The Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas is one of the country’s largest air museums. The museum’s collection was started by the late Colonel Tom Thomas, Jr., who donated his personal collection of over 50 planes to the museum.
Walking by the timeline display demonstrating the history of flight, I realized the great advancements in aviation that have been made in the last one hundred years. It’s amazing to think that my grandparents lived through most of the changes we now take for granted when we step into an airliner to take a trip in the air.
With more than one hundred aircraft in the museum, it is easy to see the technical advancements in personal aircraft like the gliders, Cessnas and Beechcraft. Multiple hands-on exhibits help one to appreciate the science behind piloting these aerodynamic machines by actually sitting in a cockpit and maneuvering rudders, ailerons and elevators. The experience will give this writer sufficient material to use in a flight scene.
Military planes ranging from both World Wars and the Korean war, although primitive by today’s standards, demand respect. As workhorses of the sky, they demanded both skill and stamina by the pilot to endure the punishments of these older planes.
Further into the museum tour, the Vietnam era jets brought back memories of sonic booms that I heard as a child growing up near Perrin Air Force base in north central Texas. These were my superstars. These were the toy models that hung from my ceiling by string as though they were in real dogfights. To live in a country protected by the finest, fastest and the most feared jets in the world created in me security and a sense of national pride that has lasted through the most modern fighter jets of today.
Why do we need these?
At the end of the Mid-America Air museum tour stands a small exhibit, but one you can’t miss. Featured is a section of a rusted steel I-beam from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center as a reminder.
God bless America!
Rory C. Keel