Day Trip: Silent Wings Museum

Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock is dedicated to the World War II experience from the perspective of the glider pilots who flew in every major invasion of that war. The focal piece of the museum is a restored WACO CG-4A glider, according to the museum’s Web site,
www.silentwingsmuseum.com

History
In 1971, former pilots of the U.S. Air Force’s Glider Program formed the National World War II Glider Pilots Association in order to give former glider pilots a mechanism to interact socially and begin to form ways of preserving the history of the glider program.
According to a history on the Web site, the group found the WACO CG-4A glider atop a tire store in Fresno, Calif. It was purchased and restored in time for the group’s 1979 national reunion. Shortly after that reunion, plans for a museum were laid.
The first Silent Wings Museum opened in 1984 in Terrell, Texas. By the late 1990s, association members realized the need for a more permanent location. Lubbock, where a majority of the glider pilots had trained at the South Plains Army Airfield, offered a site. In 2002 the museum was opened at that former Army airfield.

Exhibits
According to the Web site, a visit to the museum normally begins in the facility’s theater with a 15-minute program featuring the story of the World War II glider program. Besides the WACO CG-4A, there is a variety of airborne equipment on display as well as photographs and artifacts from the era.
Visitors can also view the British Horsa glider, which is under restoration at the museum, and learn more about the aircraft and the restoration process.

Research
The museum is home to an extensive archive library. Research trips should be scheduled by appointment with the curator.
The museum also operates educational outreach programs appropriate for classes of all ages, according to the Web site.
Hours
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Admission
• General admission is $4, senior citizens $3, children under 12 are $2.

Directions
From Clovis, take U.S. 84 east to Lubbock, just under two hours driving time. In Lubbock, take North Loop 289 to South Interstate 27, then take exit 9. The museum is located two blocks east of the interstate near Lubbock’s Preston Smith International Airport. Look for the building with the silver “G-wings” on the tower.

Information
Information (phone) line (806) 775-3796 or direct line (806) 775-2047. Street address is 6202 N. Interstate 27. Web site address is silentwingsmuseum.com

— Compiled by Karl Terry