Curatorial Updates

back to articles

Baby Albatross Now On Display

The Museum exhibits team recently lifted a Bowlus “Baby Albatross” glider to the ceiling in the Rearwin Gallery area where it is displayed next to its older brother the Bowlus “Paper Wing.”  The former was advertised as the affordable sail plane of its day when first produced in 1937, with a kit price of $385 and a ready to fly price of $750. Both sprang from the fertile design mind of Hawley Bowlus, San Diego native and soaring enthusiast. Bowlus was also very well known for his work on the original Spirit of St. Louis at Ryan, and as the inventor of the Airstream trailer.

New WWI Exhibit

This year we honor the 100th anniversary of the start of hostilities that became the “Great War.” The Museum will have in place an addition to our WWI gallery that commemorates the anniversary. An elaborate timeline with stories and photos detailing the major events of that horrific conflict with references to the aircraft that are displayed in our gallery.

Restoration Projects

In the restorations area, work continues in the basement on the Hughes racer project. Landing gear parts are being fabricated and will be fitted to the wing which in itself is progressing nicely. The enormous effort of creating all the wood parts and fitting them to create a seamless product is both labor and time consuming to say the least. Our crew, headed by volunteer Dan Lemay, is undaunted however and all look forward to the wing’s completion sometime later if not sooner. The metal benders are working on the rudder and will soon start on the vertical stabilizer as the fuselage begins assembly. Like the P-26 before it, this is a long- term project that will keep everyone busy for some time to come.

At Gillespie Field, the Boeing FB-5 volunteers are in the process of covering the lower wing halves and will follow up putting the final touches on the massive upper wing. Machine shops at both locations are grinding out parts for the fuselage and wings while the multitude of attach point fittings are being welded to the airframe. We are hoping to complete the FB-5 by mid-2016.

Thank you AKT!

The Museum would like to thank the members of the AKT staff who came to the Museum and volunteered their time cleaning the restoration area. We are very appreciative of your hard work! Girl Scout Participation

On Saturday, September 13th, six Girl Scouts from Troop 4280 and 5333, their leader Lilliana Bosforo, and parents, joined with Gillespie Field Volunteers Chuck Harrington, Marty Haldiman, and Bob Wright to learn how to stich fabric to one of the lower wings of our Boeing FB-5. The girls caught on very quickly and learned from the experience. Parents were impressed not only with the project, but the overall restoration facility as well. Our volunteers enjoyed the event, giving graciously of their time, even inviting the Scouts to come back in future to stich the upper wing. Thank you Girl Scouts!

Floating Ferrari

San Diego’s 2014 Bayfair boat races proved to be a perfect venue for the first voyage in the U.S of the “Floating Ferrari,” owned by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Built by Livio de Marchi, an Italian who lives in Venice, the one of a kind Ferrari was used to transport the master wood sculptor through the canals of Venice, that in no way would support the real thing. de Marchio carved and smoothed for five straight months before he added a single cylinder, eight horsepower motor, and an outdrive with propeller to finish off the rarest of Ferraris.The Museum’s restoration staff removed the Ferrari from the Ripley’s exhibit some time back and transported it to Gillespie Field, where it was caulked and cured of apparent leaks. It also received some bilge pump repairs and a general going over to make certain there would be no embarrassment when the unusual boat took to the water. It was put back on display until being delivered to Mission Bay for the big event on Saturday morning, September 13th.  Although we planned to operate on Saturday only, circumstances dictated that we return for a second day on Sunday, mainly for publicity purposes. 

With television folks on hand and many, many, curious onlookers the Ferrari not only whisked a privileged few away on short voyages but also provided a tug for the world champion surfing dog “Louie,” an honestly adorable English Bulldog. Calm seas prevailed and Louie looked amazingly un-phased as he enjoyed a leisurely ten or so minutes being towed along by a wooden Ferrari. Who would have believed it.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter

Get Social with SDASM