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October 2022
Join Us As We Celebrate
the Museum's 10th Anniversary!
On October 27, 2012, three years of working toward a vision proved the time well spent, as the National Museum of World War II Aviation opened its doors. The first public tour through the museum’s collection of five flying aircraft and 20 displays housed in 44,000 square feet of hangar space was led by museum Curator and Historian Gene Pfeffer.

Two people took the tour; it was an auspicious start to the museum we know today!

Today, 28 vintage and rare aircraft represent pre-war, WWII, and post-war aircraft development. There are also more than 1,800 artifacts, over 100 exhibits, and seven military vehicles for museum visitors to enjoy, all housed in 150,000 square feet of hangar space. Additional aircraft, artifacts, and new exhibits are often added.

It’s estimated that 300,000 people have toured the museum and enjoyed the aircraft as they performed at airshows, demonstrations, and fly-days.

“The vision has taken flight.” said museum President and CEO Bill Klaers. “This museum belongs to the community, to Colorado Springs and the thousands who have visited, because it’s their support, encouragement, and enthusiastic attendance that fuels the museum's 220+ volunteers and creates the excitement we see every day.” Today the museum is rated in the top 1% in the world, the “best of the best award” by Trip Advisor.

But the real story is the work done by that dedicated staff of active volunteers that design and build everything in the museum, greet and assist visitors at the front desk, provide security, conduct docent-led tours, catalog and curate the museum’s collection, provide communications, run the museum’s gift shop, support the many community events at the museum, and keep the facility clean and orderly.
On October 29, the museum will celebrate its initial decade of operation with a day-long festival of demonstrations, aircraft flights, and entertainment. Admission is reduced to $10 for all visitors during the day; museum members and WWII-era veterans attend at no charge!

Drawings will be held for 1 p.m. rides in the museum’s B-25J Mitchell In the Mood and in the museum’s iconic T-6 Texan, weather permitting. Drawing winners must be 18 or older, and physically able to enter and exit the aircraft.

Cockpit viewing in four of the museum’s aircraft will be featured, rides will be given in three of the museum’s military vehicles, and the museum’s restored 1943 Link Trainer will be featured in demonstrations.

The Denver Dolls will perform music from the pre- through post-war era, and there will be food and beverages available.

The museum will have an Aviation Art Show featuring prints and originals by various artists for sale. Additionally, the museum’s own acclaimed photography and artwork will be available for purchase at special pricing to commemorate the 10th anniversary.
Schedule of Events for October 29:

10 a.m. Veterans from WWII and other conflicts will be on hand to meet the community.

10:30 a.m. Opening remarks and welcome, formal unveiling of the museum’s newest mural, “Black Saturday” depicting the London Blitz of WWII. If you missed it, check out the story of the artist and the mural’s creation in our June 2022 newsletter at .

10:45 a.m. A professionally constructed model of the US Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley will be unveiled.

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Drawings for a free 1-year museum membership (5 to be awarded, must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible.)

12 p.m. Names drawn for rides in the museum’s B-25 Mitchell bomber and T-6 Texan trainer (must be at least 18 years of age, and physically able to enter and exit the aircraft, please.)

1 p.m. the B-25 and T-6 depart the museum (weather permitting.)
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Denver Dolls perform. 
2007 First Board of Directors established and 501(c)(3) designation
2009 Acquisition of hangars for first museum facilities
2009 Gallagher & Associates initial conceptual design of museum
2011 Development of museum’s STEM education program to meet state standards
2012 The National Museum of World War II Aviation opens to the community
2014 Inaugural Pikes Peak Regional Airshow
2016 Completion of combat-veteran P-38 Lightning White 33
2017 Second Pikes Peak Regional Airshow
2017 Congressional designation as The National Museum of WWII Aviation
2018 Groundbreaking of Kaija Raven Shook Aviation Pavilion
2018 Donation of aircraft collection by the Slattery Family Foundation to the museum
2019 Third Pikes Peak Regional Airshow
2019 Public opening of Kaija Raven Shook Aviation Pavilion
2020 Initiation of historical presentations and aircraft demonstrations
2022 Fourth Pikes Peak Regional Airshow
The following vehicles will be available for demonstration rides:
1942 Ford GPW Jeep
1941 White M3A1 Scout Car
1941 White M2A1 Half Track
Come on out to the museum and join us in the celebration!
Jim Slattery's Vision Coming True
This story was originally published in December 2019.

