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World class museum to be Aerospace Valley magnet

As tens of thousands of visitors drive toward the west gate boundary of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the weekend of Oct. 15-16 for the Aerospace Valley Air Show, their view to the south side of Rosamond Boulevard will encompass the construction zone for Southern California’s newest year-round visitor attraction, the Air Force Flight Test Museum and STEM Education Center.

In a presentation to the Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce luncheon on April 13, leaders of the non-profit Flight Test Historical Foundation briefed the business community on the museum project’s status and development activities.

Art Thompson, co-owner of Lancaster-based Sage Cheshire Aerospace and chairman of the FTHF Board of Directors, reported that although completing the museum foundations last year opened the way to raise walls, the pandemic disrupted the supply chain for building materials and created spikes in the price of steel reinforcements.

Never-the-less, Thompson and Lisa Sheldon Brown, museum foundation Director of Education and Community Outreach, reported initiatives to turn 2022 Air Show traffic into the first wave of an ongoing aerospace technology pilgrimage, and to restore a must-see West Coast Air Show Classic that launched in 1957.

Noting that the existing on-base museum’s collection has outgrown available space, and the museum is now largely inaccessible to civilian visitors due to base security concerns and health issues, Thompson pointed out that the new museum site just outside the base perimeter is an ideal location for welcoming both foreign and domestic visitors.

More than a museum, the new campus will be a center for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) studies and technical career education, an archive and library for records and offices of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the home of Bob Hoover Library.

Recovering from pandemic setbacks, the museum foundation has increased its private sector financial campaign for major sponsorships, while retaining and enhancing existing outreach for community membership and donor support.

Families, charitable foundations, and companies can sponsor aircraft and/or exhibits as well as having opportunity to sponsor a classroom or building at the new museum.

Sponsorship opportunities range from an entire historic aircraft or a structure, to brick pathways and donor walls. The FTHF’s marketing materials and website are geared to recognize donors and sponsors at all levels.

“We have Friends of the Museum levels that include gifts with donations, inclusion on our Donor Wall, and invitations to special events,” said Brown.

There is also a Paver Program: For a donation of $100, the donor’s name, or that of someone else to honor or remember, will be engraved on a brick pathway lining the already existing Century Circle of famed military aircraft.

This display area overlooks the new Flight Test Museum location just outside the West Gate of Edwards AFB.

Brown said, “The Sponsor-an-Airplane program is an opportunity to support the preservation of the iconic aircraft in our collection and support the construction of the new museum. The director added, “Companies, organizations, and individuals are recognized in various ways for their contributions. Each sponsored airplane will include a plaque on display in the museum, recognition on our website, and acknowledgment as partners in our education and preservation endeavors.”

Each sponsorship is also attached to a construction milestone (ie. concrete, insulation, etc.) to show exactly what each contribution is helping support during construction.

For more information or to contribute, email lbrown@flighttestmuseum.org

Annual Friend

Museum Friends who wish to make a yearly donation as an Annual Friend receive an FFTM card, a certificate, Foundation patch, a 15% discount in the gift shop, newsletter, and invitations to Friends’ events and activities. Contribution levels are: Regular – $50, Student – $25; and Corporate – $500 (Same as Regular & Student plus 2 tickets to a gala event of the donor’s choice.

Life Patron

All Life Patrons receive an FFTM card, Foundation patch, 15% discount at gift shop, newsletter, invitation to FTHF events, plus membership for life certificate, the book “Flight Testing at Edwards,” and a fine art lithograph “Golden Age of Flight Test” signed by aviation artist Mike Machat.

Senior Patron (Age 60 and older) – $500

Bronze Patron – $1,000. (Same as Senior Patron plus a name plate on Patrons’ Wall in Museum.

Silver Patron – $5,000 Same as Bronze plus a plaque near the entrance of museum.

Gold Patron – $15,000 (Same as Silver plus the sponsorship of an exhibit with a second plaque of recognition at the exhibit and a third for home or office.

Platinum Patron – $25,000 (Same as Silver plus the sponsorship of an airplane with a second plaque of recognition at the site of the airplane and a third for the home or office.

Diamond Patron – $50,000 (Same as Silver plus the sponsorship of an area of the museum with a second plaque of recognition in that area and a third for home or office.

Become a Friend

At the most recent count there are 86 aircraft at various locations on Edwards or elsewhere in the Aerospace Valley, each needing to be taken under the wing and adopted by a Flight Test Historical Foundation Museum sponsor.

