If you’ve ever looked up in the sky at an airplane and wondered what it would be like to fly that plane, you obviously have an interest in aviation, and if this is the case, taking advantage of one of the thousands of aviation museums across the country is a great idea. In the state of Ohio, there is a total of 14 aviation museums, and they are fascinating places to be regardless of why you’re there.
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This is likely to surprise a lot of people, but the state of Ohio is an important state in aviation history. In fact, a lot of aviation “firsts” happened in Ohio.
According to NASA, a total of 24 astronauts are from Ohio, and at least two of them have names you’ll recognize – John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.
Although North Carolina set the stage for the first flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright, these brothers actually hailed from Dayton, Ohio.
In addition, in 1909, Ohio became home to the very first airplane factory. Today, it consists of a few additional buildings and has built more aircraft than any other factory in the United States.
Besides airplanes, the city of Dayton is also known as the location where the very first army parachute was made, in the year 1919. If you’re curious about the museums in Ohio dedicated to aviation and flight, keep reading.
1. Tri-State Warbird Museum (Batavia)
This museum is open only on Wednesday and Saturday and is dedicated solely to educating people on the role of the United States in World War II. It has been open to the public since 2004 and consists of aircraft that include the Boeing Stearman 75 Kaydet, Grumman TBM-3S Avenger, Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk, and the North American P-51D Mustang, among others. There is a 12,000-square-foot hangar, and the museum itself is 5,000 square feet in size.
2. Historical Aircraft Squadron (Carroll)
Free to the public and open on Wednesday and Saturday, this museum consists of vintage items such as old military uniforms and even vehicles from past wars. It houses a collection of aircraft that includes the Stinson 10 Voyager, a replica of the Wright 1902 glider, Beech C-45B Expeditor, and the Rutan VariEze, among others. It is also a restoration facility for military equipment and aircraft, among other memorabilia.
3. Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society and Museum (Cincinnati)
Open on Monday and Friday, this museum is dedicated to the world of aviation within a 100-mile radius of Cincinnati, and it is home to aircraft that includes the Smith Termite, 1903 Wright flyer, Hovey Whing Ding II, and the Rutan 32 Vari Viggen. At nearby Lunken Airport you can see the Aeronca C-3 N16553, as it is located in one of the airport’s terminals.
4. Crawford Auto Aviation Museum (Cleveland)
Open daily most days of the year, the museum is the perfect place to visit if you wish to see hundreds of aviation-related artifacts. It houses roughly a dozen different aircraft for you to view and study, including the Curtiss Model E, a replica of the 1902 Wright glider, North American P-51K Mustang, and a replica of the Gransville Gee Bee R-1, among others.
5. International Women’s Air and Space Museum (Cleveland)
This museum includes free admission to the public and is open during regular business hours of the Burke Lakefront Airport. One of the many exhibits includes the Pilurs-Smith DSA-1 Miniplane, as well as photographs, textiles, artwork, and articles – all of which are solely dedicated to the involvement of women in the history of aviation.
6. NASA Glenn Visitor Center (Cleveland)
Open most days throughout the year, except for Monday from fall to the spring, admission is free and there is a great gift shop to purchase souvenirs of your visit. It is dedicated to the brilliant career of John Glenn and contains artifacts such as a real moon rock and the spacesuits worn during the Apollo and Skylab missions. You can also view the inside of the 1973 Skylab 3 Apollo command module, and view a suit issued to Buzz Aldrin.
7. National Museum of the United States Air Force (Dayton)
This museum is open daily most days of the year and is free to enter. It houses dozens of airplanes that include the Curtiss C-46D Commando, North American A-36A Apache, a replica of the Wright 1909 military flyer, and the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter, to name a few. In fact, the museum is also filled with satellites, cannons, missiles, and spacecraft to help you learn even more about this exciting branch of the military.
8. Motts Military Museum (Groveport)
If you’re interested in learning about all of the wars the United States has been involved in, starting with the Civil War, this is the place to be. There are airplanes to view – such as the Bell UH-1H Iroquois and the Hughes OH-61 Cayuse – as well as helicopters, tanks, and an LST Higgins Boat, one of only six of these boats in the entire world.
9. Wright B Flyer Museum (Miamisburg)
Free to the public and open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, this museum has a collection of planes that includes the Wright Model B Flyer and the New Wright Model B Flyer. There is a gift shop so you can pick up some great souvenirs on the way out, and you can get additional details by visiting them at www.wright-b-flyer.org.
10. MAPS Air Museum (North Canton)
This museum is home to dozens of aircraft and is open every day except for Monday throughout most of the year. Some of its many airplanes include the Sikorsky H-19D-2-SI Chickasaw, Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Douglas C-47B Gooney Bird, and the Bell AH-1S Cobra, among others. You can get additional information by visiting them at www.mapsairmuseum.org.
11. Liberty Aviation Museum (Port Clinton)
Open Friday through Sunday and by appointment only the rest of the week, this museum is a working museum that houses airplanes both for display and as working airplanes. Therefore, the planes housed there can vary depending on when you visit them. A few of the aircraft available to view and study include the Ford 5-AT-8 Tri-Motor, General Motors TBM-3E Avenger, and the CCF Harvard IV, among others.
12. WACO Air Museum & Aviation Learning Center (Troy)
This museum is open daily most days of the year and has a gift shop when you’re interested in a few souvenirs to commemorate your visit. Some of the aircraft housed there include a replica of the 1902 Wright Brothers glider, WACO Model ATO Taperwing, WACO Cootie, and the WACO UPF-7, among others. You can visit them at www.wacoairmuseum.org.
13. Champaign Aviation Museum (Urbana)
This museum is open Tuesday through Saturday most of the year, and its specialty is honoring those who served during World War II. Home to the B-17 Flying Fortress Champaign Lady, it also houses the Fairchild 24W-9, a replica of the Wright B, Boeing JB-17G Flying Fortress, and the Grumman C-1A (TF-1) Trader, among others. You can get more information at www.champaignaviationmuseum.org.
14. Armstrong Air & Space Museum (Wapakoneta)
Open daily throughout most of the year and every day except Monday from October to March, this museum is dedicated to Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon. It also houses planes such as the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Aeronca 7AC Champion, Razor Balloon, and the Douglas FSD-1 Sky Lancer, among others.