Help Save the National Airline History Museum

Help Save the National Airline History Museum

DALLAS — The Airline History Museum (AHM), located at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC) has had its doors abruptly shuttered. The museum, Located in Clay County, Missouri, is involved in a continuing legal dispute with Signature Flight Support, the fixed base operator (FBO) located on the field. With the museum not being permitted access to maintain the rare aircraft within, their preservation is of concern. 

Signature asserts that an older lease governs AHM’s property lease, while documents that the AHM provided to Airways would suggest that a more recent, updated lease governs AHM’s use of the facilities they have historically occupied at MKC. All hangars, including Hangar 9, which the AHM calls home, are owned by the City of Kansas City and operated through agreements with the city. The AHM contends that the 2005 Master Lease and subsequent amendments allow AHM to use Hangar 9 rent-free through 2035.

One might ask why the museum has not paid any rent. Airways was provided with the second amendment of the 2002 Master Lease that governs this, which specifically states “NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the Premises, conditions, terms, and mutual covenants herein contained City and Concessionaire agree for themselves, their successors and assigns as follows:

That Exhibit “B”, Parcel D-2, is amended to reflect $0.00 annual Building and Ground Rent so long as Parcel D-2 is a non-profit Airline History Museum as authorized by the Federal Registry.”

This amendment would certainly suggest that the museum has no obligation to pay rent so long as it remains a non-profit organization, which it does.

Photo: Cody Diamond/airways

The National Airline History Museum Collection

The AHM has a treasure trove of aircraft that has historically been accessible to the public. As Kansas City was the home of Trans World Airlines (TWA), the museum has an irreplaceable collection of aircraft that require continued preservation.

These include several rare aircraft including a Lockheed L-1011-50, N31019, an original TWA aircraft bearing the original TWA registration number, the famed Lockheed Constellation, N6937C, resplendent in full TWA colors, as well as an original TWA DC-3, and a Martin 4-0-4, among others. 

The museum also has a DC-8 that has been unable to be flown to MKC due to the ongoing dispute and has plans to acquire a Boeing 727. Of course, none of this can be possible if the AHM does not have a home to call its own, which, per documents shared with Airways, it believes was guaranteed rent-free through 2035. 

These documents are available for viewing at Additional information is provided here, specifically the Master Lease of 2005 and other relevant documents. There is also a petition available for readers to view and sign. 

John Roper, President of the Airline History Museum, fully expects to win the appeal. In the meantime, please visit for more information. A petition to support the Airline History Museum is available at

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Article written by Cody Diamond. Featured image: Cody Diamond/Airways

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