Sunday, October 18, 2015

Exploration of Flight Center takes wing • Air/space museum opens new facility

The 1942 Boeing Stearman PT 17 biplane is used as a teacher-training plane for Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

A yellow 1942 Boeing Stearman biplane with an open cockpit flew over Centennial Airport — a rusted B-25H Barbie III was parked on the runway below.

The parade of classic planes drew a crowd for the opening celebration of a new flight ramp.

Visitors included World War II veterans, students and teachers from Wings Aerospace Academy, aerospace leaders of Colorado and community members.

“Thank you to Centennial Airport for being the best place in the world for something like this,” said Greg Anderson, CEO and president of Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Wings Over the Rockies opened its flight ramp on Oct. 14, marking the start of its Exploration of Flight Center, a flight-based, education and technology center along 15 acres of Centennial Airport.

The center will include a Spreading Wings Teacher Flight Program. One teacher from every school in Colorado's Front Range will get the chance to fly a plane.

“We will have many features dedicated to aviation and education,” Anderson said.

The development is funded by the $21 million Wingspan Capital Campaign and has received $9 million in pledges to date, according to a press release from Wings Over the Rockies.

The development will begin its next construction phase in 2016 and will be completed in the following years, said Anderson.

“This is an amazing milestone for us,” said Colleen Murray, director of advancement.


Among the crowd was Lucille Wise, a veteran who was enlisted in Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) from 1943-45 during World War II. "Our job was to replace males who were pilots so they could fight in combat," she said.

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