Monday, January 21, 2013

Grand old airplane marks 70th anniversary at 1940 Air Terminal Museum

The 1942 Lockheed Lodestar on display.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport held a 70th birthday party Saturday (Jan. 19) for a classic airplane, the 1942 Lockheed Lodestar, complete with birthday cake, balloons, a fascinating historic presentation and self-guided tours of the rare aircraft. 

 The Lodestar has a long and endearing history of both serving our country during World War II and also serving as a unique and capable means of quickly traversing great distances between oil fields and the centers of commerce and industry throughout its tenor as a prized business aircraft for Houston oil and gas executives.

According to museum records, the Lodestar on display at Hobby Lodestar was built as a C-60A and delivered to the USAAF on December 22, 1942. It flew for the advanced glider school in Long Beach, California.

The US Reconstruction Finance Corp. sold the Lodestar to the Defense Plant Corporation which leased it to TACA Airlines. TACA operated the Lodestar under lease to several of its subsidiaries, where it saw service in Costa Rica and Columbia. TACA also leased the Lodestar to Linea Aero de Columbia S.A. Beginning in 1947 it flew for Grubb Oil, Delhi-Taylor Oil Corporation and as personal transport for Columbia Gas Transmission's president.

The vintage planes are only part of the attraction of the museum. Inside the old terminal there are exhibits of air travel artifacts from a bygone area and displays featuring photos, information and historical items from the early days of the terminal.

The Museum showcases the rich heritage of civil aviation, including the airlines, general aviation and business aviation. Exhibits include Houston's fascinating aviation history.

The building itself is an attraction. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is housed in the original art-deco Houston Municipal Airport building with details and design from that style in evidence throughout the structure.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is a non-profit. Funds are raised through daily tours of the museum, which is open Tuesday-Saturday fro 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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