Over the course of the year, the Illinois Aviation Museum hosts a number of programs. These include:
Led by previous Restoration Director and current Museum Board chairman, Larry Greenwich, the many volunteers of the Illinois Aviation Museum have put hundreds, if not thousands, of hours into three major restoration projects over the past years.
The first project was a T-2 Naval training jet, loaned to our museum from the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL for restoration and static display. It was picked up in Pensacola in 2003 and after repainting and reassembly, rolled out on Oct. 2, 2004. A video from first day at Pensacola thru the end of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://youtu.be/jlFOOQg3v2k
The Museum’s second restoration project was an Air Force T-33 trainer jet, also loaned to our museum from the National Museum of Naval Aviation for restoration and static display. It was brought back to Bolingbrook from Sugar Grove, IL for a much larger restoration project on Dec. 4, 2004, which was completed and rolled out in 2007. A video of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://youtu.be/nQ3kQWJMVUE
Our third major restoration project was an US Navy A4 attack jet. In 2011, it was donated to our museum by the Warbird Heritage Foundation in Waukegan, IL, in poor condition. Over the next four years, it was heavily restored and rolled out on October 17, 2015, during Bolingbrook’s 50th anniversary. A video of the roll out ceremony can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hqO7pyzE2Q
“Stubby” started life as a T33 which served in the US Air Force, went to Rantoul Air Force Base where it had the wings and tail removed and was used as a training platform to ejection seat mechanics. Along the way it eventually went to an Army/Navy store and finally wound up on the farm of a “little old lady” in East Peoria, IL, where it sat in mud for years. It was donated to the museum in April of 2009. Restored and painted in Thunderbird colors, this aircraft is a crowd favorite as it represents the museum at parades and other events.
And while not actually a “restoration” project, the volunteers worked hard at creating a non-flying (Ground Bound) aircraft. Modeled after a 1916 Curtis Jenny, and made from a riding lawnmower, plywood, and custom-crafted and engineered parts, it is used by the Museum to provide rides at airport activities, parades, etc. It is a favorite of the kids at the annual Cavalcade of Planes event. To date, it has given over 10,000 rides to our “future aviators”.
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) – Young Eagles
The Young Eagles program was launched in 1992 by the EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their mission is to provide flight experience ― free of charge ― in a general aviation aircraft for young people between 8-17.
Young Eagle flights have been conducted in every state in America, each province in Canada, and in more than 90 other countries. The flights have also been safely conducted in nearly every type of general aviation aircraft, from light planes to corporate jets and everything in between.
Your child can join the ranks of Young Eagles and see their world from a while new perspective.
Actor Harrison Ford, a license pilot since 1996, is a former chairman of the Young Eagles program. “Young Eagles gives kids a view of the world they’ve never seen before,” Ford said. “Each Young Eagle flight is an opportunity to excite kids by sharing a passion for flight and to show them that they, too, can learn the skills to participate in aviation.”
The Illinois Aviation Museum hosts monthly educational seminars on such topics as weather, new technology, learning to fly, and many others. Seminars are held in the hangar on the second Thursday of the month, beginning at 7:00 PM. Dates and seminar descriptions can be found here.
Understanding that the future of aviation lies in our youth, we are also in the process of partnering with our local STEM and STEAM initiatives to include aviation-related activities in their programs.
In addition, we welcome groups from schools, scouts, and other youth organizations to tour our museum to learn more about our collection and related history. Click here for more on our tours.
PSI (CATS) Testing:
Computer Assisted Testing Service (CATS) delivers computer-based examinations for Sponsors and Agencies involved in educational, licensing, or certification testing.
The Illinois Aviation Museum is a certified testing site for all FAA exams.
Testing is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Please call 800-947-4228 or visit the CATS testing site at www.catstest.com to register.
Other times may be possible, please call 630-771-1937 and leave a message with your inquiry.
FAA Site Code: ABS60401
Arzania “Zook” Williams Bill Anderson
Joe DePaulo Don Swienton
The WWI Aero Builders Club was an educational project of The Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook headed by board members Dan Christine and Chris O’Riley . This was a hands-on experience that was available to any area high school age student. Club members, under direction of experienced airplane builders, built an actual flying airplane. The club’s initial project was to build a WWI ¾ scale Fokker E-III. In October, 2008, the Aero Builder’s Club completed building the 3/4-scale replica Fokker E-3 from a kit. Club co-leader Dan Christine flew its successful test flight on October 8, 2008.
Zenith CH750 Cruzer The vision of the Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook’s “One Year Wonder” project started in 2015 with the simple idea of using aviation to inspire and educate. Starting with an initial launch party with community leaders, key volunteers and museum board members in attendance, the project mission was unveiled. In addition, the aircraft selected for the project, a Zenith CH750 Cruzer from the Zenith Aircraft Company, was revealed and most excitingly the first steps of construction started. In the weeks and months to follow the project began to serve its mission. During build sessions, community members including kids from 8-80, would show up just to see the project, watch and wonder and most importantly to get involved. During the course of the project, hundreds of community members became involved directly in the building of the aircraft. Many of these kids, moms and dads had never been close to an airplane, let alone had a hand in building one. Many of them that attended the build sessions had no idea that they could actually construct a flying aircraft with their own dedication and their own two hands. With the help of the local EAA chapter, and many community sponsors, the plane was finished and presented to the public in 2017
Friends of Aviation Plaza – ORDER NOW!
The stone patio adjacent to Charlie’s Restaurant has been designated as the Friends of Aviation Plaza.
The design of the plaza includes four areas that will accommodate engraved paving bricks.
Illinois Aviation Museum has established a program whereby you can order a paving brick in honor or memory of a loved one or to commemorate a special occasion or event such as:
- New baby
- Earning your pilot’s license
They make great gifts, too!
You or someone you love can become a permanent part of our local aviation community!
Bricks are available in two sizes:
- 4″ x 8″ with 3 lines of text,
13 characters* each
- 8″ x 8″ with 5 lines of text,
13 characters* each
*Each letter, space, or punctuation mark counts as one (1) character.
You may order up to 4 bricks of each size at a time. If you wish to order more than 4 bricks of any one size, you will need to place a separate order for the additional brick(s).
Once you have placed your online order via our secure Paypal gateway, you will be redirected to a page where you can enter the personalization information.
Or click here to download the form, which you can send in with your check. (Please note that the 12″x12″ size is no longer available.)