From the Carolinas Aviation Museum

THE CAM News.  A Changing Newsletter for a museum on the move! 

directorFrom the Director  
On Saturday September 26th, the museum hosted the annual Smithsonian Museum Day Live! Although the weather was less than perfect, over 900 visitors came out to enjoy all the fun and activities. It was another successful event that could not have been possible without the hard work of both the staff and volunteers at the museum. A special thanks goes out to our sponsor of the event Time-Warner Cable and their Connect a Million Minds initiative. We would also like to recognize and thank the students from Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) who gave up their time on a Saturday morning to come out and lend assistance. With events such as this, the word is spreading that the museum is a must see destination in Charlotte!
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We were especially pleased to see parents supporting their children as they worked together to creatively design their own aircraft, launch bottle rockets, design and fly their own paper airplane in our test flight area, sit in a fighter jet cockpit, and listen to Flight 1549 passengers relate their experiences of how they were rescued from the Hudson River, and much more.

The day was made successful with help from our staff, volunteers, and visiting students from CPCC.

It was a day of education and great fun for all.  Feedback from the event was outstanding.   Check out the events of the day here.
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Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Top Ten Fastest Growing Megahubs
Image from

According to the Charlotte Business Journal, CLT is a major player in the world market.

  • 6th busiest airport in the US
  • 7th busiest airport in the world.
  • American Airlines Group, Inc is the worlds largest airline and CLT is their 2nd largest hub in the US and 4th in the world.
  • Ranks in the top 10 of the fastest growing megahubs
Read the entire article here.


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halloweenHalloween SpookTackular Coming to Carolinas Aviation Museum!!
Come out to the museum in your best Halloween outfit on Saturday, October 31st from 11am to 3pm.  Children 14 & under Free. Make and take crafts, costume contest, science experiments and treats! 
Don't miss this one!  Fun for all ages.
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stearmanSpotlight on the Stearman 
Star of the show -
Do you remember Cary Grant being chased through an open field by a bad guy piloting an airplane in the movie North by Northwest?   The biplane was a Stearman.  But in addition to being a movie star, the Stearman has become a star throughout the aviation world.  Even today, it is one of the most sought after of the old biplanes.  Virtually every pilot would like to fly a Stearman at some time, in part, because it is real "seat of the pants" slow motion.  And it's fun! 
Getting started -
Lloyd Stearman excelled in designing rugged, high endurance aircraft. After a few successes, he started the Stearman Aircraft Co. in 1927.  Although the company was successful, it was underfunded and Lloyd left just a few years later.  But he gave them one of his best aircraft designs...the aircraft that would evolve into the Stearman 73 and 75.   Later nicknamed the "Kaydet".

The Kaydet finds its niche'
In 1934 Boeing was forced to separate its airline (United) from its manufacturing operations making Boeing a separate business and shortly after the separation, Stearman Aircraft Co. became part of Boeing. 
Photo reprinted from Boeing
With this new influx of cash the Kaydet would go on to become the primary trainer of the US Military during WWII.   From 1934 until February 1945, the Stearman Aircraft Company, a division of the Boeing Aircraft Company, built a total of 8,428 model 75 airplanes in Wichita for the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy for use as primary trainers. During this time more American military pilots learned to fly in the Stearman primary trainers than any other airplane. Under the U.S. government's lend-lease program, the model 75's were also built and loaned for pilot training to the 13 other countries.

The U.S. Army's official designations for the Stearman model 75 were PT-13, PT-17, PT-18 and PT-27, while the U.S. Navy designated the model 75 as N2S-1, N2S-2, N2S-3, N2S-4 and N2S-5. The different military designations reflected different engines installed, (Lycoming, Continental and Jacobs), plus other minor installation changes.

At first glance, we would question why a seemingly obsolete biplane would suddenly become the aircraft of choice when it came to training pilots.  The answer is in the design.

The Stearman fuselage is stressed for very high positive and negative G loads. Its landing gear is a one piece over built structure that can take hard landings with no damage and the tail wheel shock strut is heavier than that of the main gear on many other aircraft. Although it is a "tail dragger" the tail wheel is steerable up to 35. The pilot sits in a position to "feel" what is happening with the aircraft. If a turn is uncoordinated, it is immediately obvious to the pilot and he or she can correct.  The aircraft sports a radial engine and weighs 1936 lbs empty. (By comparison our Cessna 150 trainer weighs 1650 lbs fully loaded).
Our Stearman is a PT-17, N2S-3...kind of.   It was built in 1941 and sold initially to the Army Air Corps. While stationed at Rankin Field near Tulare California (an airfield established at the beginning of WWII to train military pilots) our PT-17 was in an accident in which the novice pilot ground looped it on landing. There is little information after that until 1982 when a private owner sold it to an individual in Apple Valley, California for $3000.  It had already been "civilianized",  the serial number changed, and it was in poor condition. By 1985, The new owner brought it to air worthy condition with major restoration. In the FAA Airworthiness application, he noted that he had reconstructed both wings as per Stearman drawings and that it was built from parts of other aircraft. No one knows what it was used for but one of our volunteers who worked on the project said he believes the aircraft was traded for a different one.   It seems that it was substantially rebuilt using parts from other aircraft.  
pioneerFamous Aviators


Can you name this Famous Aviator?    

A)  Glenn Curtiss

B)  Wilbur Wright

C)  Dave Bonivtch

D)  Lincoln Beachey

E)  Glen Martin

F)  None of the above 


The answer will be in next month's newsletter. 


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 adsThe Early Years of Aviation  

More literature from the early years of aviation.  Most of the ads shown in the past were from the US.  This one from across the pond in 1912.

Editor's note:  The short brothers began their aviation career manufacturing balloons but after hearing about the Wright brothers success they decided they needed to move into powered aircraft.  The brothers obtained the British rights to build copies of the Wright design but they also designed their own aircraft.  They remained a successful company and in 1989 they were bought by Bombardier.  Although Green was well known motorcycle engines (much like Glenn Curtiss) but they also excelled in designing aircraft engines during the first 20 years of the 20th century.  Short Brothers aircraft were often powered by Green Aero engines.

spotter Plane Spotter 
Can you name the aircraft below?   Click on the link on the right side under the photograph for the answer.   
Be sure to check out our website at:
October          2015

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In This Issue
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CAM - 704-997-3770 

Wally Coppinger
Executive Director
Extension: 3771
Clint Bauer
Facilities Manager
Extension: 3041
Katie Swaringen
Education and Exhibits Director
Extension: 3772
Lynn Wyles
Senior Accountant
 Extension: 3777
Lindsay Stuber
Gift Shop Manager
Extension: 3780
Christopher Sandel
Volunteer Coordinator
Extension: 3778

Kent Lupton
Education Coordinator

Dave Bonivtch
Museum Programs Assistant

New Members

Ned Hibberd
Belmont, NC

Ryan Welsh
Charlotte, NC

Christa Sumwalt
Matthews, NC

Carolinas Aviation Museum