I spent the other Sunday fulfilling my quarterly obligation to perform a day’s desk duty at the South Australian Aviation Museum.
Actually, ‘obligation’ is hardly fair. As the only thing expected of SAAM volunteers apart from a modest annual membership fee, I see my quarterly desk duty as excellent value for money.
A Sunday spent greeting visitors and chatting with a couple of other Museum members is far from onerous. It’s more a reminder of how pleasantly an interest in aviation can unite people. If the folks who are drawn to planes, aviators and aviation stories are anything to go by, the dream of flight is a reflection of our better selves.
I know there’s a ‘nightmare of flight’ too… But it’s driven by the strictly earth-bound business objectives of airlines and airports.
And it’s hardly flying.
Flying is what little kids do when they come through the front door and first see the planes. I see my 5-year-old self in every one. Flying is what the quiet old men do again (the ex-pilots are always quiet) as they move through the hangar reflecting on their dreams and adventures.
Unfortunately, I can’t share the full magic of desk duty online. I can only suggest you get in touch with an aviation museum neat you and offer them some of your time. They’ll appreciate the help – and no aviation museum should have to close down for want of volunteers.
A brief tour
Meanwhile, I did take the opportunity to sample the Museum’s awesome collection for you. And this is just a sample, not a catalogue, so be sure to come and visit when you’re in South Australia.
Oops. I forgot to include a link to the Museum website. You’ll find more details on the full collection there, latest news and events, plus past issues of the monthly newsletter and more.
14 thoughts on “Aviation Museum”
Very nice, thanks for posting this!
Thanks. Absolutely my pleasure. 🙂
Fantastic coverage of a truly fantastic museum.
Thanks Andrew. I need to do the same for the TAVAS Museum sometime soon! (Or feel free to send a set of photos and I’ll do it from here.)
You mentioned that a Vampire performed the first landing of a jet aircraft on a carrier deck? That prototype Sea Vampire still exists, and its pilot, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, RN, was the late Patron of The People’s Mosquito (we are building a Mossie, from scratch). A truly amazing man! http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk
Correct on all counts, Andy. On their Vampire page, BAE systems has a photo of Brown ‘landing’ (looks like taking off to me) on HMS Ocean on December 3rd, 1945. SAAM also has an example of the much-evolved Sea Vixen in its display.
Great tour of your museum! Kudos on supporting such a worthy cause and organization. I have always wanted to get involved with the Lyon Air Museum at SNA but just haven’t found the time… yet.
It’s so hard to fit everything in, isn’t it. Truth be told, if I wasn’t already locked into helping at SAAM (a legacy from when I had more time to spare) I probably wouldn’t have the time either. As it is, I now see Desk Duty as a mildly enforced opportunity to set aside a day for my passion and their continued operation. Losing a local airport is the topical frustration for the aviation community, but I think losing an aviation museum would be a special kind of pain.
Lovely post David! Took me right back to my Sundays at The London Air Museum, a rather grand title for a museum situated in a stable block off the North Cray Rd between Bexley and Sidcup, but we were always busy! The only reason that the museum closed, was because the owner of the stables wanted that block back in order to sell the whole lot. I recall how sad we were dismantling the collection and sending/taking most of it to other museums or a storage area.
That sounds like a sad and slightly unnecessary end. When a museum has to close, it is quite literally broken up.
I always felt so! I loved volunteering there, but I was only 14 then and had no say in the matter! I went on to join the Air Cadets and The Kent Gliding Club. Not the Spitfires and Hurricanes I flew in my imagination, but the Chipmunks, T-21’s and Blaniks that I became lucky enough to fly for real! Literally, “the best days of my life”!
I’m no guru or anything, but I will just add what I tell my children: Remember what made you happy when you were little – and keep doing that. 🙂
Nice. Reminded me of the time I lived in Alice Springs and the generous volunteers of the Aviation Museum in Connellan Airways’ old hangar beside the original airstrip, now a suburban street called DeHavilland Drive if memory serves me right. Those volunteers were/are legends and a parade of bespoke local fashions has been held among the interesting aircraft for the past few years.
I’m not sure if it used to be the old airstrip or not, but the Central Australian Aviation Museum is still going strong in the old Connellan Airways hangar on Memorial Drive. (If it was an airstrip, it’s well ploughed under now!)