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Visit the Antique Airfield Near Blakesburg, Iowa.

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If you take a drive along Bluegrass Road in Iowa, between Ottumwa and Blakesburg, you will eventually come across an airfield. You won’t see people loading up their luggage and taking off to sunny destinations. In fact, the runways are grass and if you take a look around, time seems to be frozen: in the 1930’s.

This airfield is better known as the Antique Airfield and it is also home to the Antique Air Association, Inc. and The Air-power Museum. Perhaps the most obvious display here is pride.

It all began back in August of 1953 when the Antique Air Association was formed by Robert L. Taylor, along with friends and family, and advertised via a classified ad in Flying magazine.

The Association’s headquarters were located at the Ottumwa Airport in Ottumwa, Iowa. It was the first of its kind, dedicated to antique and classic aircraft, and while many others have come and gone, the Association remains as strong and steadfast as it was in 1953.

For many years, the Board of Directors for the AAA had suggested adding an air museum to the Association’s goals and agenda. In 1964 this became a reality when the University of Iowa donated several aircraft engines from its discontinued aeronautical engineering program. The Airpower Museum came to life in 1965 and was also located at the Ottumwa Airport.

The Antique Airfield started in 1970. It was located on land privately own by Robert Taylor and his family. This same year, the AAA Board of Directors approved the changes needed to be chartered as a State of Iowa non-profit corporation. When the property next to Taylor’s came up for sale, the land was purchased and the Airpower Museum, along with operations for the Association, were relocated to this property.

Since that time, the Antique Airfield has grown tremendously. It is dedicated to civilian aircraft of the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. The collection includes approximately 40 aircraft, plus many kinds of models, engines, and memorabilia. The planes date from 1927 to 1950 and about 25 are currently on display. A handful of the planes are licensed to fly at any given time of the year, allowing the Museum to fly on special occasions and fly the aircraft to Fly-Ins to have on display.

The Museum has a 4300 square-foot dedicated library and research center which contains over 4,000 volumes of books and even more issues of magazines.

The AAA, Inc. was and still is the world’s oldest antique airplane association.

The visiting hours are Monday – Friday 9-5, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 1-5. The Airfield is run by a very dedicated group of volunteers who not only dedicated their time but also their talents. The pride in their passion is evident throughout the Antique Airfield. You can visit www.antiqueairfield.com for more information.

November/December 2009 Aviators Hot Line WARBIRDS

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