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National Airline History Museum

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The National Airline History Museum is located at the Kansas City Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

National Airline History Museum
Airline History Museum Kansas City.jpg
National Airline History Museum at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, Kansas City, Missouri, with its Lockheed Constellation on the tarmac.
LocationCharles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, Kansas City, Missouri
Coordinates39°07′07″N 94°36′01″W / 39.118693°N 94.600160°W / 39.118693; -94.600160
TypeAviation museum
FounderLarry A. Brown & Dick McMahon
PresidentBob Glover[1]
Nearest car parkOn site (no charge)



Founded in 1986 by aviation enthusiasts Larry A. Brown and Dick McMahon, the Airline History Museum was originally known as Save-A-Connie. Brown and McMahon were joined by a number of other enthusiasts, including (then) current and former TWA employees.

The group began by highlighting commercial aviation in the propeller age but has since moved into the jet age with the acquisition of a Lockheed Tristar aircraft. They hope to further expand the museum's collection of vintage passenger aircraft.

In January 2011 the Airline History Museum began its 25th year of operation, entering its silver anniversary with a new vision for the next quarter century: The museum announced a commitment to meeting or exceeding the "Characteristics of Excellence" standards established by the American Alliance of Museums. To that end, the museum immediately began a reorganization plan, which included a complete rebranding effort to include a new membership structure, new website, new corporate logo, and a new exhibit structure within the museum building.

In March 2011 the museum announced that in the continuation of its reorganization and restructure, it was being renamed the National Airline History Museum. This name change allowed it to be better positioned to receive Federal grants and other national funding. The museum announced in March, 2011 that it had teamed up with Kansas City's Roasterie Coffee Shop, with the Roasterie brand being known as "The Official Coffee of the National Airline History Museum" and carrying an image of the museum's DC-3 on its coffee products.


The museum maintains five aircraft at the site; two are in flying condition and one is undergoing restoration. An additional corporate mock-up is also on display.

Martin 4-0-4Edit

Martin 4-0-4

There were only 103 Martin 4-0-4s built. TWA operated 40 in their fleet along the U. S. east coast, while strong competitor Eastern Airlines operated the largest 4-0-4 fleet, flying 60 aircraft along that airline's eastern seaboard route, including in and around Florida. The museum's Martin 4-0-4 has not flown in years. As part of the National Airline History Museum’s reorganization plan, which began in 2011, a maintenance inspection of the Martin 4-0-4 was completed in August 2011 to determine the feasibility of returning the aircraft to flying status. Rumors of extensive corrosion and insurmountable mechanical problems were found to be untrue, and a maintenance program is being developed to return the aircraft to flying condition.[2]

Douglas DC-3Edit

Douglas DC-3-G202A NC1945

The museum's DC-3 is currently being made airworthy. One of its two engines has been overhauled, while its second is still undergoing a rebuild; the exterior and interior restoration of the aircraft is nearing completion, while the installation of new carpeting and restored seats has been completed. This Douglas DC-3-G202A, registration number NC1945, serial number 3294, was built in Santa Monica, California in February 1941. It was delivered to Transcontinental and Western Airlines at Kansas City, Missouri, on March 4, 1941, and now resides in its original home city again.[3]

Lockheed Super "G" ConstellationEdit

Lockheed Super G Constellation

The Lockheed Super "G" Constellation ("Super-Connie"), which holds the distinction of being the first Constellation ever to be fully restored to flying condition, has not been flown to air shows in recent years. Maintenance is still ongoing, with the goal being to get the Connie back in the air. The aircraft has completed several successful four engine test runs and is well on the way to becoming airworthy once again. Nicknamed "Star of America", this Constellation appeared in television and movie releases, as well as in several television commercials. It was featured in the Arts and Entertainment cable channel documentary First Flights, narrated by Astronaut Neil Armstrong, and the motion picture, Voyager released in the U. S. in 1992. The Connie's interior was also used in scenes for the 1995 movie Ace Ventura When Nature Calls, starring actor Jim Carrey. It also appeared in the 2004 movie The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese, which depicts the early years (late 1920s to the mid-1940s) of legendary film director and aviator Howard Hughes; the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Beckinsale, and Cate Blanchett.[4]

TWA's corporate "Moonliner II" replicaEdit

TWA's corporate "Moonliner II" replica

In 1956, after TWA became the corporate sponsor of Disneyland's TWA Moonliner attraction in Anaheim, CA, Howard Hughes added a 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) reproduction of Disney's one-third scale Moonliner, known as the TWA Moonliner II, atop the southwest corner of Kansas City's TWA Corporate Headquarters' Building, located at 18th Street and Baltimore, near downtown Kansas City. Disneyland's TWA Moonliner was a promotional concept of what a TWA atomic-powered spaceliner would look like in the faraway year of 1986.[5] When Hughes and Disney ended their business partnership in 1962 after Hughes sold TWA, the airline's new management removed the Moonliner II reproduction from its roof and sold it to a local travel-trailer company called SpaceCraft.

