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Celebrating American History on Independence Day

Museum Guests Medium.jpeg
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 04, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The National Museum of World War II Aviation brought American History to life for a special Independence Day Celebration on Thursday.

Museum guests were treated to a demonstration flight of a Grumman TBM Avenger, a Navy torpedo bomber. Like all of the aircraft in the museum fleet, the Avenger is fully restored and functional.

"We start it up, run it up in front of the people which they never get to see because normally you're doing it out by a runway," said Bill Klaers, Museum President and CEO.

The planes spend roughly six months each year indoors when the weather is less optimal for flying. In the warmer months, museum guests can purchase a ticket to tour the Westpac restoration facility and sign up for a lecture series to learn about the history of an individual plane. Klaers said the Museum will fly its P-38 Lightning on Saturday, July 13.

The Museum's collection includes several restored World War II-era military vehicles.

"All of the vehicles that we have operational, half-tracks, scout cars, jeeps, are out here doing free rides," Klaers said. "It's like a free-for-all day for the price of a regular ticket."

This entertainment comes with an education. Volunteers taught children the fundamentals of flying with an aircraft-building activity. They could also hop in the seat of a flight simulator at the Museum.

Thomas Flynn and his brothers were eager to showcase their designs when the News 5 cameras stopped by.

"I love aviation," Flynn said. "It's one of my favorite things about the military."

His father, Mike, said the museum visit was Thomas' idea.

"He came running into our room and asked if we could come out here. So, here we are."

Klaers said the Museum values STEM education programs.

"It's not just a museum where you walk around and look at a few cool things. You interact."

That interaction keeps alive the history of a pivotal time in American history for new generations to learn from and enjoy.

"We just want to give something back to the people, the members that we have here, we're always trying to put on special events," Klaers said.

The next big event at the Museum will be the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show on August 17-18. It's a rare occasion for all of the Museum's aircraft to fly at once. The Navy Blue Angels will also visit Colorado Springs for the first time to be part of the event.

Tickets are available online. Klaers said many special tickets have already sold out.
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