Each week, we'll post a new photo from our museum. It may be related to a future (or past) story, or we've posted it just because it's interesting. Here's our photo for the week of 2/12/18 

Our archives holds a number of TWA baggage tags. While they occupy a very small space, some of them tell a pretty big story. The bag that was attached to the top tag was carried by TWA at least 55 years ago, as it was going to IDL, New York's Idlewild Airport. Opened in 1948, Idlewild was named for the golfing resort upon which the airport was built in southeastern Queens, in New York City. In December 1963, it was renamed Kennedy International Airport, shortly following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. TWA had a rich and storied history at this airport, including it's iconic terminal, the TWA Flight Center, designed by Eero Saarinen (and opened in 1962, while the airport was still known as IDL). Today, Kennedy Airport's three-letter "JFK" code is one of the most recognizable in the world and the airport continues to be one of the world's busiest.

If you traveled to Kansas City prior to 1972, you (and your checked baggage) went to MKC, located just across the Missouri River from downtown Kansas City. In 1972, all scheduled airline operations moved north to the new Kansas City International Airport (MCI). As we at the museum know very well, MKC (known officially today as the Wheeler Kansas City Downtown Airport) continues to operate as a very active airfield. Despite no longer hosting scheduled airline flights, it does have its share of interesting sights. In fact, our blog section "On The Street Where We Live" chronicles some of those sights we occasionally see, right by our museum. Click here to see that section of our blog.  

Pretty interesting stuff, from just a couple of baggage tags!




One of our museum's more interesting exhibits resides in our Education Center room. You're looking at a cockpit navigation instrument simulator for a Fairchild FH-227B turboprop. It was originally owned by Ozark Airlines and became TWA's property when Ozark was purchased in 1986. Ozark flew a total of 21 FH-227Bs, acquiring them in 1966 and 1967. The last propeller blade spun for Ozark in October 1980, when the last 227B was retired from the fleet. 

At the time of its purchase by TWA, Ozark was an all-jet airline (DC-9s and MD-80s) with service from the east coast to the west coast. They also shared a hub in St. Louis with TWA and in 1986, TWA owner Carl Icahn felt it was time to deal with competitive issues, by purchasing Ozark. In our museum's main gallery, we have a display  containing several items from Ozark (including the final uniform worn by their flight attendants).

As far as the simulator is concerned, it's a favorite stop for visitor photographs, as you can sit inside. We occasionally get a few snickers from some visitors as they peer into the cockpit. However, we are quick to remind them of the amazing engineering and ingenuity that went into designing reliable and realistic flight simulation, during the pre-digital era. 

(posted week of 2/5/18) 


Throughout the years, TWA saw scores of famous people on board its aircraft. In fact, it often was referred to as the "airline of the stars". This was especially noticeable in the 1940s and 1950s, as Howard Hughes (TWA's owner during that time) had many friends and business acquaintances in the entertainment industry. The photo above shows this included four-legged notables too, as Lassie is seen at the base of a stairway leading to a TWA aircraft. Although there is no date on the photo, we'll say mid to late 1950s.

This was no ordinary travelling pet. Typically accompanied by trainer Rudd Weatherwax, Lassie occupied the first class section and was treated... like a passenger.  Weatherwax recalled a flight where the captain announced Lassie was on board and the passengers broke out in applause and cheers. Since accuracy is our blog's most important priority, we should tell you Lassie was a male (despite being identified as a female on television and in the movies) and there were nine Lassies during the run of the popular TV show from 1954-1971. All were descendants of the original Lassie (and you thought all we knew about were airplanes?).

Our museum and archives contain dozens of photographs of actors, professional athletes, politicians and legendary people of the times, spending some of their time on TWA.

(posted week of 1/29/18) 


The legendary Boeing 727 displayed its versatility with the model 727-100QC. The letters stood for "quick change" and that it was! Its unique design allowed TWA to convert the aircraft from a passenger airplane to a cargo plane (and vice versa), in just about an hour. The trick was the interior floor, which had sets of rollers embedded in it. Seat and galley pallet "modules" could be slid to the front of the airplane and removed through a large vertically-hinged forward loading door (shown prominently in the picture). Once the cabin was emptied, cargo pallets could then be loaded. After the cargo run was completed, back in went the seats and galleys.

