By Henry M. Holden
On July 7, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey, located at Teterboro Airport (TEB), held an open cockpit day. The admission-free event provides a rare opportunity for access to vintage airplanes from the pilot’s point of view—the cockpit—an inspection that’s not normally possible in a museum setting. Four vintage aircraft were open for the event: an HH-52A Coast Guard air/sea rescue helicopter; the world’s only surviving Martin 202A, a 1950s passenger airliner; an Army Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter; and a rare Lockheed Bush Master.
“Typical open cockpit days at the museum bring in 60 to 70 visitors,” said Steve Riethof, vice president of the museum. “Despite the 95-degree heat, oppressive humidity and vacation time, the day drew a steady stream of visitors.”
Because the museum had a number of requests, this was a specially scheduled opportunity for children.
“Our Martin 202 is open always to the public because it’s a walk-in airliner, but the Cobra and Coast Guard helicopters aren’t because they might be dangerous for kids,” Riethof explained. “On open cockpit day, we make sure we have docents, guides and sometimes pilots there to supervise each cockpit and provide additional information about interesting features to our visitors.”
During this event, visitors have free access to the museum, which features films, interactive exhibits, models and engines. Popular for children are the three flight simulators donated by Jet Aviation and Little Cut Up, a mock-up of a single-engine airplane. A Martin-Baker ejection seat and a hot air balloon basket are also on display.
“Our other major functions are Wings & Wheels Expo, featuring World War II, military and modern civil aircraft, on Sept. 15-16, and the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner in May,” Riethof said.
An exciting yearly event is Santa’s arrival by helicopter.
“Teterboro is a no-fly zone for sleighs,” Riethof laughs.
Founded in 1972, NJAHOF is dedicated to the preservation of the Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. The men and women whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
For more information, visit [http://www.njahof.org].