Museum benefactor Jim Slattery's aim has been to show today's young people that they have the same potential as the young people who fought victoriously in World War II.

Many young people today, he said December 14 at the Museum's Christmas party in the new Kaija Raven Shook Aeronautical Pavilion, are wrapped up in the internet and have little chance to prove themselves. But at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, with its rare collection of historic flying aircraft, young people can see, hear and touch the planes that helped win the war, and begin to understand that those who helped win it were in many ways like themselves.

Jim said he has learned that "an awful lot of young people are in a world that is kind of internet and don't have the individual capacity anymore to prove themselves, and to get the kind of feedback and confidence" that they need.

"What we wanted to demonstrate in this museum, and eventually will be able to do it much more powerfully," he said, "is to use the example of 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds that fought in World War II and explain to kids that are going through here that these were the same kids that you are. What they were capable of doing," today's kids are capable of doing, he said. "That's the legacy."

The idea, he said, is to use history to help make young people more aware of their own potential, and at the same time to make it "entertaining and fun."

He praised the museum's volunteers for their passion and commitment. "This is your museum. It's not my museum," he said. "I am so proud and stunned by the amount of effort that you guys put out."

And, he said, "I will tell you, in five years this will be a world-class destination."

Story and Photo Credit: Rich Tuttle
Frank Macon's Gift
Our 1944 gull-wing Stinson Vultee V-77 aircraft was donated to the Museum on Veterans' Day, November 11, 2019, by Tuskegee Airman Franklin J. "Frank" Macon. He died on Nov. 24, 2020, at the age of 97 at his home in Colorado Springs.

During the ceremony in which the Museum accepted the V-77, Frank said he decided the best place for his beloved vintage airplane "would be right here.... I thought this would be a good home for it" because "this is where World War II airplanes are, and they all ought to be together."
At the ceremony, Mark Dickerson, President of the Denver-based Hubert L. "Hooks" Jones Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., traced the history of the airplane. He said Frank and three partners acquired it in about 1960. It had been abandoned at Meadow Lake Airport near Colorado Springs, and the owners were asking $1,500. Frank's group offered $500 "and they went for it," Dickerson said.

The previous owners, based in Cleveland, Ohio, had acquired it in the mid-1950s from an individual in Chicago. That person purchased it from the U.S. government as World War II surplus.
"So there's a War Department connection," Dickerson said at the ceremony. In fact, "back in the day, this airplane was used by the Army as an AT-19" trainer. It also was part of the U.S. Lend-Lease program, under which military equipment was "loaned" to the British. Frank's plane logged 21.5 hours with the British as a utility plane under the designation UC-81. Frank's Stinson, and a number of others, were returned to the United States after the war.

"The bottom line is that this airplane is a warbird," Dickerson said. And, he added, "not only was this airplane itself on duty, its owner was a Tuskegee Airman." And "that's why this airplane belongs here."

Bill Klaers, President and CEO of the Museum, said at the ceremony that Frank wanted to "keep [the plane] going to educate kids, and that's the mission of the Museum." He said some 4,000 students have been through the Museum's education program, "and to be able to bring them over here and tell about Frank and the Tuskegee Airmen is huge, and that's a big deal for us, and we're going to make this commitment that this plane will continue to make history and tell the Tuskegee Airmen story as long as we can."
Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Honoring the Past and Building the Future –
The Museum is on a Mission to Grow!
Opened to the public in 2012, the National Museum of World War II Aviation documents the role that aviation played in the emergence of our nation as a world power during the Second World War. Now, as the Museum is reaching its 10th year milestone, it has launched a major capital campaign to raise $50 million in funding. This will help with expansion efforts, maintenance, and preservation services of its many aircraft and exhibits.
The project, which was initiated earlier this spring, addresses a mission-critical need for space to house the Museum’s fast-growing collection of flying World War II aircraft, as well as continued growth of its highly successful STEM education program. A wide range of individual, corporate, foundation, and governmental support is essential to keep the Museum going and its fleet of restored World War II aircraft flying—but the entire effort is built on the foundation of individual donors.
With nearly 150,000 square feet under roof, the museum complex encompasses three aircraft display hangars, five exhibit galleries, two volunteer workshops, an aircraft restoration facility, and nearly four acres of aircraft parking apron. With expansion on the horizon, the Museum will be able to bring even more inspiring exhibits to the community.
There are 3 main phases of expansion which have already been set in motion:
Phase 1, the construction of the 40,000 square foot Kaija Raven Shook Aviation Pavilion, was completed in 2019.   
Phase 2, Display Hangar Expansion, will increase the aircraft display hangar from 40,000 to 80,000 square feet, making it the largest hangar at the Colorado Springs Airport. This phase will provide space for new aircraft that will be coming into the Museum’s collection over the next few years, as well as new exhibits and interactive displays. The projected cost is $8.75 million.
Phase 3 involves the construction of Aviation Hall, an 86,000 square foot facility. The entire second level of Aviation Hall will be dedicated to education, where classrooms, conference facilities, and an auditorium will host aviation-focused programs, seminars, and events.
While the capital campaign is designed to increase the size of the Museum itself, it will also help grow its incredibly successful STEM program. The Museum’s K-12 STEM Program is a unique learning experience that teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts within the historical context of World War II aviation. Public, private, and homeschool teachers are trained by the Museum’s education team to deliver the modules in the classroom over a two-week period, leading up to a capstone experience at the Museum.
Led by the Museum’s education team, the capstone experience reinforces the lessons learned in the classroom through hands-on interactive activities and program-focused tours of the museum.
The K-12 STEM Program has served more than 25,000 students since its inception in 2012. The program is fully funded by the Museum and its supporters and is provided at no cost to students or their schools. The Museum places an emphasis on low-income and rural populations and presents a way to guide students towards a career path that they may not have imagined, knew existed, or even thought possible for themselves.
As the Museum continues to focus on its education mission, it is looking forward to exploring new, innovative ways to get kids involved in STEM. With the help of donations, the STEM program can reach more children and help enlighten youth of the importance of World War II.
Additionally, the Museum is developing public and private-sector partnerships throughout the Pikes Peak Region to create advanced learning opportunities for secondary and post-secondary students interested in exploring the possibility of a career in aviation. These programs are available for both college-bound students and those who are focused on a technical training track. Ultimately, the Museum will expand its educational partnerships to include other secondary and postsecondary aviation programs, such as aviation electronics, avionics, pilot training, and UAV operations.
Financial support is essential for the Museum’s mission to succeed. The National Museum of World War II Aviation receives no federal funding or any other form of taxpayer support. More than preserving memories, the Museum preserves the very integrity of what makes America the greatest country in the world.
If you would like to contribute to the Museum’s fundraiser, please click on this link Donate Now - National Museum of World War II Aviation or mail a check to the National Museum of World War II Aviation at 775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80916. 

Story Credit: Jill Mathieu
PBY Catalina Pull for Special Olympics
On September 10, 2022, the Museum hosted a Special Olympics plane-pull event in which 30 teams competed to pull our 25,000-pound PBY Catalina 20 feet across the tarmac in the shortest time. The fund-raising event brought in more than $50,000 to help support some 15,000 athletes in the organization's many programs here in Colorado.

The teams were made up of volunteers who paid $100 per person said Jan Gordon, Chief Development Officer. She said the teams are made up of people from law enforcement and corporate sponsors, as well as some Special Olympics athletes.

"One really cool part about being at the National Museum of World War Two Aviation is we get to pull this beautiful PBY Catalina and that's really unique," she told News Channel 13. "All the other places we pull, we pull a big jet, or we pull a smaller private jet. But here in Colorado Springs, they've been so generous to let us be here. It's such a beautiful museum, and then to be able to pull that.... [I]t's just an incredible thing to do this. And I think for people to come here and be a part of the Museum and part of pulling something so unique and so historic is really special."

