Mid Atlantic Air Museum
11 Museum Drive,
Reading, PA 19605
The story of Mid-Atlantic Aviation is not just the story of airplanes, but of ideas. It is also a story of productivity, perseverance, patriotism, and above all, the people that made these ideas a reality. The story of Mid-Atlantic Aviation begins with people.
From the first manned balloon flight in Philadelphia in the 18th century, to the space age, Mid-Atlantic Aviation is the story of men and women like…
William Piper, Sherman Fairchild, Giuseppe Bellanca, and Glenn Martin
Pioneers of Commercial Aviation…
Clifford Ball, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Harold Pitcairn
Innovators and Leaders…
Carl Spaatz, Billy Mitchell, Willard Custer, and Dr. George Spratt
Aviation’s heroes are not limited to the inventors, pioneers, pilots, and manufacturers, but also include the thousands of Mid-Atlantic residents touched by and a part of aviation history.
Called “the father of STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) aircraft”, Willard R. Custer worked for nearly 40 years to see Custer Channel Wing Corporation’s serial #1 CCW-5 (5 for five passenger) become a reality. Custer’s approach was based on the idea that it is the speed of the air over the wing, and not the wing through the air, which generates lift. In the channel wing, air pulled through the wing by the props combined with forward motion generated double the lift of a standard wing design, giving the aircraft very short takeoff and landing roll.
“Did you ever see a fixed wing bird… or a bird with a rudder?”
… Dr. George A. Spratt
The L-21B Super Cub, a model delivered in 1953, was a more powerful version of its predecessors, having a rating of 135 HP, compared to the L-4’s 65 HP engine. It also featured an improved fuel system, wing flaps, more instrumentation, and a higher gross weight. 568 L21’s were acquired by the Army.
The Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore produced a twin engine, 40 passenger, pressurized and air conditioned aircraft to replace the war-weary DC-3. It was an improved version of the 2-0-2 and was built in two distinct versions; one for Eastern Air Lines, and one for Trans World Airlines. In all, 103 4-0-4’s were built, of which sixty were delivered to Eastern Air Lines. Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, famous WWI Ace and president of Eastern, said that the 4-0-4 was the best airliner available, and that Eastern had worked with Martin in making some 260 improvements to the design. Said to be built like a tank, only three 4-0-4’s were lost in its ten-years of service, all due to pilot error and with no fatalities.
11 Museum Drive, Reading, PA 19605
business hours: 9:30AM – 4:00 PM