It was Thanksgiving weekend and brother Bob came to visit from Corpus Christi. We usually go hiking or running together outside but it rained and rained and then rained some more this weekend. Plus I have dragged him to the Gilcrease and Philbrook museums several times so, time to hit the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium.
The place is packed full of airplanes of various types and there are all sorts of helpful but not intrusive volunteers to answer questions or just chat.
Tulsa has quite an aviation history. American Airlines has a major maintenance base here. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Air Force Plant 3, also known as the Tulsa Bomber Plant manufactured during World War II: A-24 Dauntless Dive Bombers, B-24 Liberator Strategic Bombers, and A-26 Invader Medium Bombers. Peak employment during the war was over twenty three thousand people. During the Cold War up until 1957, the plant built B-47 Stratojet Strategic Bombers and B-66 Medium Bombers.
Tulsa is also home to Spartan Aviation. An 87 year old company started by oilman W.G. Skelly in 1928 and then later by another Tulsa oilman, J. Paul Getty. Spartan was a manufacturing company in its early years and later a pilot, technician, and mechanic training organization. According to Spartan’s web site, Getty sought an officer’s commission when the war started but was told what he needed to do was hand over his oil company concerns to others and to concentrate his talent on Spartan because the military was depending on Spartan to train military pilots. They are still in business today and have trained over 87,000 pilots. They advertise that they can get you “airline ready” in 33 months. If interested check their website. Financing available, tell them Yogi sent you.
I don’t think any airplanes are being manufactured in Tulsa any longer but American Airlines and its associated contractors are still a major contributor to Tulsa’s economy. Any big bond issues generally have some millions of dollars of goodies in there for American to keep from moving their jobs somewhere else.
Oh yeah the museum has fun stuff like a model airplane flight simulator also as Logan found out.
Brother Bob tried it out also.
We bought tickets for the Planetairium. They have a bunch of different programs offered frequently during the day. The one we watched was “Earth, Moon, and Sun” and they also had a short program on the status of the former planet Pluto and another program on Light Pollution.
Anyway we had a good time. Go check it out if you are in the area! Their web site is loaded with good information.