In no particular order, the birds are:

  1. Beech UC-45J Expeditor, BuNo 67161
  2. Bell P-59A Airacomet, s/n 44-22633
  3. Bell X-1 (Mock up)
  4. Bensen X-25B Gyrocopter, s/n 68-10771
  5. Boeing C-135A Stratolifter, s/n 60-0377
  6. Boeing C-135C Stratolifter, s/n 61-2669, “Speckled Trout”
  7. Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress, s/n 52-0008
  8. Boeing “Phantom Eye” Test Vehicle, s/n 001
  9. Boeing XB-47 Stratojet, s/n 46-0066
  10. Boeing X-48C “Blended Wing”
  11. Boeing YC-15, s/n 72-1875
  12. Cessna NA-37B Dragonfly, s/n 73-1090
  13. Convair F-106B Delta Dart, s/n 59-0158
  14. Convair TF-102A Delta Dagger, s/n 54-1353
  15. Convair YB-58A Hustler, s/n 55-665
  16. DeHavilland C-7B Caribou, s/n 63-9765
  17. Douglas A3D-1 Skywarrior, BuNo 135434
  18. Douglas C-53D Skytrooper, s/n 41-20093
  19. Douglas F-10B Skyknight, BuNo 125850
  20. Douglas PGM-17 THOR
  21. Douglas TB-26B Invader, s/n 44-34165
  22. Fairchild T-46A Eaglet, s/n 84-0492
  23. General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark, s/n 63-9766
  24. General Dynamics F-16B Fighting Falcon, s/n 75-0751
  25. General Dynamics F-16B Fighting Falcon, s/n 80-0634
  26. General Dynamics F-16XL, s/n 75-0747
  27. General Dynamics F-16XL, s/n 75-0749
  28. General Dynamics NF-111A Aardvark, s/n 63-9778
  29. Gloster TT.20 Meteor, s/n WD592
  30. Grumman X-29, s/n 82-0049
  31. Gulfstream G2/G3 Shuttle Training Aircraft, (N944NA)
  32. Lockheed A-12 (Oxcart), s/n 60-6924
  33. Lockheed C-130E Hercules, s/n 61-2358
  34. Lockheed C-140A JetStar, s/n 59-5962
  35. Lockheed D-21B, s/n 525
  36. Lockheed EF-80A Shooting Star, s/n 44-85123
  37. Lockheed F-104A Starfighter, s/n 56-801
  38. Lockheed NC-141A Starlifter, s/n 61-2779
  39. Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter, s/n 56-756 (56-760)
  40. Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter, s/n 56-790
  41. Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, s/n 61-7955
  42. Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, s/n 61-7973 (On Loan),
  43. Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star, s/n 52-9846
  44. Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star, s/n 58-0669
  45. Lockheed U-2D, s/n 56-6721
  46. Lockheed YF-117A Nighthawk, s/n 79-10783
  47. Lockheed YF-22 Lightning II, s/n 87-0700
  48. Lockheed YF-94A Starfire, s/n 48-356
  49. Lo-FLYTE
  50. Martin B-57B Canberra, s/n 52-1576
  51. Martin Marietta MMC-845, s/n 01454
  52. McDonnell F-4C Phantom II, s/n 64-0741
  53. McDonnell Douglas F-15B Eagle, s/n 73-0114
  54. McDonnell Douglas YF-15A Eagle, s/n 71-0287
  55. McDonnell Douglas YF-4E Phantom II, s/n 65-0713
  56. McDonnell Douglas/Boeing X-36
  57. McDonnell F-101B Voodoo, s/n 58-288
  58. McDonnell NF-4C Phantom II, s/n 63-7407
  59. McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II, s/n 64-1004
  60. North American CT-39A Sabreliner, s/n 60-3505
  61. North American F-100A Super Sabre, s/n 52-5760
  62. North American F-86F Sabre, s/n 52-5241
  63. North American T-28B Trojan, BuNo 137702
  64. North American X-15 (Mock up)
  65. North American YF-100A Super Sabre, s/n 52-5755
  66. Northrop T-38A Talon, s/n 61-0849
  67. Northrop F-89D Scorpion, s/n 52-1959
  68. Northrop T-38A Talon, s/n 61-0810
  69. Northrop X-21, s/n 55-408
  70. Northrop X-21, s/n 55-410
  71. Northrop X-4 Bantam, s/n 46-676
  72. Northrop YA-9A, s/n 71-1367
  73. Piasecki H-21B Work Horse, s/n 52-8623
  74. Piper PA-48 Enforcer, s/n 48-8301002
  75. Republic F-105D Thunderchief, s/n 61-146
  76. Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, s/n 51-9350
  77. Republic YA-10B Thunderbolt II, s/n 73-1664
  78. Rockwell B-1B Lancer, s/n 84-0049
  79. Rutan Vari-eze, s/n N309V
  80. Ryan AQM-34J Firebee
  81. Scale Composites ATTT (Model 133)
  82. Scale Composites (Model 226), “Raptor D-2”
  83. Sikorsky CH-34G Seabat, s/n 53-4477
  84. Sikorsky H-3C, s/n 62-12581
  85. Vought YA-7D Corsair II, s/n 67-14583
  86. Vought YA-7F Strikefighter, s/n 71-0344

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