Colorado’s Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum influences and inspires more than 160,000 people per year, and to further its mission of introducing the dream of flight to its visitors, the museum recently announced construction of the Exploration of Flight Center at Centennial Airport in Englewood, CO. (APA).
The location of the Exploration of Flight Center at one of the country’s busiest general aviation (GA) airports is an important element of the project.
“The 15-acre campus located on the south side of Centennial Airport will serve our mission to inspire all people about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future,” said Ben Theune, Wings Over the Rockies director of marketing.
Centennial Airport’s CEO Robert Olislagers said that in 2001, then airport commissioner, the late Pete Ross, suggested the need for a museum at Centennial Airport. “I approached the museum at the time and offered to set aside property for that purpose,” Olislagers said. “In 2003, the Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority passed a resolution making it a reality.”
The placement of the Exploration of Flight Center at APA will add a new dimension by bringing younger generations to the airport, says Olislagers.
“As the second-busiest GA airport in the U.S., Centennial Airport handled about 333,000 operations in 2017, and probably half of that was business aviation traffic,” he said. “There are only a few grandpas left who take their grandkids out on the flight line or take them up for a flight, and Exploration of Flight aims to change that dynamic.”
The first phase of the project, scheduled to open this summer, is the 19,000 square-foot Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery.
“Our museum in Lowry will concentrate on the past, while the Exploration of Flight campus at Centennial Airport will focus on the present and future,” said John Barry, president and CEO of Wings Over the Rockies. “The facility will highlight the latest in aviation technology while serving as a model that airfields all over the nation could implement to help solve this aerospace personnel shortage.”