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Since the dawn of time, it seems that man has been drawn to the skies. You can tell from cave paintings of birds to Leonard Davinci’s sketches. Orville and Wilbur Wright were American inventors and pioneers of aviation. In 1903 the Wright brothers achieved the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight; they surpassed their milestone two years later when they built and flew the first entirely practical airplane. It seems that aviation has taken off since then.
Fly Around the Antique Airfield and Air Power Museum
The Antique Airfield is an airfield that is marked for private use and is located almost 3 miles from Blakesburg in Iowa. The owner of the Antique Airfield is Robert Taylor and is also home to the Airpower Museum. The Antique Airfield is mainly known for the Airfield Rally, wherein owners of the pre-1941 airplanes are invited to participate. In 2008 the Rally achieved tremendous success as the airfield hosted the Air Mail Days, which means that airplanes that once flew the airmail were asked to attend and flew the 17 odd classic planes that once operated for the United States Postal Service. In 2019 the onus was on historical flights.
Come to the Antique Airfield
If you are traveling between Ottumwa and Blakesburg, then you will surely come across this beautiful airfield. Calling it an airport may seem a stretch as you won’t find people loading their luggage or flights taking off at regular intervals. The somewhat covered in grass runways look a lot different, and it seems that time has stood still here, from the 1930s.
This airfield is popularly known as the Antique Airfield and home for the Antique Air Association or AAA and the much renowned Air Power Museum. Don’t let first impressions fool you: the display of simple buildings can seem underwhelming to the novice.
Once you go inside and see the incredibly extensive collection they have accumulated, you will “get it.”
Entirely dedicated to classic and antique aircraft, the Antique Airfield is the first of its kind. The AAA had a long-cherished dream of a museum, but the breakthrough only came in 1964 when the University of Iowa donated several aircraft engines. The Museum saw the light of the day in 1965.
The Success of Antique Airfield and the AirPower Museum
It seems that many people scoffed at the idea behind the purpose of the Antique Airfield, the airfield has indeed grown in stature tremendously in the last few years. It is fully dedicated to the civilian aircraft from the 1920s to the 1940s. It is important to note here that AAA is the oldest antique airplane association in the world.
Prepare to Fall Down the Rabbit Hole of Vintage Aircraft
AAA founded the Air Power Museum, and its collections include around 40 airplanes and various types of engines, models, propellers, photos, original art, and memorabilia. The majority of the planes dates between 1927 and 1950; however, only 25 of these planes are currently on display. These include the majestic warbirds from World War II. A few of these planes have been licensed to fly at any time of the year. That fact allows the Museum to fly the aircraft on the days of Fly-in and other special occasions. Apart from the airplanes, the Museum also boasts of a massive 4300 sq ft of space dedicated library and a research center that has more than 4000 volumes of books and magazines.
My favorites at the Antique Airport?
My father in law was in the Army Air Corps as a navigator on a bomber. They had a complete display of the tools he would have used in his general duties. Knowing that he wasn’t fond of math in high school, and was only eighteen when invited by Uncle Sam to participate, it is hard to imagine the success of a mission with such rudimentary equipment.
I also enjoyed the room of stories. (That is what I am calling it, despite its real name.) There are multiple collages of photos and newspaper articles that go on to explain the different experiences of the various pilots, both soldiers, and civilians. I find it fascinating to experience history through real stories of average Midwest people. The training some of these boys who went to war, literally turned them into men and gave them careers to survive post-war. I could have spent hours there just reading the different articles and examining the various photos.
Bring the Littles to Look at the Vintage Airplanes
Do you have any young person who is fascinated with flying? From the curtains in the gift shop that look like they belong in a little boys room, down to the explanation of why the Hindenberg failed, you will find a plethora of knowledge for any little imagination.
A great way to follow it up? Work on a model airplane together, take it further with books at your local library, possibly check out your local airport for simple flights around your town. I know we have the “Hundred Dollar Hamburger” in Madison, Wisconsin, which gets you a burger and short flight.
Even the local dollar stores have simple paper airplanes that take minimal assembly to help get the fun started. It is so easy to make this Museum a real learning experience, yet keep it fun!
Monday to Friday – 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday – 1 pm to 5 pm
Closed most holidays
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