The airplane pictured above, N890TW, was TWA's first QC model, acquired in April 1967. TWA would eventually fly eight of these and kept them until 1982, when they were all sold to United Parcel Service. By the way, TWA wasn't alone in its use of this most unique aircraft. Boeing manufactured 164 727-100QC airplanes that were used by carriers around the world.

(posted week of 1/22/18) 


This week's photo reminds us that even in its later years, TWA was looking to the future. This included plans to renew and add to its fleet of airplanes. In 1998, TWA placed a significant order for new airplanes with Airbus Industries. Included in the order were 50 Airbus A318 jets. Pictured above is a 1/100 scale model of the proposed aircraft, standing in our museum.  At the same time, TWA ordered 25 of the larger A320 aircraft and placed an order with Boeing for fifty 717s, adding to that aircraft type already in the fleet.

Unfortunately, an Airbus in TWA colors was not to be, as TWA was acquired by American Airlines in 2001, prior to the proposed delivery dates of the orders. In addition to being a great-looking model, it serves as an example of the determination to move forward that TWA showed in 1998, despite its financial challenges. 

By the way, our museum has a few other models of airplanes in TWA colors that never came to be. Each has an interesting story explaining why the models exist and the reasons they got no further. If you're interested in knowing more, check out our blog article about the museum's models, "Our Model Citizens" (Click here to see the article).

(posted week of 1/15/18) 


It's possible some prospective passengers reading this 1957 advertisement may have been confused, seeing the title "Jetstream" attached to a propeller-driven Lockheed model 1649 Constellation. Some felt TWA was implying that this final model of the Constellation was as good as passenger jet aircraft, which would soon be competing with it. TWA marketers, on the other hand, claimed the term related to the airplane's ability to take advantage of the jet stream winds (as stated in the ad).  

Semantics aside, The 1649 Constellation was a solid airplane, with tremendous operating range. Capable of carrying up to 10,000 gallons of fuel, it could fly nonstop between the west coast of the U.S. and Europe (via the "polar route") and stay airborne for around 20 hours!  Just two years after starting its 1649 Constellation service, TWA began flying its first Boeing 707 jet, hastening the retirement of their entire Constellation fleet. TWA's last Constellations flew in 1967. 

First flown commercially by TWA in 1946, over 150 "Connies" were operated by TWA in that 21-year period, consisting of four model types.

(posted week of 1/8/18)  


A unique headline greeted TWA employees when they unfolded the October 24, 1966 issue of the company's Skyliner newspaper. It announced the beginning of TWA's service to Hong Kong, effective October 31. The new destination became the most distant on TWA's then Transatlantic route system, extending it 1,063 miles beyond Bangkok. TWA passengers were thus treated to Hong Kong's infamous approach into Kai Tak airport, literally looking into apartment buildings as they descended over high-rises situated in the densely populated city. Three years later, TWA would receive authority to fly west of Hong Kong (via the Pacific), thus gaining the prestige of being an around-the-world airline. Unfortunately, that  distinction would last only a few years, as TWA relinquished its Transpacific flying rights in 1975, through a route exchange agreement with Pan American World Airways.

Also of interest in the photo is the Skyliner's masthead, showing a representation of a supersonic transport aircraft. In 1966, TWA had six options placed for the French-British Concorde SST and ten options to order Boeing's SST. The entire airline industry anxiously anticipated the beginning of supersonic passenger travel. Of course, it didn't happen for TWA and most other airlines. Boeing cancelled its SST program in 1971 and TWA dropped its orders for the Concorde in 1973.

 (posted week of 1/1/18)  


Taken about a DC-2 aircraft in 1936, this great photograph from our archives' digital collection gives us a good look into what flying on TWA was like in that era, highlighted by the presence of TWA's early hostesses. That fortunate lad is being tended to by Ruth Rhodes. Ruth was among the first group of 22 hostesses hired by TWA in 1935. Her poise and pleasant manner is evident in the photograph. While working a flight early in her career, those were among Ruth's many qualities noticed by TWA's President, Jack Frye, who recommended her to become TWA's first Chief Hostess.

Ruth's career with TWA was, however, short-lived, as she got married in 1937. Back then, hostesses hired had to be single and were required to resign if they got married. In addition, any young woman applying for the position had to be a registered nurse, 21 - 26 years of age, weigh no more than 118 pounds and have a height of 5'1" - 5'4". Despite these very specific requirements, more than 2,000 applications were received for the first 60 positions TWA advertised.

