A Visit to the Aviation Museum

By Tim Adams, GSA SNHU Class of 2014
A couple of weeks ago I was offered a ticket, good for 4 people, for the Aviation Museum in Manchester. Since I had never been, even though I spend lots of time at the Airport, I thought this was a great time to go and check it out.

I asked a couple of other GSAs if they would like to join me, and so Sunday afternoon, we checked it out.

Upon entering the museum, I was surprised to see a familiar face, another GSA, Lois checking tickets at the front desk. Seems she spends a few hours there on Sundays helping out.

Tom, our tour guide, lead us around the different rooms, starting with the training room. They offer classes for the Manchester School of Technology. The current class is in the process of building a plane, something every class will be doing for the next few years. The plane, once built, will be certified, then sold and the proceeds will buy a kit for next year’s class and profits go back to the museum. A win-win for all involved.

We next went back into the display area. I was totally amazed with all of the displays of toys! All sizes of toy airplanes. I wanted to write ‘shapes’ but an airplane shape, while changes some with the different models, is always basically the same.

The picture here shows just one of many cases of model and toy planes.

Moving along, they had the wooden frame of a Bi-Plane that was being built here in New Hampshire. It had been started back in 1929 and due to the recession, never been finished. The plans for the plane however had been patented, and the design was used be many over the next several years.

Further along we were shown a model of the first plane to be flown solo across the Atlantic. Unlike what you might think, it isn’t a model of ‘the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ that Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927. This flight was in a Sea Plane and made several Ocean Stops for refueling along the way and had finished the trip 7 years earlier. There had been three planes that started this journey but only one completed the trip. Stop in to the Museum and you can hear what happened to the other two!

Several engines were mounted along the way as we progressed through the room. One of them had been restored and is now set up to run, via a small electric motor, so you can see how a radial engine works.

The back wall of the room had several pictures of people that were from New Hampshire and had served in one, or more of the wars, as pilots. Several of them had learned to fly there at the Manchester Airport. One man’s name that did learn there might be very familiar to you – Alan Shepard!

How many of you actually knew that the Manchester Airport was built because of Charles Lindbergh? Well, when he returned from Paris and started his US Tour, he landed in Concord as Manchester didn’t have a place for him to land! Residents of Manchester were upset with that, so we now have an Airport, and a very nice one, in Manchester.

One last thing, IF you ever get a chance to fly with this person as the Pilot, DON’T DO IT!