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Kissimmee Air Museum - EXPERIENCE AVIATION FIRST HAND

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Since Hurricane Charley back in September 2004 and the closing of Flying Tiger’s Warbird Restoration Museum a lot of things have happened at the Kissimmee Airport in Florida. Warbird Adventures who continued offering flights and training in their T-6’s have now opened a small Air Museum.

The exhibit might not be very large but it is unique; the most unusual part of the exhibit is the worlds only flying AEROCAR. There are a couple of AEROCAR’s on display at other prominent museums in the US, but this is the only one that a visitor may have a chance of seeing in action. This particular example (N102D) is serial number 4 and was built in 1956 by its inventor Moulton Taylor. Only 6 examples were ever built and though Ford had some interest, full-scale production never caught on. The AEROCAR is currently owned by Ed Sweeney who is also developing a modern version called the AEROCAR 2000. Bob Cummings used to own N102D and it has been featured on several TV shows over the years.

The other very prominent feature of the new Museum is of course White One Foundations Focke-Wulf 190 projects. Three FW-190’s are located at the facility in various stages of restoration. The only one that’s currently assembled is ‘Black 3’ which eventually will be a static display at the Norwegian Air Force Museum. ‘White 1’ will be the flying aircraft which will be based in Kissimmee once it’s completed. Parts for the aircraft are scattered across the country at various sub-contractor’s to restore, but a lot of the restoration is taking place in house and the final assembly will be done in Kissimmee. The White One Foundation also has a large collection of Luftwaffe memorabilia, ground support equipment, tooling and other interesting artifacts on display for the visitors to view.

In addition to two main attractions of the museum there is also a collection of engines and several other flying aircraft. What’s really unique about the Kissimmee Air Museum is that it’s an operational living exhibit. With the exception of the restoration projects, all the aircraft in the hangar fly on a regular basis and none of them are roped off behind barriers

away from the public. You can roam around the airplanes as you please and ask the mechanic’s and pilot’s all the questions you want.

The most interactive experience of all is of course taking a T6 flight with one of Warbird Adventures experienced instructors. You get the front seat and the whole experience is hands-on. Everything is recorded on a 3 camera DVD and there are still pictures available as well off the wingtip. They’ll talk you through loops, rolls and whatever other aerobatic maneuvers the T-6 is capable of that you desire to perform. If you’re already a pilot, make sure to bring your logbook, so your instructor can sign it for you.

For further information check out www.kissimmeeairmuseum.com or give them a call at (407) 8707366. Next time you’re in Orlando on vacation, make sure to stop by Kissimmee Air Museum.

Warbirds September 2008

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