EAA Aviation Museum Highlights the History of Flight

Peter (Pete) Killcommons is the chief executive officer of Medweb, a California company whose technology enables doctors to examine patients at a distance. An experienced pilot, Peter Killcommons is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). To inform the community about flying’s rich history, the group operates the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The first thing museum visitors see is a detailed replica of the Wright Flyer, the world’s first aircraft to carry a man under its own power. Exhibits tell the story of the Wright Brothers’ efforts to design and build a working airplane.

A seminal series of events in aviation history – the Apollo missions to the Moon – are featured in the Bowman Collection, which displays articles belonging to U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Borman. As an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Borman circled the earth for two weeks, and later became one of the first three human beings to orbit the moon in Apollo 8.

Earthbound military service is the focal point of WASP: Women Flyers of World War II. Over a thousand WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) flew American combat aircraft. These pilots contributed to the war effort by towing aerial gunfire targets, flying bombers, and conducting simulated strafing attacks. They opened the doors for the many women now engaged in military aviation.

Although the museum is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public can still get to know its airplanes virtually, through software that allows you to turn 360 degrees in the exhibit hall. Visit www.eaa.org/apps/virtualtour/eaglehangar-360tour-eaa.html to learn more.