CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A museum which spotlights the aviation of history in West Virginia is looking for a home. The state Airport Directors Association recently named three finalists as the host site of the West Virginia Aviation Museum.
Yeager Airport in Charleston is one of the finalists.
“Mainly because we’re the largest airport and in the Capital City,” said Airport General Manager Rick Atkinson.
West Virginia’s highest profile contribution to the world of aviation is General Chuck Yeager, the Lincoln County native who broke the sound barrier as a test pilot. However, Atkinson said there’s a lot of aviation history which isn’t as well known.
“At West Virginia State University, if it hadn’t been for the federal government taking Wertz Field to build the rubber plant they would have been the Institute Airmen instead of the Tuskegee Airmen,” Atkinson said. “The first five pilots trained at West Virginia State.”
The other two possible locations are the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport and the North Central West Virginia Regional Airport in Harrison County.
Atkinson said Wheeling’s airport is already an historic terminal and houses an existing museum. North Central West Virginia Regional Airport is an important location because of its proximity to the aviation industry in West Virginia, which is robust.
A decision is expected after managers of all three state airports make formal presentations about why they should be selected as the host site.