Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World. About a hundred years ago, a handful of aircraft manufacturing companies were originally established in Wichita, and to this day, a lot of leading aerospace corporations still operate out of Wichita.
The Wichita Metropolitan Area also has a lot of airports relative to its size, including the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, McConnell Air Force Base, Beech Factory Airport, Cessna Aircraft Field, and Colonel James Jabara Airport.
Naturally, I decided it would be a good idea to check out the Kansas Aviation Museum, a three-story indoor and outdoor hybrid museum with various aircraft, aircraft parts, and informational exhibits on display.
It was getting progressively hotter into the afternoon, so I decided to check out the outside area first. There were a lot of aircraft parked on the concrete, many of which were from the United States Air Force.
There were also some smaller aircraft assembled and set up indoors as well; that area of the museum seemed relatively new and still under development.
I don’t know too much about the inner workings of aircraft, but a lot of the iconic components were extracted and individually put on display as well.
My favorite part of the museum was actually the children’s area, because it’s where most of the hands-on exhibits were housed. Although it was a little too cramped for me to step in, there was a miniature model of an aircraft cabin set up. There were also some simulation stations where you could use a controller and joystick to emulate flying a plane.
And of course, it wouldn’t be the United States of America without a machine gun.
The last area of the museum I visited was the control room, which you could access by going up a few flights of narrow stairs from the third floor. It gave sweeping views of the area to emulate what an air traffic controller would see.
I was also able to see Spirit AeroSystems’ south hangar, which had long rows of aircraft parts lined up, presumably for Boeing planes.
The extent to which I know about planes is the names of the models of the commercial aircraft that I usually fly in, and the areas and seats of the plane that are most comfortable and don’t have limited recline… so going to an aviation museum wasn’t exactly the most insightful or stimulating experience. Regardless, it was nice to see some of the inner workings of aircraft up-close, and I’m glad I got to see something that Wichita is known for.
That wraps up this leg of my trip; tomorrow, I head over to Kansas City, on the border of Kansas and Missouri.