MT. PLEASANT, Texas (KLTV) - One of the best-kept secrets in East Texas is once again opening to the public. The Mid America Flight Museum at the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport has over 40 flying vintage aircraft on display.
At the Mid America flight museum there are a lot of flying things to look at, but Director of Operations Kelly Mahon is going to tell us about two.
“This airplane is a 1933 Lockheed Vega,” Mahon said,
It’s the same type Emilia Earhart flew. And:
“This is a 1940 Spartan Executive,” Mahon said.
Which appealed to well off businessmen.
“They built 34 of them. There’s about eight or nine of them left flying today. And designed and built by students at the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa Oklahoma. And Spartan School of Aeronautics is still there today training A&P mechanics,” Mahon said.
Mahon says Mid America has had it a couple years and has won grand champion at the Oshkosh air show.
“In today’s world this is the pinnacle of antique airplanes. If you have a Spartan executive you are really somebody,” Mahon said.
It’s polished aluminum because paint is heavy.
“A paint job on that airplane would probably be worth 40 pounds,” Mahon said.
He says that equals less the plane can carry. And the Vega is:
“One of eight built with an aluminum constructed fuselage. The rest of them were all wood. This airplane was sold originally to a meat company in Iowa. And it went through a couple owners and then was an airliner for Braniff. It was based here in Texas. It was a cargo platform, an executive hauler and it was still faster than the fighters of the day,” Mahon said.
He says Earhart chose it because it’s heavy duty, has space for tanks, and a hatch to get in the cockpit, and this one is famous.
“It was used in a movie about Emilia Earhart in ’76,” Mahon said.
And if that’s not enough, well there’s about forty more at the museum. Get there early.
The Mid America Flight Museum is reopening Saturday April 17 from 8am to noon. It’s at the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport just south of Mt. Pleasant on Highway 271. Admission is free. Wearing masks is optional. It’s only open on Saturdays.