Kansas Aviation Museum
Magic & Comedy
at the Haunted Mansion
Spirits are attached to this old airport for a variety of reasons…
The Kansas Aviation Museum is at home in the old Wichita Municipal Airport terminal building that opened as Wichita’s main airport in 1935. This museum holds many valued artifacts from its past, including forty vintage planes; “some of the oldest and rarest airplanes and engines in the US.”
According to their website, “The museum houses a world-class collection of historic, significant and one-of-a-kind aircraft and aircraft engines; a huge archive with thousands of records, schematics, books, photos and more; and a wide range of additional aviation memorabilia.”
Plus the Kansas Aviation Museum has its own list of aviation notables all listed on the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame – “an impressive line-up of aviation heavyweights by any measure: state, national or worldwide.”
Tom and I were excited by not only the lovely architectural design found inside and outside of the museum buildings but also by all the exhibits and planes on display. This old Wichita Municipal Airport buildings were built in the Art Deco style making them very handsome indeed. Most of the Art Deco designs have been restored inside, and the windows are just fabulous to see.
The Kansas Aviation Museum has strong ties to the community, drawing people and kids interested in their classes, hear lectures and other educational opportunities and special events for all ages. To develop and continue to have community support is vital to the museum.
The Kansas Aviation Museum makes good use of the facilities by bringing in needed funds through renting its space as a venue spot for weddings, receptions and special events.
Museum offers many volunteer opportunities to accommodate both weekday and weekend schedules. They provide training and materials to ensure that you will have a successful and enjoyable volunteer experience.
In 1927, the city of Wichita bought 640 acres of buffalo grass sod destined to be the place for their Wichita Municipal Airport. Though construction of the Administration building was started in 1930, money and workers were not available until 1934 when New Deal funds and workers started up again constructing the airport. The Wichita Municipal Airport was dedicated in 1935.
During the 1940s, The Wichita Municipal Airport was one of the busiest airports in the country, with “a constant stream of incoming and outgoing commercial flights.” Besides civilian aviation uses, the War effort also moved in and used a large part of the airport. A new wing was built onto each side of the original terminal. The military could supervise the airplanes being built just across the street at Boeing and the Spearman Company.
In 1951, United States Air Force announced that they would build a new air force base, McConnell Air Force Base, that would have 6,000 personnel and that they would be taking over the Wichita Municipal Airport for pilot training. So, the city of Wichita moved their airport to a new location.
For thirty years, the Kansas National guard and the USAF used the Administration Building of the old airport. The administration building served the USAF as Building One of McConnell Air Force Base. Various halls and the old restaurant were revamped into office space.
When these buildings were no longer needed, USAF moved out and locked the doors, in 1984. However, the terminal didn’t stand unwanted for long as Wichita Aeronautical Historical Association was looking for a property to open their museum. The city of Wichita bought this property and by late 1988, leased the property to Wichita Aeronautical Historical Association. Their volunteers came in and went to work, making the building presentable for a museum!
Not wanting to rest on the status quo, the Wichita Aeronautical Historical Association has new goals to reach. They want “to build an aircraft display facility to protect and display its priceless collection of preserved and meticulously restored aircraft.”
They want “to transform the interior of the historic terminal building into a center for aviation history, research and education to match its irreplaceable assets and to do justice to Wichita, the Air Capital of the World.”
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Tragedies that are associated with planes and other forms of transportation can cause spirits to want to attach.
(Dayton Air Force Museum: Strawberry Bitch * Dayton Air Force Museum: Lady Be Good * Dayton Air Force Museum: Bockscar)
The Kansas Aviation Museum has on display some planes that had fatal accidents.
For example, the Stearman Model 4D, Serial Number 4027. The “Junior Speedmail”, a bi-plane sold to the Texaco Company in 1931. It was flown by Texaco pilot J. D. “Duke” Jernigan on many assignments. Though I can’t find hard evidence that points to this particular plane, it is said by quite a few sources that J. D. “Duke” Jernigan had an accident and died while flying. Maybe this happened around 1937, when Texaco sold this plane.
Other spirits who died in their planes may be here as well.
Places where soldiers’ or civilian remains were processed during wartime or non-wartime accidents often have some spirits who stick around, perhaps not ready to accept their deaths.
(USS Lexington * USS Iowa * Union Train Station at Ogden * USS Turner Joy)
Remains of soldiers killed in South Viet Nam were processed through here when this was a military airport.
When properties are restored from their sometimes dilapidated condition to their original glory, or moved to a place of honor, they can draw back spirits who loved them while alive.
(Custer House * Henry Hill House * Geiser Grand Hotel * The Connecticut Colonial Foxhill Farm Parlor Room)
Past travelers, and past employees of this old airport could be drawn back due to its restoration efforts.
Kansas Aviation Museum volunteers took what was left of this Stearman Model 4D, Serial Number 4027. These gifted volunteers miraculously put the meager parts together with the fuselage, made parts or traded for missing parts, returning the plane to its original former glory, including its handsome original paint job.
“The four wings and wing center section, including hardware, ribs and spars were all built from scratch in our shop as well as the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator. The beautiful instrument panel, seats, all sheet metal, upholstery and furnishings were all fabricated in our shop. All of this was accomplished without factory drawings. Using dimensions from other Stearman Model 4’s under restoration, KAM volunteers re-created the necessary drawings. More than 9,000 KAM shop volunteer hours have been expended on this project.”
The spirit of J. D. “Duke” Jernigan, who loved this plane, must be ecstatic.
Other planes have been restored as well, pleasing other spirits who are connected to these planes
When items that were part of someone’s life or when people are honored for their life’s work, are on display, spirits attached to these items or mentioned in honorary displays often like to come and visit.
(Speed Museum * Lilly Library, Indiana University * Redwood Library * Belcourt Castle)
There are a lot of exhibits here that apparently are of interest to spirits.
Shadows and Apparitions
Have been seen wandering the halls and hanging around various exhibits.
Music and announcements from another era are heard by today’s staff and visitors.
Staff have heard happy murmurs, disembodied voices of cheerful folks looking forward to their plane ride.
Staff have heard doors slamming, perhaps from a frustrated spirit.
The Male Spirit of J. D. “Duke” Jernigan
Apparently can’t resist enjoying the newly restored Stearman Model 4D, Serial Number 4027; a plane he enjoyed while alive.
He may have already been attached to the plane’s remains. This spirit may enjoy sitting in the cock pit, remembering all the fine flying he did in this beautiful plane.
This spirit has been seen moving around the plane as well.
A Male Spirit in a 1940s Hat
He may be attached to something on display, or may be attached to the airport building: a former employee or former traveler.
Apparently, this spirit wants attention from the living. He appears and then disappears in front of the living visitors and staff.
A Big Yes Indeed! Apparently, both spirits and people are enjoying the restored terminal and all the great exhibits. Others are working out feelings, and others are reliving all the good times they had while in this world. Since the museum has opened, many people have had the experiences listed above Hard evidence has been caught by paranormal investigation groups like Kansas White Noise Paranormal, pointing to the existence of many spirits here.
3350 George Washington Blvd.
Wichita, KS 67210
The Kansas Aviation Museum is located across the street from Boeing Aircraft and is surrounded by The McConnell Air Force Base.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr