Wade D. McNabb spent his childhood among Beech Staggerwings, if you can imagine that. His father, Glen, was the curator of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and the family owned three Beech D-17s.
Today, McNabb is chief executive officer and curator of the same museum, and it’s his responsibility to care for the collection of aircraft that his father oversaw. His day job takes him on business trips for American Plumbing, but “being the curator is my hobby and my passion,” he said.
The Beechcraft Heritage Museum will host AOPA’s final 2015 Regional Fly-In on Oct. 10 at Tullahoma Regional Airport. Fly-in attendees will receive free admission to the museum, which houses a beautiful collection of aircraft ranging from the classic Travel Air to the sophisticated King Air to the ahead-of-its-time Starship. Other notable aircraft include the 1929 Travel Air Model R, a Golden Age racer built in secrecy that earned the nickname “Mystery Ship,” and a 1947 Beechcraft Model 35 V-tail Bonanza.
The museum buildings resemble those of a lodge, with red-beamed exterior and a patio with tables and chairs perfect for viewing the nearby runway. Inside, the legacy of Walter and Olive Ann Beech—“the power couple” of aviation who founded Beech Aircraft Co. in Wichita, Kansas—is everywhere, from the portraits of Walter and Olive Ann to the technical library that McNabb calls “the brains of the facility.” A log cabin attached to the main building houses a library with air race trophies, logbooks, and flight suits owned by Louise Thaden, who along with Blanche Noyes won the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race in 1936. They were the first women to win the Bendix Cup. A 1929 Travel Air 4000, very similar to the airplane that Thaden raced, is part of the aircraft collection.
This AOPA Fly-In has been made possible by a generous grant from the AOPA Foundation. Visit foundation.aopa.org for more details.
Stop by the AOPA Village at the AOPA Tullahoma Fly-In Oct. 10, where our experts can answer your questions on a wide variety of topics. Bring your questions to the medical and legal professionals in AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services.
Thinking about buying an airplane, upgrading your panel, or adding a new rating or certificate? Talk to the team from the AOPA Aviation Finance Co. Get a quote for aircraft or hangar insurance from AOPA Insurance Services.
Peruse some of the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s award-winning online courses and learn how the institute works to make you a better, safer pilot.
Also try out AOPA’s flight planning tools, including the AOPA GO mobile application and the Web-based AOPA Flight Planner.