Story and Photo credit: Rich Tuttle
Volunteer of the Quarter (3Q) - Arnie Easterly
Arnie Easterly is an exceptional volunteer in all respects. It is apparent early on that Arnie is a natural leader who has a knack for getting things done and inspiring others to do the same. Just a few months after he started, Arnie was nominated by the original five Lead Docents to join them in the supervisory ranks of the Docent Section. Since then, he has been an outstanding leader within the Docent Section and a mentor for those who have joined the Docent team.

Arnie’s contributions to the museum go beyond the Docent Section. While he is scheduled to work approximately 20 hours per month as a Lead Docent, he works an additional 10 to 12 hours each month in support of special guided tours and events. Wherever he is involved, his positive outlook and “can do” approach to things is infectious, and lifts everyone else around him to higher levels of participation and performance. He is an extraordinary volunteer who always represents the museum in the best possible light. We are incredibly lucky to have Arnie and others like him on our volunteer staff.

Not bad for a former Marine!

Story by Kevin "Yoda" Hopkins
October 14, 1943 - Black Thursday
This October marks the anniversary of the great October 1943 air battles over Germany.
In the late summer of 1943, it looked like the Luftwaffe was winning its air battle with the 8th Air Force (8th AF) as bomber losses were running high. As early as 1940, Army Air Forces leaders saw in the Battle of Britain that it was likely that escort fighters were going to be needed to protect the strategic bomber force. Their technical experts, however, didn’t see how they could make a fighter that could go 500 miles out and still be a great fighter when it got there.

Leaders thought that rugged bombers like the B-17 bristling with defensive firepower and flying in large formations, but without long-range escorts, could still succeed. General Hap Arnold, the commander of the Army Air Forces, pressured Major General Ira Eaker, commander of the 8th, to carry the flag deep into Germany. On October 9th, 10th, and 14th (called Black Thursday), the 8th mounted three large missions deep into Germany. Over the three missions the 8th lost 118 bombers; with those results, people began to doubt the theory of unescorted bombers.
Some suggest the losses forced a bomber stand-down until better escort fighters were available; it did not, as Eaker and Arnold didn’t budge. Eaker said the 8th must continue the battle with unrelenting fury. After the war he said he would have sent the 8th right back into the heart of Germany if weather would have allowed it.

Fortunately a period of adverse weather, the need to reconstitute the bomber force, and new technology intervened, with hundreds of new bombers arriving. P-38 Lightning fighters began to escort the bombers deeper into Germany. The P-38 was adequate against its German adversaries, but it suffered from engine problems in the cold German winter; it was the Lightning’s extended range that qualified it as an interim escort solution.

Bombers were now equipped with air-to-ground radar that enabled bombing in the worst weather. The subsequent arrival of P-51 Mustangs, and the development of large external fuel tanks for P-47 Thunderbolts, changed the air picture completely. Beginning in early 1944, escort fighters could now go deep into Germany with the bombers. Luftwaffe fighter losses increased dramatically; the end of the Luftwaffe as an effective fighter force was in sight.

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
In Memory of Her Majesty
Shown below, Princess Elizabeth, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Gen. James H. Doolittle, commander of the Eighth Air Force, stand before a B-17G named "Rose of York" at Thurleigh, England on July 6, 1944, when the plane officially received the name. It was first named "Princess" by the crew, then changed to "Princess Elizabeth". 

The crew got the idea of inviting the royal family to christen it. The king and queen had visited several Eighth bases as a show of solidarity with Britain's U.S. allies. The royal family agreed, but with one condition; the name had to be changed to "Rose of York", as they didn't want a bomber with the name "Princess Elizabeth" to be shot down.

Elizabeth was never named "Rose of York", but the connection is apparent -- before his accession to the throne in 1936, the King was the Duke of York and his wife, the Queen Mother, was the Duchess of York. The "Rose of York" was later lost on a mission to Berlin. Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 at the age of 25 after the death of King George VI.

Queen Elizabeth II died September 8, 2022, at age 96.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Photo Credit:
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This Month's Newsletter Contributors

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Docent, Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer