EAA Airventure Impressions
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As you drive in you can tell that the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) AirVenture Museum is a class act.  The grounds are quite large and the EAA has chosen to develop the grounds with landscaping, ponds, sculptures and memorials, and a few static displays.  On the grounds are the main museum build, a grass runway, a row of hangars for the "Pioneer Airport" which houses historical aircraft and buildings, and a dorm for youth camps related to aviation.

The main museum building houses most of the homebuilt, all of the warbird and some of the antique/classic collection.  The lobby immediately impresses with a high glass-enclosed gallery containing three Pitts Specials suspended in a starburst:

Pitts Specials suspended above the lobby

The main hall it built with a multi-level presentation, where visitors enter on the upper level and follow a zig-zag suspended walkway through the upper level of the hall, followed by a path back through on the lower level.  Aircraft are hung and located on the floor, and the relatively low three-story height and darkened museum with spot lighting was a good mix of three-dimensionality and aircraft in flight while still maintaining good visibility for the suspended aircraft.  Only a few were located so all that you could see of the airplane was the bottom.  This is the aerobatic and air racing gallery from the upper walkway:

Aerobatic and racing gallery

The biggest bummer I had with the displays was that the main display galleries were too dark for good photography with my limited-range digital camera.  This is also from the upper gallery showing the classic and WWI aviation areas, with aircraft types such as a Cessna glider, a Fairchild 71, Fairchild 24, and a Monocoupe shown.

There is a large warbird hangar attached to the main gallery, which I thought was a good presentation but not as good as the main gallery.  It included a Mosquito, Grumman Duck, Stinson L-5, Fleet PT-3, P-38, and others.

Warbird hangar with De Havilland Mosquito and Grumman Duck

The docents were aggressive in grabbing visitors as they entered the main hall and they were extremely friendly and informative.  I thought this was a great touch and set a welcoming tone to visitors who may not be very aviation savvy.

I also appreciated the richness of the exhibits.  While all aviation related, there was a great mix of aircraft types and historical eras, as well as good backup material in print, interactive mockups and dioramas, models, and a few films.  Besides the main gallery and the warbird hangar, there were a number of special galleries containing art and photography contest winners, old aviation magazine covers, and a gallery containing restorations in progress.

One thing that I thought was lacking was an summary exhibit of all the different parts of general aviation and the benefits that general aviation brings to the transportation system.  I think this would be appropriate for this museum's themes and for the charter of the EAA.

Overall, plan on spending at least 4 hours at the EAA museum if you're at all interested in civil aviation.  Very professional but accessible and captures the feel of general aviation.