SIOUX CITY, IOWA — Captain Al Haynes, pilot of United Airlines Flight 232 (which crash landed at the Sioux Gateway Airport in 1989) will be on hand at the grand opening of the the MidAmerica Museum of Aviation & Transportation‘s new facility located at Harbor Drive and Expedition Court, just north of the Sioux Gateway Airport.
The museum’s grand opening festivities will get underway on Saturday, July 31st, with free admission to the museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. featuring Haynes. Captain Haynes will also be available to meet the public at the museum on Saturday.
Saturday evening Captain Haynes will be the featured presenter at the museum’s Grand Opening Banquet at the Sioux City Convention Center. The banquet is open to the public. Dinner/Presentation tickets are $35 per person and must be purchased by July 24th. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 5:45 p.m, dinner at 6:45 p.m. and Captain Hayne’s presentation at 8:00 p.m.
The Arizona Wing of The Commemorative Air Force, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, “Sentimental Journey” will also make an appearance. The World War II vintage aircraft will be available for tours and rides.
Forty-five-minute rides on Sentimental Journey can be purchased for $425 per person, with a minimum of five persons per flight. Passengers must me 18 years or older to ride on the aircraft. Proceeds from the flights go toward the maintenance of Sentimental Journey.
Persons who attend the Grand Opening on Saturday will also get a chance to see a Boeing-Stearman PT-17 biplane and a North American T-6D Texan on display. The Stearman is owned by Jim Miller of Dakota Dunes, SD, and the T-6D Texan is owned by Gary Jones of Dakota Dunes, SD.
The museum also has many displays of other full scale aircraft; a World War II P-40 Warhawk fighter plane recovered from the Everglades in Florida; a partial 727 fuselage painted in beautiful new United Airlines colors; a 737 cockpit meticulously restored as an operational simulator; models; military artifacts; uniforms; a United Airlines Flight 232 Display; and vehicles ranging from a 1913 Road Grader to a 1952 Jeep; a fire engine and much more. Other displays are being continuously added.
The museum actually opened its doors to the public on March 5th of this year and waited to have its formal Grand Opening until summer.
“This museum has something for everyone in the family and also serves as a tremendous educational resource for the community and surrounding area,” said Ray Edgington, President of the MidAmerica Museum of Aviation & Transportation. “We know that the Grand Opening of this facility is really only one step in our growth and development as an important cultural and community resource in Sioux City. But it is a major step in preserving and celebrating the rich aviation and transportation history of this area. We expect this museum to become a destination for visitors and community members alike, to come and explore again and again, and even become involved in their own way in the development and continuing education mission of the facility,” Edgington added.