Ruth and her 21 classmates paved the way for thousands of women and (eventually) men to pursue careers as TWA flight attendants over the next 65 years. Ruth believed that a career as a hostess gave women the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience adventure. Despite TWA going through many changes over the years, Ruth's words clearly stood the test of time. As far as the infant in the photo, we don't know who he was, however, if you are an 82 year-old man who has an inexplicably pleasant memory from your infancy, that could be you!

By the way, our blog article "Presenting The Case For TWA's Flight Attendants" tells the story of this great profession, as presented in our museum. We invite you to check it out. Click here to see the article. 

We also invite you to browse the growing digital collection of our archives' historical photographs and documents at:

(posted week of 12/25/17)  


In celebration of the holiday season, we thought we'd make the subject of this week's Museum Photo of The Week .... Well... Us... The volunteers of our museum.  As you probably can guess, some of us are former TWA employees, including flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, administrators, engineers, etc. What you may not know is that some of us are the sons, daughters, siblings and even grandchildren of former TWA employees. There are also a number of us who do not have a working or family relationship with TWA, but share a great interest in TWA's legacy and the work the museum does. Whatever our backgrounds, we all are proud to contribute to our museum's success and feel fortunate to be able to spend time with each other, working together to make the TWA Museum the great place it is. From our family to yours, best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy new year! 

(posted week of 12/18/17)  


Today, computer-generated graphics are at the core of flight simulation. From video game systems to the most advanced professional motion simulators, it's hard to imagine there was a time this technology did not exist.  But there was such a time...

Back in the early 1960s,TWA's flight training center in Kansas City, Missouri trained its pilots on "electronic" flight simulators, which were highly advanced versions of the famous Link trainer. To add the visual component of flying to these cockpit simulators, a separate area existed that contained a movable closed-circuit television camera (shown above), which hovered over a large model of an airport and its surrounding landscape (not much different than a model railroad layout). Coordinated with commands from the cockpit simulator, the camera progressed along a track (right side of the photo) with more minute movements controlled by a series of motorized brackets attached to the camera. As the simulator was flown, the camera positioned itself accordingly and sent a black-and-white image projected onto  a 12 x 15 foot screen, in front of the cockpit simulator. In the photo above, it appears the simulator has just touched down on the runway,  

The complexity of flight training in the pre-computerized era required creative solutions by some very clever engineers. In our museum, we have many examples of how the challenges of training TWA pilots were met by these very ingenious people.

Want to learn more about how TWA met the challenge of simulation training in the pre-digital era? Check out our blog article "TWA Pilots - Chairmen of the Boards", which tells about our very impressive collection of early cockpit instrument training panels (Click here to read the article). 

(posted week of 12/11/17) 


Well before the days of digital HD audio and electronic noise-cancelling headphones, this is how TWA (and other airline) passengers got to hear music and in-flight movie audio. The "pneumatic headset" was a breakthrough in passenger entertainment systems and first appeared on TWA (in conjunction with their introduction of movies) in 1961.

Stereo audio was electronically distributed to the armrest of each seat, where it was converted to actual sound through two tiny speakers, within the armrest. A two-pronged hollow plug (at the end of the black tubes above) connected to a receptacle in the armrest and sent the music through those tubes into the earplugs at the top. Quite a clever invention! Although not the highest audio quality by any means, they did the job for several years. Starting in the 1980s, electronic headsets started replacing the pneumatics, allowing a direct connection to the audio source and a much clearer sound. 

Although unsophisticated by today's high-tech standards, passengers still received robust content. In addition to a channel for movie audio, a variety of music was offered including rock, easy listening and classical music. There were also "talk"channels with subjects of general interest. Just for fun, we looked at the audio program from August, 1972. You could rock out to "Outta Space" by Billy Preston or relax with the instrumental rendition of "My Way", by the Ambassador Strings. There were dozens more, but we think you have the idea. 
(posted week of 12/4/17)  


Much more than TWA's other four-engine narrow-body jet, the Convair 880 was its "own plane" for sure. Shorter, narrower, lighter and arguably sleeker than the Boeing 707, it also could cruise faster than its Boeing fleet mate. It caught the early interest of TWA owner Howard Hughes and he ordered several in 1955. Unfortunately, financial concerns delayed its arrival to TWA, with its inaugural flight occurring on January 12,1961.

