The museum is open 8:30AM - 12:00PM on the second Saturday of the month from May - October (This is when we host Young Eagles). All other times it is open by special arrangements only."
The museum is part of the Chapter 838 building at 3333 N. Green Bay Dr. It's the first building just north of the Racine Airport Terminal Building.
Commercial Aviation Pioneers: H. F. Johnson Jr.
SC Johnson Wax has a long and significant tradition of corporate aviation, dating back 70 years. The single most influential person in the development of the company, H. F. Johnson, Jr. was former chairman and grandson of the founder, SC Johnson. In 1929, he instituted the use of a Taperwing WACO as a marketing vehicle. A company executive would fly to cities with cases of liquid wax for local department stores. In 1931, he purchased a WACO cabin plane called the Johnson Waxwing. That aircraft traveled the United States to distribute Johnson Electric Floor Polishers to national contest winners and during the stopovers, gave rides to customers as well as contest winners. In 1935, he organized and participated in the Johnson Carnauba Expedition to northeast Brazil. The flight in a Sikorsky S-38 amphibian, was to explore the Amazon Basin in search of carnauba palm. This was the source of wax for the company's products. Johnson received his own pilot's license in 1932.
WACO Taperwing & Ed Hedeen
The 1929 WACO Taperwing is a 2 place open cockpit biplane. Powered by a Wright R-760 engine, top speed of the aircraft was 135 miles per hour, using 12 gallons of fuel per hour. This plane was used by the SC Johnson company as a marketing vehicle. It was flown by Johnson Company pilot, Ed Hedeen. In 1929, and again in 1931, Hedeen flew the plane on a 12,000-mile tour to distribute liquid wax to customers. Hedeen was a barnstormer and a world champion barrel roller. While on his tour for Johnson's, he participated in, and won many air cup races. During the time of his good will tour, airplanes were curious machines that attracted crowds. However, only very few aircraft were being used to promote a company's products. Ed Hedeen established Wisconsin's largest flying school at Air City Airport in Sturtevant.
Alfred W. Lawson & the University of Lawsonomy
Alfred W. Lawson was the designer and builder of the first passenger airliner. In 1920, Lawson built the Lawson L-2, an 18 seat twin Liberty-powered craft. In 1922, he designed the Lawson L-4. This aircraft was intended for night service between Chicago and New York, and was outfitted with berths and showers. Because of an accident during its trial flight, the L-4 never flew again. Lawson founded the University of Lawsonomy, near Highway 11 and I-94. The university was intended to produce "Master intellects of all times." Lawson's followers practiced vegetarianism and are opposed to all vices. The 40-acre tract, with a few small buildings, is still maintained. But there were never more than four or five students there at a time.
Carlyle Godske was a pioneer aviator, airport manager, and pilot trainer. He owned the Racine Flying Service and was the first owner and operator of Horlick Racine Airport. Despite an ongoing depression, Godske prospered in his 1932 establishment of an airport on the Brown farm, just west of Sturtevant. In 1941, he created what is now the present Racine airport on the A. J. Horlick property. During World War II, in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin, Godske provided flight and ground school instruction for hundreds of Army cadets.
Pacific J. "Fig" Landremann & Barnstorming
P. J. "Fig" Landremann was an early Barnstormer. At one time he attempted to set a world's record in the number of parachute jumps in one day. He failed due to a broken leg after jumping from dawn to almost dark. Fig was chief pilot for Jacobsen Manufacturing Company. Barnstormers were also known as boomers and sky pilots. The American craze of barnstorming, was a form of aerial showmanship and stunt flying that reached its peak activity during the Roaring Twenties. Most of the stunt fliers were aerial combat veterans of World War I. The plane that made all of this possible was the Curtis JN-4D "Flying Jenny." This aircraft was popular among pilots due to its availability from the war surplus market. Fig Landremann was elected to the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame in 1998.
This plane, originally built in 1946, has been meticulously restored. The skin of the aircraft is made of Irish linen. After its restoration, this Fairchild was displayed in many antique aircraft show fly-ins. Some of the awards it has won are displayed in the case. The control panel has been photographed and enlarged to be used an educational tool. This plane was donated to the museum by Mr. David Munroe of Racine.
