Written by: Paige Rodawig- Senior, Morningside College
As visitors make their way through the museum, their eyes will be drawn to a retired United Airlines Boeing 727-100 cockpit. This aircraft flew commercial flights across the world before going out of commission. While the cockpit is not ready for viewing quite yet, this centerpiece for the museum gives visitors a sense of what luxury commercial transportation was like in the 1960’s.
In this area, you can imagine the thrill of commercial flight when ladies and gentlemen dressed up like they were going to a party, and service was first-rate. The food was first-rate as well! On display at the museum is a serving set of fine china and silverware from the days when a full meal was served at no additional cost! The meals didn’t vary between first and second classes. However, gold-trimmed plates were exclusive to first class. If your plate had a silver trim, you were in second class. No matter where you were seated, the food was freshly cooked at each airport, and then carefully transported onto the plane. Depending on the time of your flight, you were served a full and hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner. United Airlines was an innovator in commercial aviation. For example, they were the first airline to start using computers during the ticket process.
The MAMAT museum has Irving Jensen III, a Sioux City native and owner of the cockpit, to thank for this amazing display. Irving has always been interested in aircraft and taking on projects, and this cockpit restoration is certainly one of his largest! The cockpit was recovered in a aviation salvage in Mississippi just South of the FedEx headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The first class seating area is displayed on the museum floor behind the actual cockpit, and features a film about the Sioux City Orpheum Theater restoration. Eventually, this cockpit and surrounding display will be an area for people to gather, view films about the history of aviation and transportation in Sioux City, and explore what it was like to be aboard one of these planes.
Come see the Boeing 727-100 while it is being restored! We cannot wait for it to be finished so you can step inside.
Written by: Maggie Ganley- Senior, Morningside College
As visitors walk into the soaring lobby of the museum, they are greeted by a locally home built replica of an early 1900’s French Nieuport 11 airplane. The plane marks the first time America became heavily involved with air warfare. Looking back to February of 1916, a fleet of Nieuport 11s were sent out to help with the Battle of Verdun--one of the longest and bloodiest battles during the war.
In the early 1900’s, the United States didn’t see a need for aviation. It wasn’t until the U.S. got involved in World War I that a true need for air defense for our country arose. At the time, the U.S. didn’t have an air-force, so any American who wanted to learn to be a fighter pilot, had to train in France. Once the pilots were trained, they doubled as both bomber pilots and forward observers in the single engine, single seat Nieuport 11. During combat, the pilots would act as bomber pilots, flying over the enemy with their racks of hand grenades, pulling the pins, and throwing the grenades overboard. As forward observers, the pilots would record information about the enemy troops as they flew overhead. They then put their notes into a canister and dropped the canister off over their home base.
The Nieuport planes, weren’t originally well equipped for combat. In fact, the first Nieuports had issues with their machine gun mounts. The guns weren’t timed with the propellers properly so they shot the propellers off. However, engineers soon resolved this problem. After adding the timing chain, which ensured that the machine gun would only fire when the propellers were in the horizontal position, the pilots were able to properly mount and use machine guns during battle.
The Nieuport 11 at the museum was built by Bob Heath, a Sioux City native, from plans drafted by Graham Lee of Canada. The aircraft is a flyable, ⅞th scaled version of the original, because the full version would need a larger engine. This was Heath’s first home built aircraft inspected by the FAA and received an Airworthiness Certificate. He acquired knowledge about planes and their construction while in the U.S. Air Force. The airplane was mostly constructed in the basement of his house. Upon completion it was reassembled outdoors.
Come see the Nieuport 11 at the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation (MAMAT) and immerse yourself in America’s proud history of flight.
Written by: Pam Mickelson
The Gilchrist Foundation awarded two capital campaign grants totaling $102,624 to the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation to help fund gate access to the museum and install energy efficient lighting for museum artifacts.
Plans called for a swing gate that reduces maintenance and manpower so aircraft can have access to museum property. The gate will allow future warbirds and Fly In participants a safer and better access to the museum after taxiway improvements are completed by the City of Sioux City and the museum.
The lighting project funded new fixtures and lamps for the 30,000 sq. ft. building. The new lights are better for the museum artifacts and energy efficient. …. In addition, new fans were installed to aid in air circulation to make the visitor experience more pleasant as well as also being energy efficient. Since the installation of both new lights and new fans electric bills have drastically been reduced.
"We are thankful for the Gilchrist Foundation. Its impact will be felt by future visitors," says Dr. Pam Mickelson, museum board president. "We are especially proud of Gilchrist board members in their continued dedication to supporting the air museum."