TWA flew 28 Convair 880s. In addition to TWA, Delta Air Lines had several 880s in its fleet and American Airlines acquired the advanced Convair 990. Even Elvis owned an 880! Unfortunately, Convair couldn't break into the passenger jet market dominated by Boeing and Douglas and ceased production of the 880 in 1962 (the 990's production ended a year later). Despite this, the Convair 880 was a favorite of TWA crew and passengers alike (pilots often calling it the "airborne hot rod"). 

Aircraft N815TW shown above was officially delivered to TWA in December 1960 and was immediately leased to Northeast Airlines for three years. It then joined TWA's fleet and was eventually retired in 1974 (along with the rest of TWA's  Convairs). By the way, one of our favorite pieces of trivia at the museum is how Convair chose the model number of 880. That number represented the amount of feet per second Convair claimed the airplane could cruise. Do the math... the result is 600 miles per hour.  Our museum owns a few models of the Convair 880, including an excellent one that was literally left on our doorstep (see our weekly photo posting of 7/10/17).
(posted week of 11/27/17)


Digital version of TAT Plane Talk photograph courtesy of State Historical Society of Missouri

Our museum's historical timeline shows TWA introduced inflight movies in 1961. Well, while we were doing some research for an article, we came upon the above photograph. It was taken aboard a Ford Tri-Motor in 1929, on Transcontinental Air Transport (one of the airlines that combined to form TWA, a year later). As part of its New York-Los Angeles air/rail service, TAT showed onboard motion pictures. According to the TAT's Plane Talk (the company's employee newspaper), the projector, batteries, and screen weighed only 34 pounds. Think about that the next time you're on a flight and streaming House Hunters onto your Iphone.

The movies shown in 1929 consisted primarily of newsreels. As a change of pace, the cartoon adventures of "Oswald The Lucky Rabbit" were occasionally shown. Oswald was conceived by Walt Disney and many believe was the origin of Disney's most famous character, Mickey Mouse. 

Though it was short-lived, TAT's air/rail transcontinental service was a groundbreaking achievement on many levels, made possible by the efforts of many pioneering people, including Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. If you're interested, why not take the trip yourself, by reading our blog's article about this historic venture. Even if you're not a fan of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, we think you'll find the article interesting (click here to see the article). Oh... and let's keep all of this among ourselves, as we don't plan to change the 1961 date from our timeline!
(posted week of 11/20/17)


To those of us fortunate enough to have access to our museum's archives, perusing the files, drawers, shelves and closets is quite an experience. While it's easy to be in awe when looking at something like a 1929 air route map signed by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, there are other  times when being in the archives is just plain fun!

And so it is with this week's photo above. Our archives contains thousands of TWA swizzle sticks and stirrers! While James Bond preferred his martinis "shaken not stirred", the evidence shows it was the opposite for most TWA passengers. We'll spare you the history of TWA's swizzle sticks (believe us... we have the info) and just mention we have quite a variety. Our most numerous are the infamous "red propeller" sticks.

While a few swizzle sticks are displayed in our gallery, the vast majority are stored safe and sound in our archives. According to Carol Emert, our archivist, most of them were donated, with some people bestowing huge collections upon us. It's clear many people hung onto them when their glasses and cups were collected. We suspect somewhere in your house, there may be some too.
(posted week of 11/13/17)

We think the excitement can still be sensed in this now 48-year old photograph.  Appearing on the front page of TWA's company newspaper of January 12, 1970, the two airplanes pictured were described as TWA's "first Boeing 747s", being prepared for delivery at Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington. Although we can't quite discern either plane's registration, we assume one is aircraft N93102, the first delivered to TWA on December 31, 1969. 

The 747 began its service to TWA's passengers on February 25, 1970 when Flight 100 departed Los Angeles for New York's Kennedy Airport. International service began on March 18, 1970 when Flight 700 took off from Kennedy, bound for London's Heathrow Airport.

When all was said and done, TWA flew 36 747s from 1970 through 1998. Those who were fortunate enough to remember the debut of this great airplane likely had no thoughts of its eventual retirement. However, time marches on and we salute the flight of United Airlines' last 747, occurring on Tuesday, November 7.  Not too long after that, we'll see Delta Air Lines fly its last 747. Luckily, that familiar profile will still be seen as some non-U.S. carriers and cargo airlines will continue flying the legendary airplane for some years to come.

