We Have Grass!

The grading is done and the grass seed is down around the new hangar. Let’s hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate!

New Landscaping Underway

Mother Nature finally relented and our landscaping is underway around the new museum hangar. A new driveway and parking area are in on the east side, and grading backfill is under way in preparation for a lot of grass seed!

Thanks to Kranig Excavating Inc. of Albany, Wis. for the fine work.

Fairchild-Caminez Engine Moves to the New Hangar

Today, we moved one of the rarest items in our collection to the new hangar; this Fairchild-Caminez cam engine.

Forget what you learned in engineering school, this radial has an even number of cylinders, not an odd number like every other radial engine. A cam drive mechanism converted the motion of the pistons to rotary motion by means of rollers in the pistons operating a double-lobed cam on the main shaft. There is no traditional crank shaft.

The Caminez was the very first type certified aircraft engine in the US, and aside from one in the Smithsonian that is not on display, we believe it to be the only one in existence.

Amelia Earhart Across the North Atlantic

On May 20-21st, 1932, Amelia Earhart, flying a Lockheed Vega, became the first woman to make a solo flight across the North Atlantic. She took off from Harbour Grace in Newfoundland, and landed in Derry, Northern Ireland, 14 hours 54 minutes later. Here she poses with her red Vega shortly after her arrival in Ireland.

Check out this cool original footage of Amelia’s Harbour Grace departure:

Pandemic Post Office

At this time, we’re all relying so much on airmail, and yet it’s barely 100 years old! On this day in 1918, the USA Post Office made the first scheduled airmail trip between New York and Washington, D.C. Here’s some fun original newsreel footage of that important day! Keep an eye out for President Woodrow Wilson, and the Curtiss “Jenny” Army plane repurposed as a mail plane.


Lindy in Milwaukee

We posted a photo of our Charles Lindbergh statue last week. Here’s a photo of the real man, in Milwaukee in 1927.

Moving Charles Lindbergh

We moved Charles Lindbergh into the new hangar today – with proper health precautions, of course…

Let this photo go on the record: at Kelch Aviation Museum we’re doing our part to keep the world healthy!

Interesting Masks

When we’re not working from home, our staff wears masks. We know we may look a bit odd, but we aren’t the first ones – check out this very, um, interesting, mask situation from the 1918 flu pandemic!

Stay safe, everyone.

Pirsch REO Fire Truck

An awesome piece of local history has joined the museum, on permanent loan from the Brodhead Fire District. This Pirsch REO fire truck was purchased new by the city in 1923 and was in service until 1953. Restored in 1982, it has been in countless parades and celebrations, and on display at the “new” fire station since 1994. The crews wanted better exposure for her though, and needed the space in the fire house for newer equipment.

Look for the REO in the new “Bill & Sue Knight Memorial Vintage Airplane and Automobile Hangar” when the museum opens to the public. We’re grateful to the Brodhead Fire District for trusting us with the ol’ girl, and we promise not to test the siren and bell too much!