Larry Finley, museum Executive Director, said “the lights have been on my list for years to improve. The original halide fixtures were very hard on artifacts as well as the eye. Return visitors have enjoyed the new lighting.”
Mark Your Calendars! The Spring 2019 Pancake Breakfast and Fly In is set for April 6. Enjoy John The Pancake Man's breakfast, entrance to the museum, and the opportunity to listen to aviators and car collectors talk about their passions. There will also be a car show with a best car announced at 11:30 am. To enter the car show, just buy a ticket to the breakfast and fill out a form at the front desk. The winner of the car show will receive family passes to the museum, a museum gift basket, and an invitation to display their vehicle for 30 days at the museum. There will also be a raffle for a museum gift basket at the event. Purchase your tickets here. or at the front desk the day of the event.
Stay tuned as we add exhibit talks.
Updated April 4, 2019
The museum has partnered with Morningside College advertising and marketing students who are taking their senior capstone class. Dr. Pam Mickelson chose the museum as the client for the students to work on from August 2018 to May 2019.
The student are currently conducting market research on the museum, and next semester, they will use the information they gather to create an advertising campaign. As part of their market research, the students created a survey to determine local awareness and attitudes about the museum.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey! The students learned a lot of valuable information about local perceptions of the museum.
The students are having a lot of fun working for the museum, They’ve been enjoying frequent trips to the MAMAT and lots of afternoon coffee.
The Beverly Belles of Denver joined the Midwest Honor Flight to make the Hangar Dance a success.
The evening included dance lessons for the Dordt College dance team, a concert with the Beverly's, dance, a taste of wine, costume contest, and a silent auction. Benefits from the bank funded one last flight of honor with the Midwest Honor Flight and the air museum educational programs.
Raymond Hansen Knudsen, Grandfather of museum intern Eamon Adamson, served in the 69th infantry division of the U.S. Army from 1943-1945. He was born in Buffalo Center, Iowa in 1924 eventually moving to New Jersey. He grew up during the Great Depression, which caused him to be very resourceful and creative, one of his trademarks. Drafted in July 1943, following his graduation from high school, Raymond was given the nickname "the Swede" because of his Scandinavian heritage. He was actually Danish but didn't mind "the Swede" nickname.
He originally trained to be a pilot but before finishing his training he was called to serve in the infantry due to immediate need of men. He arrived in South Hampton, England by way of the troop transport ship MS John Ericsson. It was Christmas Day 1944 700 men from his division were sent to the Belgium front helping the German offensive. The German army attacked in mid December 1944 creating a bulge in the American lines. The battle for this area would be called "The Battle of the Bulge."
Raymond arrived in Le Havre, France where 810 replacements brought to re-fortify the division and make ready for combat. He specifically remembered the snow being deep and the wind very cold. His regiment, the 272nd went into action along the Siegfried Line. The troops lived in log-covered dugouts for protection against enemy artillery. Raymond was part of the telephone section, in an interview with Raymond Knudsen, "Our main tasks were to find and repair breaks in wire. Repairing the wire breaks was tough because we had to do so in all kinds of weather and at night. To keep up with the infantry units, we were moving all the time."
He had many stories of "close calls". Among them was a time while driving his jeep, German artillery punctured several cans of juice. Ray remembered the bubbling sound as the juice ran over the floor of the jeep. The shrapnel missed Ray by mere inches.
One other time Ray and his men were surprised by a German tank. The tank fired point blank at Ray and his crew and missed hitting a brick wall instead. For some reason the tank didn't fire again but left. Had that tank tried one more fire the outcome for Raymond could have been very different.
Raymond survived the war to return to his family eventually marrying Mary Ann Shull and having 5 daughters. One of those daughters is Audrey Adamson mother of intern Eamon Adamson. Raymond worked for Bell Telephone Company for many years in New Jersey. He died in 2013 but lived long enough for Eamon to spend time with him and hear first hand some of his stories. Raymond's other trademark was his thankfulness. He never took anything he received for granted. He loved God, family and country. Veteran's Day meant a lot to Raymond and I can't help but remember him on this day.
The Experimental Aircraft Association, local Chapter 291, has awarded 14-year-old Kevin Farias with a $4,000 "Matching Funds Award". This award will pay not only to attend group school but will pay for his aircraft rental and instructor expenses. This award is given to those who truly desire to pursue a career in aviation. Kevin's interest in aviation began after his father spent 11 years as a pilot in in the US Navy. Farias said, "I feel encouraged so that maybe in the future I can get my pilots license and then maybe one day I can apply for Naval Academy in Annapolis."
On behalf of everyone at the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation we wish you good luck, Kevin!
Check out the link below to see the video: