Texas Air & Space Museum
The Texas Air & Space Museum is an aviation museum located at 10001 American Dr, Amarillo, TX 79111, in the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. This museum features exhibits showcasing various air and space artifacts in addition to a collection of civilian and military aircrafts.
Tradewind Airport, a private airport in southeast Amarillo, was the first home to the Texas Air & Space Museum in 1989 after local aviation enthusiasts came together to create an air and space museum. The museum moved to its current location, which was known as Amarillo International Airport at the time, in 1997. The building this museum was housed in was used from the years 1929 to 1972 as the Amarillo commercial air terminal, first known as English Field, then English Airport, then finally Amarillo Air Terminal.
The museum originally closed its doors in 2007 due to the lack of financing available to provide for the maintenance of the old terminal building at English Field. The museum gave up 13 of its 14 aircraft to various museums and moved the rest of their things into storage.
The museum was able to acquire a new collection during its closure which led to its reopening in February 2010 as the Texas Air & Space Museum. The museum had obtained space at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport for both indoor and outdoor exhibits. On the opening day, the museum, its collection of historical displays, as well as the three aircrafts it obtained, were unveiled. These three aircrafts included a North American P-51D Mustang, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver on floats, and a de Havilland DHC-4 C-7 Caribou.
Speed Johnson F8F Bearcat Reno racer, registered as Speed Johnson F4F Bearcat, is a locally built and flown aircraft that was acquired by the museum in July 2011. Later, in September of that same year, they obtained a NASA Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft called ‘946’ by NASA. This aircraft has the privilege of being flown by the Amarillo airport’s namesake Rick Husband 46 times before his demise.
The museum offers volunteer-guided tours so you can learn about the rich history of aviation in the Texas Panhandle. While taking this tour, be sure to keep your eye out for QR codes to scan for fun facts and trivia.
While exploring the museum, you will be given the opportunity to sit inside various aircrafts to get the full aviation experience. The aircrafts that are on display at the Texas Air & Space Museum today include Pterodactyl Ascender, P-51D Mustang, DC-3, C-7A Caribou, “Bearcat” Reno Racer, NASA Shuttle Training Aircraft, T-34B Mentor, T-33A Shooting Star, Bell OH-13S NEW, 1946 Cecil Ingram Ercoupe, and Yak 11 “Mr. Awesome.”
In addition to a hefty amount of aircrafts, the museum features model plans designed by Jack Rude. There are also numerous exhibits to educate visitors on the expansive history of aviation. These exhibits include The People – Later Years, which showcases the contributions of Shelby Kritser, Bobby Speed, an Ag pilot, Capt Cecil Hawkins, who was a US Navy pilot, and Col. Rick Husband, a locally born and raised, famous astronaut. Additional exhibits talk about the wars that aviation was involved in, the airports in the area throughout history, and crop dusters.
Can’t get enough? Read the next article in the series here.