The Kansas Aviation Museum has announced a planned grand opening ceremony for their new Rip Gooch Black Aviators Exhibit.  A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Fri., May 19, at 11 a.m. at the museum, 3350 George Washington Blvd. 

The exhibit is part of the museum’s ongoing Maddy Renovation, a phased project to renovate the museum’s exhibits and exhibit spaces.  The Black Aviators Exhibit tells the story of the early days of Black aviators, in and from Kansas, going back to Tuskegee and the Red Tails.  The exhibit pays particular attention to Kansans who were Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Don Jackson and George Boyd.  The exhibit  also recognizes other Black aviators with connections to Kansas who have made an impact in aviation. 

“These are men who pioneered early on in a field that at one point was not inclusive and this is the story of them and how they persevered through their hardships,” said Ben Sauceda, executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum.  “It’s all about telling the story and inspiring the next group of people to keep going, to keep pushing and to make a change.” 

The museum’s renovations includes a completed Women in Aviation Exhibit  They plain to begin construction this summer on a military exhibit  

The exhibit is named for Rip Gooch, a long time Kansas Aviation Museum Board member and  Wright BrotherMaster Pilot , an award only given to individuals with at least  50 years flying experience.  Rip Is an inductee into the Black Pilots Hall of Fame and later this spring will be inducted in the Black Pilot of America’s Hall of Fame.  For nearly 20 years, Gooch operated a Fixed-Base Aviation facility at Rawdon Field in East Wichita and was an FAA pilot examiner who licensed many of Wichita local private pilots. 

The community is invited to attend the ribbon cutting.