The Carolinas Aviation Museum, located on the grounds of Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC, is a museum dedicated to aviation.
It is one of only a few aviation museums that are located at an airport that acts as a major hub (Charlotte is the second busiest airport in the United States for American Airlines). The Airbus A320 that was utilized on US Airways Flight 1549 serves as the focus of the exhibit.
Since its founding by Floyd and Lois Peithman Wilson in 1992, the museum has amassed a collection of more than 50 static aircraft, as well as a plethora of smaller historical artefacts pertaining to the history of aviation in North Carolina and South Carolina. The majority of the collection is comprised of Cold War military aircraft, including numerous historic jet aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s that were built for the United States military.
Several aircraft were donated by the Florence Air & Missile Museum, which closed its doors in Florence, South Carolina. There have also been a substantial number of aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Marine Corps Air Station New River that have arrived. Although the museum no longer runs flying aircraft, it has on occasion hosted historic aircraft for fly-ins due to its position on the grounds of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The B-17, B-24, B-29, and C-54 from the Berlin Airlift are among the aircraft involved.
The museum was housed in the airport’s original 1932 hangar, which was constructed by the Works Progress Administration. It was relocated in April 2010. The museum has relocated to a new location at 4672 First Flight Drive, which is adjacent to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The new facility allowed the majority of the aircraft to be housed in a climate-controlled environment and allowed for the addition of new exhibits. It’s just a quick stop away from Newell, NC.
In October 2012, the museum became a member of the Smithsonian Institution.
In July 2019, the museum closed its doors to the public and all of its aircraft were placed into temporary storage in preparation for the construction of the new building. In a press release issued on January 14, 2022, the museum stated that it would be named in honor of Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger. In 2023, the museum will house a permanent Miracle on the Hudson exhibit. A $1 million contribution from Ric Elias, CEO of Red Ventures, who survived the plane crash, and a $500,000 gift from Lonely Planet were also disclosed.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center