Horlick Racine Airport Beacon
The Horlick Racine beacon was commissioned in 1929 as part of the lighted airway beacon navigation system. Twelve years later in 1941, it became an airport beacon at the Horlick-Racine Airport. Beacons were placed in strategic locations coast to coast. They were known to early pilots as "the flashing beacons and the light line." The beacons might just as well have been called "life lines." Before they came on the scene, pilots flying airmail routes flew across unlighted airways. The rotating beacons were mounted on 70-foot towers and could be seen by pilots up to 40 miles in good visibility. On the same platform were two stationary course lights, one pointing forward and the other backward along the airway. These were 500-watt lamps that projected a beam of 100,000 candlepower and fitted with red or green lenses.
Aviation Pioneers on Stamps
Almost a century ago, humans managed to lift themselves on wings from a sand dune at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. When the Wright brothers flew for the first time in 1903, the era of powered flight began. Aviation is a very popular topic among stamp collectors worldwide. The four frames with 36 panels contains stamps and covers from around the world. They trace the history of aviation through the innovators and pioneers who made it happen. From the Wright Brothers at Kill Devil Hill to Armstrong and Aldrin landing on the moon.
Classic American Aircraft Stamp Exhibit
On July 19, 1997, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of stamps depicting a collection of Classic American Aircraft. The aircraft chosen for the set are representative of the first 50 years of powered flight in America. It is a chronicle of aviation history from the days of wood-framed, fabric-covered contraptions to high-flying supersonic jets. The 3 frame, 27 panel exhibit displays the first day covers created by acclaimed aviation artists such as Jack Fellows and Steve Ferguson.
Secondary Issue of the Wright Flyer Stamp
As part of the ongoing marking of the centennial of powered flight, Chapter 838 participated in the second day issue of the Wright Flyer Stamp issued by the US Postal Service on May 23, 2003. The first day of issue was May 22nd at Dayton, Ohio. There were only five other postal stations participating in the second day issue nationwide, with Chapter 838 being not only one of the five, but the only EAA Chapter to participate. The chapter was approached in November of 2002 by the postmaster of the 4 Mile Road Racine post office. Designed by Bruce Renquist, the cancellation was unique for Chapter 838. Serge Logan hosted the cancellation at the 4 Mile Road post office. Along with the special Chapter 838 cancellation, pictures of the chapter's Wright Flyer and Wright Brothers trivia was displayed. Serge also brought along his collection of Wright Flyer stamps that have been issued throughout the world. Sorry, covers are now sold out.
New Carnuba Exhibit Dedicated
On May 29th, 2003, the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Museum held a dedication of the S.C. Johnson "Spirit of Carnuba" exhibit. The exhibit features a replica of the Sikorsky S-38 that Herbert Johnson used in his expedition to Brazil in search of Carnuba Palm stock. The exhibit also features the documentary made by Sam Johnson telling the story of his father's trip, and the retracing of the expedition done by Sam and his sons, Curt and Fisk. Sam was on hand to see the exhibit and talk with those gathered. He also gave a few words on the expedition, his good luck charms he had taken with, and his current and personal challenge against cancer. Tom Christensen, Chapter 838 President, told the audience, "That each exhibit represented someone's dream that came true. One in particular, the dream of a son not only to walk his father's path, but to fly under his wings."Earlier in the day, a group of students from St. John's Middle School in Racine got a "sneak preview" of the exhibit and video.
Spirit of Adventure - The Sikorsky S-38 Story
In 1935, Herbert F. Johnson Jr. and a crew embarked on an expedition to northeast Brazil. The purpose of this trip was to discover new stands of carnauba palms and whether existing growths could sustain the demand for raw material for Johnson Wax. The model S-38 aircraft was remarkable in its day, flying a number of history-making flights in the 1920s and early 1930s. One of which was Lindberg's 1929 inaugural airmail flight for Pan American Airways from Miami to the Panama Canal. Of the original 100 Sikorsky S-38 planes built, none still exist. This prompted Sam Johnson to have a replica built using the plane's original blueprints. The construction of the replica was done at Born Again Restorations in Owatonna, Minnesota. It took over three and a half years to complete, requiring more than 35,000 man-hours. Upon its its completion, it was christened the Spirit of Carnauba. The S-38 replica has a range of 550 nautical miles. Cruising speed averages 100 miles an hour. The aircraft is powered by two 450 horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr. engines. The upper wing spans 72 feet. In fall 1998, Sam Johnson and his sons, Curt and Fisk, embarked on a journey to replicate the original 7,500 mile trip flown in 1935. Their trip took 27 days and concluded successfully in Forteleza, Brazil.
