By Angela Williams, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 28, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 28, 2012) -- Almost 40 of Fort Rucker's hidden treasures are one step closer to being displayed as a scale model of a future addition to the U.S. Army Aviation Museum has been completed and placed at the entrance of the museum.
The model offers visitors a glimpse into the interior of a facility that will include numerous video screens, two theaters, a computer simulation lab, exhibits of major helicopter components and almost 40 additional aircraft, several of which are the only example that exists in the world, according to Steve Maxham, the museum's director.
"This is what's coming next," he explained.
The theme of the new building will focus on research and development, Maxham said. It's more about the science and engineering than military history.
"If you come into [the current] building, everything you see is history," he said. "But this will be the technology that gave us that history."
The additional aircraft for the new building are already a part of the collection at Fort Rucker, but are not displayed for the public, according to Maxham. Some of the aircraft slated for display include the first tandem-rotor craft and the only Lockheed CL-475 ever built.
"These represent key steps in the evolution of helicopter technology," Maxham said. "They represent the thinking that got us to where we are today."
Many of the aircraft are also singular examples of rotary-wing technology, he added.
"They're the only ones that exist," he said. "If we keep them locked up, no one gets to see them."
The museum addition will also feature a large central atrium surrounded by video screens playing clips of various aircraft in flight or simply a view of the sky.
"It will be like sitting down, looking up and watching them fly around," Maxham said.
The building project has always been a part of the museum's plan, Maxham said, but the model was the first real step toward the plan's completion. The next step is a fundraising campaign through the Army Aviation Museum Foundation.
If you're going to be raising money to do something, you need to be able to show people what you want to do, Maxham said of the model.
"You can have all the ideas you want, but if you can't paint that picture in someone's head, they don't know what they're giving you money for," he said.
Though the museum has added the model and has big plans for the future, it is also reducing the number of hours it is open each week. Starting Sunday, the museum will be closed on Sundays. The museum will continue to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
For more information on the museum, visit www.armyavnmuseum.org. For more information on the Phase 2 project, visit www.usaamuseum.com.