How to Visit the New England Air Museum
Come along and let’s visit the New England Air Museum. The museum is the largest aviation museum in the Northeast. It’s located near the Massachusetts border in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Visit this museum to experience air travel from the past all the way to the present day. And we’re going all the way to space too!
Women in Aviation
The Women in Aviation exhibit was a favorite for obvious reasons. These women set out to break barriers and had few people to look up to. Air travel was new, and a man’s world.
Amelia Earhart is included in the exhibit. So are many lesser known women in aviation.
One pilot mentioned was Ann Griffin Gleszer (1916-2011) from Connecticut (below). She earned her private pilot’s license while in college at the University of Connecticut. Later she became an air traffic controller in Hartford, Connecticut. She served in the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) program during World War II. Following that, she was an engineering test pilot testing planes that had been in maintenance due to mechanical problems. She once landed a plane with difficulty because of a fuel tank problem. Her fuel was contaminated by jealous male pilots. She claimed that the male pilots resented women pilots, feeling were taking positions reserved only for men.
Joanna Lillie Fay Shankle Davis (1908-1964) was another fearless women pilot stepping into a profession mostly held by men (below). She was born in Boston, Massachusetts and taught to fly by her husband. Joanna became the first licensed female pilot in the state of Massachusetts. Then she also became the first woman to fly solo between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Another achievement was that she became the first woman in Massachusetts to obtain a commercial pilot’s license.
This museum transports you out of the atmosphere and into space. Here I am standing next to Stephanie Wilson (below). Stephanie Wilson is the second African-American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison. As of last year, 2021, her 42 days in space are the most of any female African-American astronaut. She is the most senior African-American astronaut. NASA announced that it intends to send the first woman and the first person of color to the moon during its Artemis program. Stephanie Wilson may be included in this program. This has yet to be confirmed.
The museum has other exhibits featuring more space travel.
The Sikorsky VS-44A (below) is the only remaining American-built commercial trans-oceanic four-engine flying boat. Sikorsky built three identical VS-44A planes during the early 1940s. It’s basically a flying boat. For anyone who remembers the 90’s TV cartoon TaleSpin it’s a plane similar to that. That show came to mind when I saw it. They stopped making this aircraft shortly after World War II.
Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car
The Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car is one of only two surviving K-class control cars left in the world. This is just a control car (below). The blimp is the giant balloon part that would be on top. The inside of the Control Car contains a cot for sleeping, a small galley/kitchen, a radio station and large helium tanks. Almost everything inside was re-made from scratch since no parts are available for such a rare craft.
The DC-3 (below) was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It was designed in the 1930s. The model became known for being comfortable and reliable. The plane became extremely profitable and by 1939 more than 90% of the nation’s airline passengers were flying on either DC-3s or DC-2s. Hundreds of DC-3s are still flying through the air today. This is more than six decades after the last one was delivered. Take a look inside one in this video.
This post touches only the tip of the iceberg. You will see this and so much more when you visit the New England Air Museum.