Employee Flying Club, a McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Retiree Group, and other organizations.
  • Participated in Aviation Roundtable in Columbia, MO.


  • Received Grant from Ameren Illinois–$15,000 for Computing Software/Hardware to be used for Archive Cataloging.
  • Received Civic Service Award from the AIAA St. Louis Section.


  • Full Restoration completed on both Link Trainers—one from the World War 2 era and one from the Cold War era.  Work Performed by Volunteer Effort led by Doug Bent and Mike Scruggs.
  • Mr. McDonnell’s Golf Cart (used to transport President Kennedy around the factory in 1962) Fully Restored with the Help of a $4700 Grant from the Boeing ECF Fund with Work Performed by North Town Auto Body with the Assistance of Master Auto Care, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Village Locksmith, all in Collinsville, IL.
  • The 1946 McDonnell “Goblin” XP-85 Wind Tunnel Model was Restored by Volunteer Greg Downen.
  • Plans Being Formulated for the Cosmetic Restoration of the Lockheed “JetStar” and the Stinson “Reliant.”
  • Plans in Work for Restoration of the Meyers “OTW” 1941 Biplane.
  • Bi-State Performed a Structural Assessment of the Historic Hangar 2.


  • Colonel Schrecengest Collection of Art Work Depicting the  RF-101 “Voodoo” Record Setting “Operation Sun Run” of 1957.   Donors—Ed and Cynthia nee Schrecengest Miller.
  • Art Davies, Jr. Collection of Photos, Models, and Other Museum and McDonnell Aircraft Memorabilia.  Donor—Mary Davies.
  • Scrapbook with Astronaut Autographs plus those of other NASA and McDonnell      Officials.  Donor—Rose Church, “Nurse of the Astronauts.” (Actually occurred  late October 2012—just five days before her death).
  • Stinson Reliant, 1943 V-77 (non-flyable).  Donor—Family of John Johnson, well known aviator of southern Illinois and the St. Louis region.
  • A. Paul  Vance Collection of Photographs, Models, etc.  Donor—Family of A. Paul Vance,  Navy Aviator, Monsanto Corporate Pilot, as well as many other achievements.  (Actually occurred December 2012).
  • Photograph      Collection (More than 160) of Dave Ostrowski.  (Actually occurred December 2012).
  • F-4 Phantom History Manuscript. Donor/Author—Bill Elmore.
  • Miscellaneous Items from many individual donors including the Museum of Transportation, Jefferson Barracks, Lambert Airport, etc.


  • Historic Aviation Fields (Shiloh, Kinloch, Washington Park, Broadway, Kratz).
  • Parks College World  War 2 History.
  • Lambert Field.
  • Local Historic Aviators.

LIBRARY COLLECTION:  The Museum’s collections are comprised of approximately 200,000 objects, artifacts, art, photographs, research materials and memorabilia. The collections now include 150,000 slides, negatives and photos with the recent acquisition of the Robert Burgess collection (85,000 slides, negatives and prints and another 1,000 books and periodicals) and previous acquisitions such as the F-4 Phantom II Society archives and the William Peake and A. Paul Vance collections. In addition, the Museum has more than 4,000 books as well about 8,000 periodicals.  Our McAir aircraft documents collections numbers approximately 7,000 pieces. In addition, we have two letters signed by Charles Lindbergh and four individual pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright.


McDonnell Douglas Retirees Visit Museum, Donate Space Mission Memorabilia

Members of a McDonnell Douglas retiree group, informally known as the “Mac Old Team,” visited the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, located in historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport, this week following their last monthly luncheon meeting of the year.  The group has made several visits to the museum in recent years, and individual members have donated significant pieces of aerospace memorabilia that now reside in the museum galleries.  Joining the group this year were several students and their Director from the Vincennes University  Center for Technology, Innovation & Manufacturing and leaders of the Purdue Alumni Club of Jasper, Indiana.  Also present was a group of high school students representing “Learning Experiences in Applied Fields,” a peer-to-peer mentoring group that currently assists students in areas of technology studies.  The connection to the Indiana education institutions is an outgrowth of a visit by some McDonnell Douglas retirees to the Virgil I. Gus Grissom Memorial Museum in Mitchell, Indiana for the 50th anniversary of Grissom’s (McDonnell Aircraft Company-designed) Mercury spacecraft flight in 2011.  Since then, visitor exchanges have occurred to solidify the new relationship between the McDonnell Douglas retirees, museums and education institutions in the respective states.

Norm Beckel, “Mac Old Team” group leader, speaks to members during lunch at
“Spinners” restaurant at the airport prior to their museum visit
During the visit to the museum, retiree group member Carl Scheske presented a collection of Space Shuttle memorabilia, including mission patches, posters and prints donated by fellow retiree John Schuessler (left).  The items, accepted by museum Curator Mike Burke (center) and museum President Mark Nankivil (right), will become part of a future exhibit.
Following the presentation, members of the McDonnell Douglas retiree group and the visitors from Indiana toured the museum, some for the first time.  The students in the group were drawn to the life-size, interactive exhibits such as the restored F-4 Phantom II jet fighter cockpit, “Spirit of St. Louis” cockpit reproduction, aircraft in the hangar and the functioning Link Trainers.  Other gallery exhibits, such as the jet engine cut-away working model and the pilot flight gear display, sparked conversations between the retired engineers and the students about the development of jet propulsion and the corresponding issues concerning flight crew physiological health with jet and rocket flight.  The real success of the visit was seeing the interaction between the pioneers of the jet and space age and the very bright, new generation of students starting to make their mark on the future of the nation’s aerospace industry.
McDonnell Douglas retiree Nelson Weber (Center) discusses
the operation of a jet engine with visiting students
A visiting student examines the F-4 Phantom II restored cockpit
Forest Park High School (Ferdinand, IN) Senior Jason Brier flies a 1940s era Link Trainer
Some of the McDonnell Douglas retirees were present in the plant in 1962 when James S. McDonnell, Chairman and CEO of McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, drove President John F. Kennedy in the factory cart now on display at the museum.  Those in attendance posed near the cart, from L-R: Nelson Weber, Carl Scheske, Earl Robb, Wade Wilkerson, Dean Purdy, Tim Tinsley, and Donald Alwine.
Special thanks to Norm Beckel and the “Mac Old Team” for arranging the luncheon and visit to the museum with our visitors from Indiana.  Also thanks to museum Curator Emeritus Jack Abercrombie for coordinating the visit to the museum.