Moving In…Slowly

We’re moving in…slowly! Before Wisconsin’s #stayathome order kicked in this week, we got some of our display engines out of storage and moved in to the new hangar. They look right at home!

Left to right; Milwaukee Tank “Skymotor”, Lycoming R-680 (thought to be one of the oldest Lycoming engines in existence), Continental A-40 factory cutaway, and a Wright J-4.
These rare engines will join six more that are undergoing restoration at this time.
We’re still fundraising for Phase II of our museum building. Stay tuned for updates or donate today at:

Eileen Vollic

“As I sat in the cockpit I felt quite at home, fear never entered my head and when I saw the earth recede as the winged monster roared and soared skyward, and the familiar scenes below became a vast panorama of checker- boarded fields, neatly arranged toy houses, and silvery threads of streams, the pure joy of it, gave me a thrill which is known only to the air-man who wings his way among the fleecy clouds…”

Eileen Vollick, writing about her first flight. March is Women’s History Month! Eileen became the first licensed female pilot in Canada on March 13th, 1928. She was 19 years old at the time. Read more about her story here:

How to Fly – 1934

Miss flying? If you can’t take to the skies for real, try the next best thing! Here’s a fun little How To Fly film from 1934, featuring a Command-Aire 5C3.

The explanations and instructions are pretty solid, but there are a few questionable moments – a solo parachute jump on your first flight, hmm…

I think it’s especially cool that the student is a woman! Happy Women’s History Month!

Powder Puff Derby 1930-31

What a lineup! The Powder Puff Derby at Long Beach, California circa 1930-31. Can you spot legendary aviatrix Pancho Barnes?

At the archives in Kelch Aviation Museum, we have a copy of Pancho’s logbook! Looking through it is like looking over her shoulder. Consider donating to our archive fund to help keep this and other treasures safe and sound:

March is Women’s History Month! There are so many amazing female aviators. Who are your favorites?

Fly American! 1933

Feeling a bit cooped up inside? Watch this promo video for American Airlines from 1933 and satisfy your airline travel blues!

Kelch Aviation Museum is still working hard – from home. Times are tough but we are committed to sharing the joy and magic of flight with the world. Donate today to help us keep our engines running (literally and figuratively) at

Sundays and Quarantines

Sundays (and quarantines) are great for building model airplanes! Here’s a lovely piece of cover art from the Junior Mechanics & Model Airplane News. Who here made models as a kid – and who here still makes them? We’d love to see – feel free to comment with photos!

At Kelch Aviation Museum, we’ve got a wonderful (and growing) collection of beautiful handmade models, donated to us from around the country. We’re working hard to keep these and all our other treasures safe and accessible; please consider donating now to our archive fund at Every little bit helps.

“Women Come and Help!”

“Women Come and Help!” Anonymous artist, 1917.

The 1910s, 20s, and 30s were the golden age of posters, and so many of them feature aviation! Here’s a poster from the UK, recruiting women for manufacturing jobs in the aviation industry during WWI.

March is Women’s History Month! We’re celebrating the impact women have had on aviation throughout history. Stay tuned for more posts – and please, consider donating to our archive fund, to help keep history preserved and presented!

Women Aviators of the Allied Army

Those daring aviatrices! A news article from the Times Dispatch, November 1st 1914. Would women make up the next flying corps?

The article mentions record-setting lady pilot Helene Dutrieu, who we featured yesterday:
“One of the most daring of women aviators is Mademoiselle Helene Dutrieu of France. She was the first woman to perform the loop-the-loop trick, that “death defying stunt that made men’s blood stand still when they first saw a man do it.” Mademoiselle Dutrieu did it as coolly and cleverly as any man. She is a tall, siender girl with an exquisite figure, as supple as a bamboo and as strong as steel. She,has carried a man passenger very
often and is therefore well qualified for war aviation, in which two persons in a machine are almost a necessity. Mademoiselle Dutrieu received the Legion of Honor decoration for her exploits. She would undoubtedly make a daring leader of fighting aviations.”

Hélène Dutrieu

Throwback Thursday, aviatrix edition! Here’s a photo of Belgian pilot Hélène Dutrieu, the “Girl Hawk”. In 1910 she reputedly became the first woman pilot to fly with a passenger. In 1911, she was the only woman in a field of 15 pilots competing for the King’s Cup air race, which she won, becoming the first woman to win an air race. A year later, in July 1912, she became the first woman to pilot a seaplane.

There was a minor scandal early in her aviation career when it was revealed to the press that – the horror! – she did not wear a corset while flying. No time for that silliness, though: Hélène was also a cycling world champion, stuntwoman, actress, automobile racer, wartime ambulance driver, and director of a military hospital. Whew!

March is Women’s History Month. There are so many amazing female pilots, and we’ll be sharing their stories -stay tuned!

Queens of the Air

Here’s a wonderful bit of film footage of the first all-women’s flying meet in Northampton, England! I love the candid shot of the pilots hand-propping – a familiar sight at Brodhead, but I haven’t seen anyone in outfits that spiffy.

March is Women’s History Month! This footage features many famous female pilots, among them Mildred Mary Petre (more commonly known as Mrs Victor Bruce), a British record-breaking racing motorist, speedboat racer and aviator in the 1920s and 1930s.