Aviation Museums In North Carolina
North Carolina’s numerous flight-related attractions have a wonderful variety of activities and exhibits for visitors, and the state enjoys celebrating the Wright brothers first powered flight. So, below is an overview of some of our many aviation-oriented attractions. Take wing to one of them and learn why our state is First In Flight.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
The Wright Brothers Memorial sits atop 90-foot high Big Kill Devil Hill to commemorate 12 seconds that changed the world. Also on site, you’ll find a granite boulder that marks the spot where the first airplane left the ground. Numbered markers indicate the distance of each of the four flights made on December 17, 1903. Additionally, there are several buildings designed to recreate the 1903 camp and a 3,000-foot runway that allows small airplanes to land on this hallowed ground.
Dare County Regional Airport Museum
Dare County Regional Airport features models of aircraft that played a part in the history of Dare County aviation, as well as a pictorial history of John David Driskill. A local self-taught aviation pioneer, Driskill was known as one of the best test pilots in the country. Other exhibits of interest include information about Civil Air Patrol Base 16, one of 21 coastal bases that conducted air searches for German submarines during World War II.
Pope Air Force Base Museum & Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Museum
Our state’s connection to aviation also can be seen in other Down East venues. Pope Air Force Base near Fayetteville and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro both sport aviation museums. At Pope, you can see a wide variety of warplanes circa 1925 to the present. There’s the Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, and the Fairchild C-119C, called the Flying Boxcar. Those who like attack aircraft can see the Thunderbolt and the Thunderchief. At Seymour Johnson you can find fighters like the Sabre and the F4C Phantom II.
North Carolina Aviation Museum of Asheboro
The North Carolina Aviation Museum of Asheboro is located next to the Asheboro Municipal Airport. It has doubled its size recently with the addition of a new hangar. Today, you’ll find everything from the J-2 Piper that Orville Wright flew near the end of his career to a B-25, BT-13, a C-45, and a French Broussard. Also on display is war memorabilia like a 1941 Plymouth staff car, a 1936 Ford coach, and a World War I German machine gun.
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
In Durham, the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science features an aerospace exhibit, where you can discover the difficulties of flying to the moon and back. And, if you ever wondered why aircraft don’t soar like butterflies, come watch their erratic flight at the Magic Wings exhibit.
The Carolinas Historic Aviation Museum
More than just a collection of aircraft and aviation artifacts, the Carolinas Historic Aviation Museum in Charlotte is also an aircraft restoration facility. The collection includes aircraft which are historically significant and relevant to the development of aviation in the Carolinas.
Airborne & Special Operations Museum
This museum moves you through time from the inception of airborne tactics in 1940 to today. You immediately visualize the timeline of airborne operations when you enter the beautiful lobby in Fayetteville. Two parachutes – a round one from World War II and today’s square version – are fully deployed above you as you enter. A 235-seat theater screens special Vistascope films that put you right into the action. There is also a pitch, roll and yaw motion simulator that really brings the airborne experience to life.
Western North Carolina Air Museum
The Western North Carolina Air Museum is in the Hendersonville - Flat Rock region of the state. It has a unique collection of airplanes celebrating the Golden Age of General Aviation, the decades surrounding the Second World War, when flying commanded the world's attention and an airplane was in everybody's future. Planes exhibited include 1930 Aeronca C-3, 1930 Curtiss Robin, 1931 Piper E-2, 1936 Piper J-2, 1941 Piper J-5, 1945 Stearman N4S, 1946 Piper J-3C-85, 1947 Aeronca 7DC, 1947 Cessna 120, 1947 Piper PA12, and the Wittman W-8 Tailwind to name a few.
added: December 19, 2008
updated: December 22, 2008
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