(posted week of 11/6/17)


On September 28, 1995, the paint shop at TWA's Kansas City Maintenance and Overhaul base rolled out the first aircraft in TWA's new paint scheme, or "livery" . As it turned out, it would be TWA's final livery. As seen in the photo, it attracted more than a few TWA employees on the day of its debut. According to then TWA CEO Jeff Erickson, TWA reviewed 54 designs before choosing this one. That first airplane to get the new livery was DC-9-30 aircraft N927L, which was acquired from Ozark Airlines, when TWA and Ozark merged in 1986. The previous design (the "twin red stripes") was 21 years old and TWA felt it was time to signify a change, both visually and operationally. 

Some aircraft were not re-painted, including those that were soon to retire or be returned to lessors. A very large percentage of the fleet, however was in the new livery at the time TWA was acquired by American Airlines, in 2001.

Also of interest is the white building with dark windows in the very upper left corner of the photo. That was TWA's Kansas City Administrative Center. Although TWA's corporate headquarters moved from Kansas City in 1964, both the Overhaul Base and the Administrative Center remained important parts of TWA's operation through 2001.  
(posted week of 10/30/17)


Our museum's three largest models stand regally, greeting visitors in our main gallery. We'd love to have some more room for each of them, but for now they line up to make a most interesting photograph. In order, they are the Lockheed L-1011, The Boeing 747 and the Concorde SST. Each model has a unique story.

The five-foot long L-1011 cutaway was acquired by the museum in horrible condition. Dennis McCarthy, one of our great volunteers, spent nearly a year meticulously restoring both the interior and exterior. From the below-deck galley to the 200 re-painted seats and accompanying armrests, it's a sight to see!

The 9 1/2-foot long Boeing 747-100 cutaway was originally situated in TWA's London ticket office at Piccadilly Circus. After becoming obsolete in appearance, it went back to the U.S., where TWA gave it to a travel agency. When it was eventually discarded, someone called TWA to report a tail of a large TWA model sticking out from a dumpster. It was rescued by a TWA ticket agent and delivered to our museum. It's since received a lot of TLC from us. Quite a model and quite a story!

The Concorde SST never flew for TWA, but we have a great seven-foot model to show what might have been. In the mid-1960s, TWA jumped on the supersonic bandwagon and took options to purchase six Concordes. For several reasons, the Concorde lost its attraction and TWA (along with all but two airlines) cancelled the options. Nevertheless, our model attracts a great deal of interest... And many questions!

Want to know more about these and some of our other models? Check out our blog article, "Our Model Citizens". We think you'll enjoy it   
(posted week of 10/23/17)


You're looking at another significant piece of history our museum is privileged to own. On April 17, 1944, TWA flew non-stop, coast-to-coast in a record time of 6 hours, 57 minutes. It was was performed in a Lockheed Constellation, making the trip from Burbank, CA to Washington, DC. It was no ordinary flight. The aircraft was the second production model of the Constellation (actually a military version, known as a C-69) and Howard Hughes (then TWA's owner) arranged for TWA to deliver the airplane to the Army Air Forces, in Washington. He even had the plane "temporarily" painted in TWA colors for the flight.

The document pictured is the actual navigator's log from the flight. As can be seen in the upper right-hand corner, one of the pilots was indeed Howard Hughes. He shared the captain's duties with TWA President, Jack Frye. Hughes occupied the left seat for the first half of the flight and Frye flew the second half, also executing the landing in Washington. The rest of the crew also consisted of TWA employees. 

The military version of the Constellation performed personnel transport service toward the end of World War Two and beyond. Two years later (1946), TWA would take delivery of its first Constellation (the model 049) and the rest, is history. TWA would eventually fly over 150 Constellations in passenger service, with the last flight occurring on April 6, 1967.

By the way, if you're interested in getting a closer look at the contents of the log (and it's quite something to read), we have posted a larger photograph. Click here to get a closer look. 
(posted week of 10/16/17)


On June 14, 1985, TWA flight 847, a Boeing 727-231 aircraft was hijacked to Beirut, Lebanon on its way from Athens to Rome. In exchange for the safe release of the 139 passengers and eight crew, the hijackers (identified as associates of the Hezbollah organization) demanded the release of several hundred prisoners held in Israeli custody. The hijacking turned into a 17-day ordeal, with the airplane making two round trips between Beirut and Algiers. When it was over, there was one casualty, a U.S. Navy serviceman, Robert Stethem.

