Up, Up, and Away!

Published: July 19, 2016

[Flying] fosters fantasies of childhood, of omnipotence, rapid shifts of being, miraculous moments; it stirs our capacity for dreaming.

— Joyce Carol Oates, 1935

T-38 Cockpit Landing Page Image

Dream with your eyes wide open at the Fort Worth Aviation Museum this summer!

If your child dreams of taking off into the wild blue yonder, we’ve got your first stop on his or her voyage. This North Texas Blue Star Museum provides an entertaining learning experience for the whole family from the moment you arrive. They offer “Fun With Aviation” discovery activities including simple things – like paper airplanes, coloring pages and word games – to more complex projects like Styrofoam gliders and water rockets. And, what could be better than actually being able to touch and explore 24 warbirds spanning the years 1943 to the present? In addition, this museum has cockpit and flight simulators, a B-36 Peacemaker and Forward Air Controllers Museums, a resource library with over 1,000 aviation books, periodicals and videos, and “Kiowa For Kids,” a trailered Bell Helicopter OH-58 Kiowa available for school and community events. This is definitely a must see museum for anyone who dreams of taking flight! Check the museum website before your visit for times of operation and special events.

Not sold yet? Here’s some extra insight from the museum’s Executive Director, Jim Hodgson:

QF-4S Landing Page Image

What makes your museum a great destination for active duty military families?

Fort Worth is a military town and our aviation heritage goes back before the First World War. We tell the history of aviation and how it has impacted the people, economy, and culture here in North Texas. That history is heavily military from the services based here since 1917 to the manufacturers of aircraft here since 1941. In addition to those stories of building over 69,000 mostly military aircraft and helicopters here, we have on display 26 military aircraft dating from 1943 to the present. Some of those were built here and others served here. For vets, they can reach out and touch their own history. We have re-united a lot of pilots and crews with their old warhorses and heritage.

What is unique about your collections?

The aircraft, it is that simple. We have more military aircraft on display here that you can touch than anyplace else in North Texas. We call it the “Petting Zoo” and it is the number one reason people come to visit us.   They leave with a new sense of history but love the airplanes.

Are there any special programs at the museum that Blue Star Families should add to their calendar this summer if they are in the your area?

We are heavily involved in the community but do have some special events.   Every January we hold First Flight Day which is a celebration of the first powered flight of an aircraft in Fort Worth. In April we host Hops and Props, an aircraft fly-in and craft beer festival.   In August we celebrate National Aviation Day and in September or October we are the coordinators for the Alliance Air Show’s Discovery Zone. There is always something going on here. People can keep up with us through our website or monthly newsletter.

What are your favorite museum destinations?

Right now we are one of the State of Texas coordinators for the World War I Centennial Commemoration. I am actively learning tons of new things about the State of Texas and it’s involvement with WWI that goes back to 1914 at least. So right now I am enjoying going anywhere that I can learn something new about Texas and WWI.

Why does your museum participate in the Blue Star Museums program?

I am one of the Founders and most of us have military background. I’m a Marine but we have representatives from all services. Most of our docents are former military and so are our aircraft restoration folks.   The military is who we are and we have an enormous respect and appreciation for all the little and big things our service people do for us. We also know that being in the military is a family affair. We were offering free admission for vets here before the Blue Star program, so this was a no brainer for us. It is just a small token of our appreciation for people willing to go in harms ways for all of us.

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