Air Museum to host March Open Cockpit Day, Space Expo

Date: 3/5/2015

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. – The New England Air Museum will host Open Cockpit Day on March 15.

On that day, visitors will be permitted to climb into the cockpits of up to eight vintage aircraft, a full-motion flight simulator and two static flight simulators. The open cockpits include the Vietnam era “Huey” helicopter; the North American F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter; the Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon; the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter and more.

There also will be hands on activities for the enjoyment of the younger visitors during the event.  For the convenience of all, a food vendor will be on site serving sandwiches, snacks and hot and cold drinks. The event will be held inside the Museum’s three large, heated display hangars. Sneakers or rubber-soled shoes are recommended.

Also available on the day of the event will be the Museum’s Flight Simulation Spot which provides visitors with a high tech flight experience and an original play by Alison Moncrief Bromage featuring the Connecticut aviation pioneer and daredevil, Charles Hamilton, will be performed at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The Air Museum will also host its annual Space Expo March 29.  This is an opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology, as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry.

More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including UTC Aerospace Systems, the Aldrich Astronomical Society, the CATO Rocketry Club, the Clay Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US Space Camp, Society of Women Engineers, and Daniel Barstow of TERC and Windows on Earth.

Exhibits will include demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket and much more.

NASA Astronaut (Retired) Don Thomas will make two presentations – one at 11:30 a.m. and the other at 1:30 p.m.

Thomas has his doctorate in materials science from Cornell University. He started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories working on advanced materials and processes for interconnections of semiconductor devices. He then worked for Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company reviewing materials used in Space Shuttle payloads.

Thomas joined NASA Johnson Space Center as a materials engineer in 1988 and became a NASA astronaut in July 1991.  Thomas is a veteran of four space flights and has logged over 1,040 hours in space. He retired from NASA after 16 years and is now Head of the Willard Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University in Towson, MD.

The Space Expo will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the convenience of visitors, a food vendor will be on hand all day.  

This event is being sponsored by the Connecticut College Space Grant Consortium as part

The New England Air Museum is located near Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. For more information call the Museum at 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org. Admission is $12 for ages 12 and up, $11 for seniors 65 and up and $6.50 for ages 4 to 11. Children under 3 are admitted free.