Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

Scott Glover owns a pet food company in Mount Pleasant. He has a deep love for aviation and founded a museum five years ago to hold some of his planes. He named it The Mid America Flight Museum. Eight hangars are full of military and vintage aircraft. The oldest is a 1925 Waco 9 and the newest is a 1951 Albatross. Matt Bongers is the director of maintenance and the manager.

“When I started here six years ago to get the museum started we had seven aircraft. Now we’re pushing 60 aircraft. One of them is a TDM Avenger that saw action during World War II. It was involved in the sinking of two different battleships on the same day. Then it was part of the flyover during the signing of the Japanese surrender at the end of the war.”

The museum is open Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM.

“On an average day we’ll have a couple of hundred people walk through here. We’ve had people from all over the world. Some former military pilots plan their vacations around visits to the museum.”

Some planes go back to the dawn of aviation when there was little night flying. Matt showed me a Transcontinental Air Transport, a tri-motor plane.
“You could take it from New York to California. You would get on the tri-motor and fly all day long, and then get off the plane and board a train overnight. The next morning you’d get back on a plane and fly the rest of the way. You bought one ticket for both the plane and the train.”

The hangars are huge. In one you hardly notice two DC-3s in the rear of the hangar. Some of the planes were flown by flying aces who left diaries. Those are at the museum and are on the museum’s website at MidAmericaFlightMuseum.org. Matt showed me one plane with a significant history.
“We know the 18 paratroopers that jumped out of this aircraft on D-Day. We know their names, ranks and serial numbers. We have a gentlemen now doing an internship with us and he is doing deeper research into those men and getting to know their families.”

Dedicated volunteers help keep the planes in good shape. They all fly. Silver planes are polished to a mirror finish. There is no admission to the museum. Matt says the planes are here to preserve them for future generations.

“You don’t very often see this many historic and vintage planes in one place. These are meant to be shared. We promote history and want to honor the veterans for what they did for us.”

One of the planes was the personal aircraft of General Hap Arnold, military aviation pioneer.