Throughout this entire ordeal flight 847's Captain, John Testrake displayed tremendous courage and poise. The often-seen picture above was taken at a press conference, held by the airplane, in Beirut. Captain Testrake calmly answered questions, while one of the hijackers wielded a pistol, at times held inches from Testrake's head. In addition to Captain Testrake, the entire TWA crew performed extraordinarily. Of note was Flight Service Manager Uli Derickson, who often stood her ground against the hijackers, in their attempts to harm, harass and frighten passengers.

The photograph is one of our museum's treasured items. After returning to the United States, Captain Testrake gave this picture to the TWA Credit Union with the humorous inscription: "This guy needs a loan. Can you help???" Known to his peers as a gentleman and ultimate professional, John Testrake passed away in in 1996.

(posted week of 10/9/17)


A 1979 class of newly-hired flight attendants are trained in water evacuation (or "ditching") at TWA's Breech Training Academy, located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City.

Built in 1969 and named in honor of former TWA Board Chairman Ernest R. Breech, the training center was set on a sprawling 25-acre campus, which housed a main building and three dormitory structures. Though its major role was to train flight attendants, several other TWA employee groups also made occasional use of Breech. It was considered among the premier flight attendant training facilities in the world.

In 1981, a freeze in flight attendant hiring and the costs associated in maintaining the campus resulted in TWA phasing out the usage of Breech. It was closed in 1982 and sold to a real estate development group in 1985. The campus and its buildings remain today at the intersection of Lamar Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway, used as offices by financial services and marketing companies.
(posted week of 10/2/17)


Among the very special items in our museum's archives is a container of the tiles that were used in constructing the interior of the world-famous TWA Flight Center at New York's Kennedy International Airport. Affectionately known as "penny tiles", millions of these were used to surface floors, walls, stairwells and a variety of other spaces in the terminal.

Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962. The last passenger flight departed the terminal in 2001. Since then, the building has stood vacant, undergoing significant modifications in 2005 to serve as a "gateway" to an adjacent terminal complex built by Jet Blue Airways.

In 2015, a new and exciting role for this great building was announced. MCR Development announced it was using the iconic main structure of the terminal as the core of the new TWA Hotel. Construction of the 505-room hotel is well underway, with completion scheduled for 2018. More information about this incredible project is available at

And the penny tiles? MCR Director Kaunteya Chitnis tells us salvageable tiles are being restored and where needed, replacement tiles will closely resemble the originals. Wow!
(posted week of 9/25/17)  

(We've added a current photo of how things look today. Scroll to the bottom of this week's post to see the transformation!) 

You may not be aware that before there was a Kansas City International Airport, there was TWA's Maintenance and Overhaul base. Built in 1957, the base (and a north/south runway) occupied land that would eventually be shared with the airport, upon the latter's completion in 1972 . That large tract of prairie beyond the hangars (you're looking west) is today occupied by MCI's passenger terminals and three runways. 

Shortly after MCI opened in 1972, TWA expanded its facility by adding two "super hangars" to house the new generation of Boeing 747 and Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jets. Today, the complex of buildings remains, leased to private companies.

Note: For those of you who are TWA airplane buffs, the picture also contains seven Martins (202s and 404s) and two Lockheed Constellations. You might need to zoom in on the image, to spot them all. 

Special note: See our 7/31/17 photo of the week for a look inside the engine shop (that's the smaller building to the left).

Added 9/13/17
We received some letters asking where terminals, runways, etc. are situated today. We found the following picture: 

Original photograph by Americasroof, posted on English Wikipedia

Some of the empty space is now occupied by the east/west runway (9/27) on the left side (the path of the original east/west taxiway is still there). The original north/south runway (today 1L/19R) is still seen at the top. An additional north/south runway (1R/19L) has been added (passing right behind the base). Two of MCI's three terminals can also be seen (termainals B and C). Behind the original hangar building you can see the complex containing the "super hangars" that were opened in 1973.
 (posted weeks of 9/11/17 and 9/18/17)

We really smiled when someone donated the above to our museum. In the mid-1970s, TWA introduced Trans World Service featuring a "Taste of Europe in the U.S.A.", with service on certain domestic flights themed to match countries on TWA's international network (not to be confused with the 1968 "Foreign Accent" campaign and its ill-fated paper uniforms).

