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.