When SpaceCraft moved to Concordia, Missouri, in 1970, the now all-white Moonliner II landed on the south side of Interstate 70 (between Kansas City and St. Louis) where SpaceCraft operated a campground near its trailer manufacturing plant. It slowly rusted on that spot for more than 25 years. In 1997 a Columbia lawyer who collected Disney memorabilia bought the deteriorating Moonliner II. He then began a long, careful restoration process, eventually bringing it back to its 1956 condition and sporting its original red and white TWA paint scheme. It is currently on loan to the museum for display to both airliner and TWA enthusiasts. The Moonliner II is located about five miles from its original TWA rooftop location.[6]

Lockheed L-1011 TristarEdit

Lockheed L-1011 TriStar N700TS

The museum announced in April 2009 that it was acquiring one of the last six remaining operational Lockheed L-1011 Tristar aircraft in the U. S. This L-1011 is believed to be one of six salvageable examples of its kind left in the U. S. [7]

FAA approval was granted to ferry the aircraft from Roswell, NM (ROW) to Kansas City, MO (MKC). The aircraft arrived safely on January 30, 2010, shortly after 3:00pm. This aircraft first flew in 1972 under the red and white colors of hometown airline TWA. Due to its large size, it is parked south of the museum's hangar at Wheeler Airport, the large tail hanging beyond the fence line surrounding the downtown airport's apron.[8] The aircraft is currently, slowly being restored to operational service.

As the engines were already sold prior to the purchase of the Tristar, it currently sits without engines on the apron outside the museum. Attempts to source mid-life engines are underway, so it is hoped will at least be a complete, operational example. It is possible to see it fly again, but maintenance needed to keep it in a certifiable flying condition is very time consuming and expensive.

Although it can be easily viewed by the public, it is open for public access for special events only.


Lockheed L-1011 Tristar SimulatorEdit

A full-motion, working Lockheed L-1011 Tristar simulator was donated to the museum by Orbital Sciences Corporation; it was never installed and later removed from the museum's possession and transferred to a site in California .[citation needed]

Lockheed L-1011 Tristar Cockpit Procedures TrainerEdit

The museum also has a cockpit procedures trainer for the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, originally belonging to Trans World Airlines.[9]

General PurposeEdit

A general purpose, custom-built flight simulator occupies part of the main foyer of the museum.


  1. ^ The Lazarus Group. "The Airline History Museum | Kansas City, Missouri". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  2. ^ The Lazarus Group. "National Airline History Museum Martin 404 The Airline History Museum | Kansas City, Missouri". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  3. ^ The Lazarus Group (1941-03-04). "The Airline History Museum | Kansas City, Missouri". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  4. ^ The Lazarus Group. "The Airline History Museum | Kansas City, Missouri". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  5. ^ Turner, Terry (August 24, 2011). "The National Airline History Museum". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019. One very unique artifact on display in the hangar is the TWA Moonliner. In 1956 TWA became a corporate sponsor for Disneyland's TWA Moonliner attraction in Anaheim, CA. The Moonliner was designed to show what a TWA atomic-powered spaceliner would look like in the far distant future of 1986. Howard Hughes had a 22-foot reproduction of the Moonliner rocket ship known as Moonliner II built and installed on top of the TWA Corporate Headquarters' building in downtown Kansas City. Then when Disney and TWA ended their partnership in 1962 the Moonliner II reproduction was sold and spent time rusting away sitting next to a campground near Interstate 70 between Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis. Then in 1997 a Colombia, Mo. [sic], lawyer who was an avid Disney collector purchased Moonliner II and restored it back to its 1956 condition and it is now on loan to the National Airline History Museum.
  6. ^ Barton, Eric. "Incoming". Kansas City Pitch LLC. The Pitch. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  7. ^ The Lazarus Group (2010-01-30). "National Airline History Museum Lockheed L-1011 JumboJet The Airline History Museum | Kansas City, Missouri". Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  8. ^ "L-1011 Arrival at Airline History Museum - Photo Gallery". 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  9. ^

External linksEdit