John (Jack) L. Jerstad: Duty, Honor, Country
Major John Jerstad, is honored with an exhibit about his life in Racine and his distinguished military service. In August of 1943, Jerstad's unit, the 93rd Bomb Group, participated in the Ploesti-Titlewave Mission. Ploesti, in Rumania, was Europe's largest petroleum center. Its refineries and storage facilities were vital to Germany's war effort. Despite damage to his Liberator prior to the attack, Jerstad refused to drop out of the flight formation. He continued toward the objective. Subsequently, he and his crew were one of the 54 B-24's lost in the attack. Because of his valor, Jerstad was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Jerstad-Agerholm School in the Racine Unified School District is named for both Jerstad and Racine's other Medal of Honor recipient, Pfc. Harold Agerholm. For more information about WWII Combat Missions, try the USAF Museum-Combat in Europe, WWII.
A Military Legacy - Salute to Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Personnel
A log book pays tribute to persons from southeast Wisconsin who have served their country in aviation related assignments. More than two hundred service men and women are listed with photographs, articles, and information about their service years. This is an ongoing exhibit with names and information added as they become known.
Wind Tunnel Model
The wind tunnel is an apparatus for studying the interaction between an aircraft and an air stream. The model simulates the conditions of an aircraft in flight by causing a stream of air to flow past the model. The model is mounted so that lift and drag forces on it can be measured. The paths of the air stream can be studied by viewing the changes in the attached streamers.
Test Pilots - The Frontiersmen of Flight
Test pilots are a select group. These aviators put unproven new planes through their paces at such places as NASA's Dresden Flight Research Center at Edward, California. Flight research and flight-testing are a vital component of aviation. Whenever an aircraft takes to the sky, it follows in the wake of the test pilot and flight test engineers. The 3 panel stamp exhibit shows a series of test flight events. These mark significant milestones made in test flights.
The Kitfox II aircraft was a gift to the museum from Dr. R. C. Feulner of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The Kitfox is one of many aircraft that come in a kit form, and is constructed by amateur home builders. The aircraft is being shown as a "hands on" educational exhibit to explain how the plane is built and its features. Tiger Cub Scouts investigate the Kitfox.
For the past two years, members of Chapter 838 have undertaken a restoration and rebuilding project. The aircraft, a Piper PA22 Tri-Pacer, is being converted to a PA20 Pacer. The airplane was completely disassembled. After the original fabric covering was removed, a complete inspection of the airframe was made. Patches of corrosion and rust on the tubular fuselage were cleaned and treated. The nose wheel was removed and a new main landing gear was relocated and welded to the airframe to convert the airplane from a tricycle to a conventional landing gear configuration. A new instrument panel and firewall were made in the shop hangar using the old panels as templates. Repairs patches to the aluminum cowling were riveted in place, eliminating the potential for stress tears in the metal. Once the cleaning and treating of the structures are complete, the airframe will be covered with a new polyester fabric, much stronger and durable than the cotton fabric once used on aircraft. After the fabric is placed on the frame, hand irons are used to shrink the material, which is then held in place by hand stitching. Finishing tape is applied along the ribs to cover the exposed stitching cord. The green tint that is seen on the display wings is from the application of the fabric adhesive. Several layers of fabric dope and finally paint will be applied. The airplane controls along with the engine will be re-installed and checked. Extensive inspections and a weight and balance check will be done prior to the maiden flight, which is anticipated in about 2 years. The techniques and skills used by the chapter members were once common in the assembly of aircraft. This type of craftsmanship has been almost totally replaced by all aluminum and composite fabrication.
The Moni Motorglider was built by Mr. Bud Bossart of Racine. It is an all aluminum powered glider utilizing an opposed 2 cylinder engine rated at 25 hp @ 5200 rpm. The project was started in 1992 and completed in 1996 with the help of chapter members in the hangar workshop. The weight of the aircraft is approximately 300 lbs.
Ladish Company, Inc.
Ladish Company, Incorporated of Cudahy, Wisconsin is an advanced metal working company that supplies products and services to the aerospace industry. This exhibit discribes how a turbine engine operates with the application to various types of aircraft. It also explains how Ladish makes the the turbine discs from the metal stock shown on the left, to the finished product shown on the right.
John Moody had an interest in hang gliding. Due to the lack of hills in Southeast Wisconsin that could be used to launch a hang glider, he needed an alternative method to get airborne. Subsequently, he attached a 12.5 horsepower West Bend engine to his Icarus II hang glider. On March 15, 1975, west of Racine, he flew for 30 minutes in the first powered hang glider. Later, he added wheels to the aircraft. From all of this evolved the popular sport of ultralight aviation.