By TED LUEBBERS
As my wife Joan and I travel around the country in our motorhome, we are always looking out for aviation museums.
As members of EAA Chapter 534, we have a keen interest in aviation.
Our home chapter is at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, Florida, but during the summer we travel up the East Coast to the state of Maine, where I spent my youth, to escape the Florida heat.
We discovered the Maine Air Museum a couple of years ago and recently stopped by again to renew our membership.
The Maine Air Museum is a bit different from many of the air museums we have visited because there are not a lot of vintage aircraft in a big hangar.
What you will find is three tied-down older planes outside and a large white rambling building chock full of aviation memorabilia organized to portray the history of aviation in Maine.
In the past, Maine was a jumping off point for aviation enthusiasts trying to cross the pond to Europe. Although Lindberg didn’t begin his flight here, he flew floatplanes several times to North Haven Island off the coast of Maine to visit his in-laws who summered there.
Amelia Earhart came here in March 1935 and took a number of Maine women up for their first flight, one of whom was Florence Latno, a member of the Maine State Legislature, my Aunt Flo.
During the World War II, Dow Air Force Base was located in Bangor until it was deactivated in the 1950s.
Brunswick Naval Air Station was located in the Southern part of Maine, and Loring Air Force Base, part of Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, was in the Northern part of the state. It is plain to see that Maine has a rich military aviation history.
Maine also has a very active “Bush Pilot” community flying fishermen into remote fishing camps in the North and Western part of the state, as well as small commercial aviation outfits servicing some of the off- shore Maine islands.
The Bangor International Airport still has a large United States Air National Guard unit and is serviced by several commercial airlines.
We recommend this museum to all aviation history buffs.
The Maine Air Museum is open the first weekend in June until the last weekend in September on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.