The last Crosley Moonbeam.
- (Thanks to Katie Perkowski)
At Bluegrass Airport in Lexington's rolling horse country is the Aviation Museum of Kentucky. One the walls of one room there are the faces of about 90 individuals with significant contributions to aviation, including Powel Crosley, Jr.
Down the hall are two rooms displaying aircrafts. In the first room, modern planes are on display. Walking into the second room is like traveling further back in time. The airplanes on display here include sailplanes that flew up to 40,000 feet without engines, a replica of the first plane Sellers flew in Kentucky ... and a Crosley "Moonbeam."
Powel Crosley loved aviation, so he started an airplane factory in the 1920s where he built five Crosley `Moonbeams'. When the Depression hit, the airplane factory went out of business, and that's the only one left out of five.
The museum also honors the Doolittle Raiders, the first to strike Japan after Pearl Harbor using B-25 bombers, and a display honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. At the grand opening in 1995, about 26 of the Doolittle Raiders were still living and they cut the ribbon at the ceremony. They also donated a B-25 rutter and signed it with their airplane number. That rutter still sits in the museum today. Five of the Doolittle Raiders are still living, and one of them, Cincinnati resident Tom Griffin, is a member of the museum.
Besides the Crosley Moonbeam, one other rare bird is housed there, the United States' last flying B-29 Superfortress World War II bomber, nicknamed "Fifi," which will make a three-day stop at the museum. The B-29 Superfortress, the same type of airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, will be available for tours and rides. The last time Fifi was at the museum was about 10 years ago.
For more about the Crosley Moonbeam and the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, visit aviationky.org. To book a ride on Fifi, visit rideb29.com.