TWA's advertising agency (Wells Rich Greene) even had a song written, which was used on television and radio commercials. A unique marketing piece, the surface layer of the sheet music above was a clear plastic phonograph record. You could listen and sing (or play) along.

Another memorable part of the "Taste of Europe" campaign were the television commercials starring British actor Peter Sellers, who played three stereotypical European characters. Prior to this, Sellers had never done television commercials. We think he did a pretty good job. Be prepared to smile: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMMERICAL
(posted week of 9/4/17)

Museum volunteer and former TWA pilot Frank Von Geyso helps keep our museum's Lockheed JetStar II humming. The aircraft (registration N77C, msn 5232) was donated to our museum in July, 2016.  During 1967-1972, TWA leased three JetStars for real time pilot flight training. Although our JetStar is not one of those three (ours was manufactured in 1979), it closely resembles them and allows us to convey the unique relationship TWA had with this aircraft type. Currently standing right outside our museum, next to TWA's "Wings of Pride" MD-83, the JetStar is available for our guests to visit.

While we have no plans to make it airworthy, it's important to us to keep the plane in good condition: inside, outside and under the hood. Systems (including the engines) are periodically run and checked out by our pilot-volunteers. As seen in the photograph, the cockpit has a very impressive array of instrumentation to support the operation of this iconic 4-engine private jet. (posted week of 8/28/17)

Artifacts and documents related to TWA aircraft accidents are among the most important pieces in our museum's collection. Like other pioneers of early commercial aviation, TWA experienced accidents. The photograph above is a passenger seat ashtray that was recovered from the wreckage of Transcontinental and Western Air flight 1295. The DC-2 (acquired new, only three months earlier) was flying from Albuquerque, NM to Kansas City in the early morning fog and darkness on May 6, 1935. The plane was being flown at a dangerously low altitude when it crashed into the ground in rural Macon County, MO. The pilots were killed as were three of the six passengers. Among the fatalities was New Mexico U.S. Senator Bronson M. Cutting. 

The accident report cited poor performance by the U.S. Weather Bureau for not correctly evaluating the deteriorating weather and visibility developing in Kansas City. The aircraft was also improperly cleared by personnel and crew, who were aware the aircraft's two-way radio was malfunctioning. In a subsequent report, a U.S. Senate committee also claimed the U.S. Bureau of Air Commerce had not properly maintained necessary navigational aids. As a result, the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 was enacted, forming the basis of what would become the Civil Aeronautics Board. As to be expected, the causes of this accident were carefully investigated and evaluated. Necessary changes were enacted by T&WA and the government, ensuring improved safety for all future passengers and crew. 
(posted week 8/21/17)

The sight of this Lockheed L-749 Constellation at Orly Field in Paris is impressive enough, but what really makes this photo from our archives intriguing is what's going on underneath the aircraft. That large object hanging from the Connie's belly was known as a "Speedpak". It was an external cargo container (or pod) that was literally attached (when needed) to the bottom of the airplane. Measuring 33'x7'x3', it could hold 8,200 pounds of cargo. After loading, it was wheeled to the aircraft (yes, it had wheels) and an electric hoist system lifted it to the bottom of the plane, where it was secured. Although the photo has no date, we can tell you the aircraft (the "Star of West Virginia") was acquired by TWA in 1951. Based on the photo's general appearance, we'll call it mid-1950s. There's more! On February 21, 1955, a Speedpak was used to haul a small sports car on a TWA Constellation from London to Frankfurt. Hard to believe? CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LOOK.
(posted week of 8/14/17)

First acquired by TWA in 1940, the Boeing 307 Stratoliner ushered in a new level of passenger comfort thanks, in large part, to the advent of airplane cabin pressurization. The first commercial airliner to be pressurized, the Stratoliner could cruise up to 20,000 feet, making for a very smooth ride. TWA capitalized on this by making the interiors roomy and plush, for its 33 passengers. Its glamorous existence was cut short by World War II, when the U.S. government requisitioned TWA's fleet of five Stratoliners and used them to ferry munitions to Allied troops fighting in Europe and North Africa. Upon their return to TWA's fleet, their usefulness was quickly eclipsed by TWA's acquisition of more advanced aircraft, most notably the Lockheed Constellation. The Stratoliner's career with TWA came to an end in 1951. We have more to tell you about this most unique airplane in our blog article: TWA'S Stratoliner- Performing Under Pressure.  (CLICK HERE TO READ IT).  
(posted week of 8/7/17)

