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Honeywell commits $1.5 million to Carolinas Aviation Museum’s campaign to build STEM Innovation Center at CLT Airport

Reimagined facility seeks to welcome 100,000 visitors, 15,000 students annually
With the new movie “Sully” showing in theaters, interest in the flight that had to crash land...
With the new movie “Sully” showing in theaters, interest in the flight that had to crash land in the Hudson River is again peaking. Visitors gathered to listen to Flight 1549 passengers, Dan Vinton, seat 15E and Beverly Waters, seat 21E, talk Saturday at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.(JOHN D. SIMMONS | CHARLOTTE OBSERVER (custom credit) | JOHN D. SIMMONS | CHARLOTTE OBSERVER)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:15 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Carolinas Aviation Museum today announced a $1.5 million gift from Charlotte-based Honeywell, catalyzing the launch of the public phase of the museum’s largest fundraising effort to date – “The Lift Off Campaign.”

The gift from Honeywell, a company that produces aerospace products and services found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft, brings the Lift Off Campaign’s quiet phase funding total to $10 million, including $3.5 million in additional private contributions from unnamed donors. The $10 million also includes an expected $5 million from Charlotte Douglas International Airport for site development.

The goal of The Lift-Off Campaign is to raise $22 million toward the creation of a state-of-the-art STEM innovation center on airport property, with construction expected to begin in early 2022 and a planned opening in 2023.

Carolinas Aviation Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate that has served as a hub of community engagement for aviation history and STEM education in the Charlotte region for nearly three decades.

“Honeywell is proud to partner with the Carolinas Aviation Museum on its campaign to bring a world-class, STEM-focused community asset to the west side of Charlotte and the grounds of Charlotte Douglas International Airport,” said Honeywell Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk. “The new museum will provide students with invaluable educational experiences that help open the door to careers in STEM fields, including aviation.”

The reimagined Carolinas Aviation Museum, which will be developed in partnership with Charlotte Douglas International Airport, will house dozens of aircraft and include exhibits such as interactive cockpits, flight simulators, and historic artifacts that chronicle the region’s indelible connection to the wonder of flight and aviation innovation. The new facility will be located at the site of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s historic WPA/Douglas Airport Hangar, which will be restored as part of the museum project.

“We are extremely grateful for the support from the Airport, the City of Charlotte and the generous investment from Honeywell, and we are ready to lift off on our next phase to create an exciting new facility that matches the innovation we seek to inspire,” said Carolinas Aviation Museum President Stephen Saucier. “We are looking forward to once again connecting in person with the region, contributing to Charlotte’s cultural tourism and economic growth, and providing impactful hands-on learning opportunities in STEM that will help address economic mobility.”

Honeywell will sponsor three key areas in the new museum. The first is a themed exhibition zone in the new Main Gallery known as Innovation Nation that presents the history of aviation as a testament to humankind’s capacity for creativity and imagination of possibilities beyond the known. US Airways Flight 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson plane, will be on display in Innovation Nation.

Honeywell is also sponsoring the museum’s Maker Space, in which youth can learn about aviation via interactive, hands-on activities, and a Career Center, which will serve as a vital resource to help students and area adults connect to careers in STEM-based industries.

Honeywell’s support over the last several years helped Carolinas Aviation Museum deliver classroom and virtual STEM education programming to more than 9,000 students throughout the Charlotte region.

As a result of the campaign, Carolinas Aviation Museum hopes to welcome more than 100,000 visitors annually and connect more than 15,000 students to STEM programming and career development labs.

Carolinas Aviation Museum has operated as a “museum without walls” offering virtual exhibitions and community STEM programs funded by Honeywell since vacating its original location in 2019. Now, the new museum will seek to celebrate North Carolina as the birthplace of aviation and immerse visitors in the history of flight.

“From First in Flight to now housing one of the top 10 busiest airports in the world, the Carolinas have played an integral role in aviation history,” said Haley Gentry, aviation director of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. “As Charlotte Douglas continues to advance our mission to connect people and places, we are proud to support Carolinas Aviation Museum and its vision to connect our region’s celebrated past to its bright future.”

“The new Carolinas Aviation Museum will be a dynamic cultural attraction that will connect visitors to the Carolinas’ storied aviation past and elevates educational opportunities and experiences for people of all backgrounds,” said museum board chair Marc Oken, who is chairing the capital campaign. “We are humbled that donors will be able to see their dollars come to life in an immersive space that ignites creativity and inspires the next generation of aviation engineers, educators and experts.”

For more information on the campaign and plans for the museum’s new facility, visit carolinasaviation.org.

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