Back to news listing

From the Flight Deck, 12 July



Underground work beneath the Waltrip Hangar has sustained a brisk pace over the past week. Footings and plinths (foundation support), the primary drainage trench, and underground utilities including the pneumatic and electrical/data floor boxes, have been installed. Footings beneath the main building are 90 percent complete, and the first row of footings in the Heritage Hangar have been placed. The contractor has absorbed last minute changes to the shop underground, which include some nail-biting permit revision deadlines with the airport system and city permitting office. This week, the first large concrete pour will commence pre-dawn to install the slab on grade of the Waltrip Hangar.



Around The World In A Hurry

By: Stewart Bailey

Left: Howard Hughes Returns to Floyd Bennett Field; Photo by Daily Mail UK

Right: Howard Hughes parade in New York; Photo by the Houston Chronicle

Some people say that the world is getting smaller every day, but in terms of our ability to circle the planet, that statement is very true. What took three years for Ferdinand Magellan to do in the 1500s, the International Space Station now does in 90 minutes. However, it was not until the invention of the airplane that the speed at which a person could circle the Earth really accelerated.

Seventy-eight years ago, on July 10, 1938, Texas-born millionaire Howard Hughes took off eastward out of Floyd Bennett in New York on a quest to set a new record for the shortest time to circle the earth.  It was not just the desire to set a record that drove him, but rather the desire to prove a point.  Flying a Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra equipped with the latest navigational equipment and radios, Hughes and his four-man crew were out to show the world that aviation was a safe and reliable way for people to reach just about any point on the planet.

From New York, Hughes flew to Paris, Moscow, Omsk (in Siberia), Yakutsk (Eastern Russia), Fairbanks, and Minneapolis before landing back at Floyd Bennett Field, just 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes after he departed. Hughes flight was so fast that he was back in New York before photographs of his arrival in Paris made it to American newspapers! At the same time, he cut almost four days off the record of Texas-born aviator, Wiley Post, set just five years before.  Hughes was hailed as a hero and given a ticker-tape parade in New York. and Houston’s Municipal Airport (now William P. Hobby Airport) was re-named in his honor for a period in 1938.

However, more important than the records and the fame it brought him personally, Hughes proved to the entire world that America was a leader in aviation technology, and that flying long distances was both fast and safe. His flawless high speed dash around the planet inspired such confidence in aviation that within a decade, regular passenger service was in place across every ocean and six of the seven continents.

Both Howard Hughes and Wiley Post have been inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame; Hughes in 1998 and Post in 1999. Learn more about them and another world-circling Texan, Jeana Yeager (inducted in 2002) in the new Texan Aviation Hall of Fame, landing at Ellington in 2017!




This Saturday, July 16, the Lone Star Flight Museum will host a Night at the Museum from 6-8 p.m. for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Galveston (RMHG) and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Galveston. RMHG is a home away from home for families of children seeking treatment at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Shriners Hospital for Children and the Transitional Learning Center. Shriners Hospitals for Children - Galveston provides highly specialized acute, reconstructive and rehabilitative care for children with burns and other soft tissue conditions. The evening will include dinner, fun games and activities for the kids and the B-25 will fly around the patch for everyone to see. We are proud to partner with FedEx and their great volunteers from the Houston/Galveston area to produce this event.



J.P. Johnson with Lone Star Flight Museum President Larry Gregory

J.P. Johnson

Houston native and aircraft enthusiast J.P. Johnson is a frequent flyer at the Lone Star Flight Museum. In just under a year, he has also flown in the Museum’s PT-17 Stearman, Texan AT-6 (multiple times) and most recently, the Thunderbird B-17 which was his fifth flight. Though he enjoys them all, his favorite so far is the PT-17 Stearman due to its open cockpit. He is currently planning his next flight on the B-25 and is interested in becoming a volunteer when the new Lone Star Flight Museum opens next year at Ellington.




July 12, 1944 (UK) — The British Royal Air Force (RAF) puts its first operational jet-powered airplanes, the Gloster Meteor, into service.

July 12, 1957 (USA) – President Dwight D. Eisenhower (2016 Texas Aviation Hall of Fame inductee) becomes the first U.S. president to fly in a helicopter when a U.S. Air Force H-13J-BF Sioux departed the White House lawn en route to Camp David.

 July 12, 1980 (USA) — The first McDonnell Douglas KC-10A “Extender” (advanced tanker/cargo aircraft) makes first flight, departing from Long Beach, California

Sources: and



The Lone Star Flight Museum is currently taking nominations for the 2017 Texas Aviation Hall of Fame (TAHOF). To nominate someone, please send his or her name (or group name) along with an outline of the Texas aspects of the life and work of the suggested honoree as well as a statement as to why that person or persons is deserving, to by August 1. To view a complete list of current members, please visit





Other news

Get ready for some hops, props and BBQ! Guests will be treated to world-class championship BBQ, and a variety of craft beer from Houston’s best breweries, situated among the museum’s vintage historic aircraft collection.

What could be better than watching your favorite aviation movies in an actual airplane hangar!

Explore the skies like a real pilot this Friday as part of our Pilot Experience beginning Friday, August 10 at 10 am!