The Carolinas Aviation Museum is an aviation museum on the grounds of Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is one of a few aviation museums located at an airport that serves as a central hub (Charlotte is the #2 hub for American Airlines). Its centerpiece attraction is the Airbus A320 used on US Airways Flight 1549.
The museum was founded in 1992 by Floyd and Lois Peithman Wilson and had a collection of over 50 static aircraft and many smaller historical items related to aviation in North Carolina and South Carolina. Most of the group consists of Cold War military aircraft, including several landmark jet aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s. Several aircraft came from the closed Florence Air & Missile Museum in Florence, South Carolina. Many planes have also come from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Marine Corps Air Station New River. The museum no longer operates flying aircraft; however, due to its location on Charlotte-Douglas International Airport property, it has occasionally hosted historic aircraft for fly-ins. Those aircraft include the B-17, B-24, B-29, and Berlin Airlift C-54.
Until April 2010, the museum was located in the airport’s original 1932 hangar, built by the Works Progress Administration. Then, the museum moved into a new facility at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport at 4672 First Flight Drive. The new facility enabled most aircraft to be inside a climate-controlled facility and allowed for new displays.
In July 2019, the museum closed to the public, and all aircraft were moved into temporary storage in preparation for the new facility. The museum is currently working to develop plans for a new location with a planned re-opening in 2022. In June 2021, the museum announced plans to reopen with a new main gallery and welcome center adjacent to the original 1932 hangar.
- Major Dolph D. Overton III USAF
- Piedmont Airlines Historical Society A1 Bed Bug Exterminator Charlotte
- Preddy Memorial Foundation (World War II, Preddy Brothers artifacts)
- The museum acquired the Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger collection in August 2018. This collection includes letters and items given to Captain Sullenberger after the successful emergency water landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009.
US Airways Heritage Collection
The museum holds an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia from various legacy airlines which merged into the now-defunct US Airways. The museum’s special collections and archival materials are currently in storage and inaccessible for research.
The collection includes artifacts from:
- Allegheny Airlines
- America West
- Mohawk Airlines
- Piedmont Airlines
- Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA)
- Other legacy carriers
Address: 4672 1st Flight Dr, Charlotte, NC
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