CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The new facility for the Carolinas Aviation Museum is taking flight after a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.
105,000 square feet of space near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport will soon become a hub for learning about the history of flight. The new space for the museum will also be renamed to honor Capt. C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City in 2009, a feat deemed the "Miracle on the Hudson". In fact, that same plane is among the more than 45 historic aircraft that will be featured on the campus.
"This is why we are so fortunate, so incredibly fortunate, to have the business and community leaders here to join us with local and state leaders to address this vital need with the museum," said president Stephen Saucier during the ceremony.
All of those aircraft need the space to spread their wings; right now, they're all housed in just one hangar near the airport, but the new museum campus will feature a collection of buildings for them, which was previewed with artist renderings shared by the museum. The new buildings will also have space for other special experiences, including flight simulators, interactive exhibits, STEM education programs, and more immersive media opportunities.
Vilma Leake, Mecklenburg County's commissioner for District 2, especially praised the education programs the Carolinas Aviation museum plans to offer for young minds inspired to take to the skies.
"I want to say thank you for putting your hearts and your minds into making a difference for those that need it the most," she said during the ceremony.
The new campus for the museum is slated to open in 2023 thanks to the help of donors, including business leaders like American Airlines.