By Ryan Thayer, Executive Director/CEO, Fargo Air Museum
As we approach the end of the year and take a look at the year of 2021, the Fargo Air Museum has many things to be grateful for. We added two different youth camps this year, STEAM and Introduction to Aviation, as well as an adult education series, History Nights. Look for even more education expansion in 2022!
We have new exhibits featuring the Blue Angels and our Military Spotlight exhibit to help celebrate each and every military branch. The museum has two new interactive exhibits! We received a North Dakota Main Street grant and a very generous donation from the Warren B. and Irene O. Diederich Fund to be able to finish and open our virtual reality flight simulator lab in June. I-Sight Drones also donated a new drone cage and mini drones to fly. As members, you can get free time in the flight simulator lab and in the drone cage! Make sure to check them both out.
And probably the most exciting news of all is the continued restoration of the BT-13 and a new restoration project, the Stinson Reliant. The remaining pieces of the Stinson Reliant have arrived at the museum after spending many years at the Casselton Regional Airport. We are eagerly looking forward to starting the restoration process on this incredible vintage aircraft. The Stinson Reliant V-77 Gullwing is a gorgeous single-engine, five-seat, high-wing monoplane, powered by a radial engine. It was developed as a civilian sports and executive aircraft in the mid-1930’s and was popular in the private and commercial market in the U.S. and overseas. The United States Air Forces in WWII used it as a utility aircraft, designated UC-81 and as a trainer designated AT-19. After the war, they were sold on the civilian market as the Vultee V-77. The V-77 was a spartan version of the SR-10 with the 300 horsepower Lycoming R680-E3B engine, a single door on the left side, and the traditional “bump” cowl was replaced with a simpler smooth cowl. It is an amazing, historic aircraft that we plan to restore to an airworthy condition. We are currently looking for volunteers to help with its restoration!
We are very thankful for all our sponsors, donors, friends, staff, our Board of Directors, and the community for all your support! We could not have a special place like the Fargo Air Museum without your support. So on behalf of all of us at the Fargo Air Museum, we would like to say thank you for all your help and support!
Ryan Thayer is the Executive Director/CEO of the Fargo Air Museum. He has been involved with aviation since birth, received his solo license at 16, and his private pilot’s license at 18 from the University of North Dakota, as well as an Entrepreneurship Degree. He has always been passionate about aviation and business and is thrilled to be able to pursue both of his passions at the Fargo Air Museum.