Kansas Museum Opening Up Its Planes

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In an action almost unprecedented among air museums, the Kansas Aviation Museum will be allowing visitors to get inside eight of its historic airplanes on Saturday, June 21. At the fourth annual “Play on a Plane Day,” those who come to the museum at 3350 S. George Washington Boulevard in Wichita, Kan., will be able to get inside a KC-135 Stratotanker (which Boeing originally called the 717), T-33, F-84, Learjet 23, Boeing 727 and 737 and a Beech Queen Air. While some museums have special events that allow visitors to “cross the ropes” and get close to airplanes on display, almost none open up their airplanes and allow the public inside.

Visitors to the Kansas Aviation Museum repeatedly ask whether they can go inside the planes on the museum’s ramp, according to Kaitlin Whelan, a museum spokesperson. The museum doesn’t have the funds to monitor guests who go inside the planes, Whelan said, so this is the only chance during the year for the public to go inside. “All the upkeep of the planes, and restoration, is really expensive,” Whelan said. Volunteers will be at each plane Saturday to explain its historical significance, Whelan said. Regular admission costs apply, with discounts for seniors and military. “Although we call our city the Air Capital of the world, many don’t grasp Wichita’s historical significance in aviation,” she said. “All the planes in our museum have a story that helps us understand our city and state’s deep roots in aviation.”