Airport to get military aircraft museum



A museum to display military aircraft and vehicles is planned at the Carson City Airport, with a preview slated for summer and construction to start in the fall.

Cactus Air Force received preliminary approval from the capital city’s Airport Authority to build the facility, which will be called the Wings and Wheels Museum. It will preserve and display military aircraft and vehicles spanning from World War II to the present.

“Carson City is a community rich with residents fascinated by aviation,” said Doug Thorngren, Cactus Air Force director of public relations and operations. He said his organization is pleased with the airport location.

Carson City Airport general manager Tim Rowe said the museum, along with promoting aviation and aerospace, “will encourage and nurture interest in the sciences as well.” He said the museum will offer residents and visitors of all ages a chance to experience aviation and military history “in an up-close and personal manner.”

Row­­e said Cactus Air Force is looking to lease space on the airport’s east side for the museum, and that it will give the airport’s governing board a more detailed look at building plans in a meeting soon.

“I believe that they are wanting to provide classroom space in their museum,” Rowe said, which he figured could afford schools an opportunity to bring in pupils for field trips to learn matters of science, aviation and aerospace.

The Carson City airport Rowe manages is now the fifth-busiest in Nevada and the third-busiest general aviation airport in the state.

The museum will consist of a 12,000-square-foot exhibit and event space with a museum store, plus several outside display areas and a large outdoor tarmac for the displays. It will be built to allow public access from College Parkway as well as runway access for aircraft.

Cactus Air Force will showcase the museum design as it displays more than a dozen military aircraft and vehicles during an airport open house from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15. Cactus Air Force aircraft and pilots will perform flybys during the event.

“We welcome the public to see firsthand the efforts of Cactus Air Force and other local aviation and aerospace organizations, companies and manufacturers at this year’s Carson City Open House — ‘Flight Plan for the Future’,” said Rowe.

Cactus Air Force operations and displays are scattered among various hangars and buildings in Carson City, Dayton and Silver Springs.

The craft aren’t available for public viewing except when involved in events and air shows, but they will be when the museum is opened. Plans are to keep it open to the public with regularly scheduled business hours.

The museum will be a privately owned and non-profit organization that restores military aircraft and vehicles to original design and function. Cactus Air Force’s museum includes a staff of pilots and mechanics, many of them military veterans.


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