The engine shop at TWA's Kansas City Maintenance and Overhaul Base was the location of this interesting and impressive photograph, as technicians worked on Pratt and Whitney JT4 turbojet engines. There is no date assigned to the photo, however, it was likely in the early 1960s, as these engines powered TWA's early Boeing 707 aircraft. Opened in 1957 (15 years before the Kansas City International Airport would occupy adjacent grounds) the base was significantly expanded in the 1970s to accommodate larger, wide-bodied aircraft. Today, much of the complex of shops and bays is still in operation, leased to private maintenance contractors and even houses an electric vehicle assembly facility.
(posted week of 7/31/17)

Among the items in our archives' "promotional photos" drawer sits the above. That's the set of the Price Is Right television show, back in 1968. We assume Bob Barker was either doing a commercial spot for TWA or a trip on TWA was an item up for bid. In either case, TWA's "Foreign Accent Flights" promotion was on display, as the ladies were modeling the four associated flight attendant uniforms. The uniforms were made of paper and designed to be worn during the flight and then disposed of afterward. The paper uniforms proved to be troublesome and the promotion lasted barely a year. Interested to know more? Our blog article about TWA's flight attendants follows the chronology of uniforms worn and much more. CLICK HERE TO READ IT.
(posted week of 7/24/17)

Among the many historic passenger amenities we display, this one gets some grins. According to records in our archives, this "footie" slipper (we trust it was one of two) was given to TWA passengers starting in 1946. They were distributed on overnight flights, including those on which passengers were offered sleeping accommodations.
(posted week of 7/17/17)

Visitors often ask how our museum acquires our many pieces and artifacts. The answers vary, but this model of a TWA Convair 880 was recently left outside our door (by an anonymous donor) while the museum was closed. At 28" in length and having a 27" wingspan, it's a very impressive model. It's pictured in our workshop and will soon be repaired and renovated to be displayed. TWA flew 28 of these jets, mostly acquired in 1961. The Convair 880 and Boeing 707 flew concurrently for many years, comprising TWA's earliest jet fleet.
(posted week of 7/10/17)

TWA Museum archive photo by Jack McClain
On November 10-13, 1984, Kansas City received an unexpected visitor. As part of an extensive goodwill tour, the space shuttle Enterprise, piggy-backed on a NASA 747, was headed to California from New Orleans. Bad weather to the west forced it to divert to Kansas City International Airport. The unexpected three-day stopover captured Kansas City's attention and imagination! Parked at TWA's maintenance and overhaul base, TWA management seized the opportunity and positioned one of its own 747s, nose-to-nose. Word got around town quickly and thousands came up to the airport to see this amazing sight. The first space shuttle to be built, Enterprise never went into space, instead launched from atop a 747 for earth atmosphere gliding and landing tests. Enterprise resides today aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid museum, in New York City.
(posted week of 7/3/17)

With the advent of Lockheed Constellation services overseas, a need arose to be able to ferry replacement engines to points in Europe and southern Asia. In 1956, TWA purchased and modified a Fairchild C-82A for that purpose. The aircraft was based at Orly Field in Paris. To increase load carrying capability, a jet engine was affixed to the top, upgraded in 1962 to a 3,250-lb-thrust Westinghouse J-34. Affectionately known as "Ontos" (the Greek word meaning "thing"), TWA's "flying repair station" performed reliably, hauling numerous Constellation piston engines and Boeing 707 jet engines to TWA eastern hemisphere airports until its retirement in 1972.
(posted week of 6/26/17) 

In an attempt to gain a competitive edge, TWA offered "Blue Chip" service between New York and Chicago, starting in 1968. Part of the service included beer on tap. It was a good idea, but didn't quite make the grade. Handling and storage of the portable kegs presented some logistical problems and tapping the brew at cabin pressure produced more foam than beer. That feature of Blue Chip service didn't last long. The picture also gives us a peek at the special Blue Chip uniforms (on the right) worn by flight attendants. By the way, in 2016 Heineken claimed to have perfected the process, so there might be a cold one on tap in store for you on a future flight, somewhere. Interested in more information about Blue Chip service and the TWA flight attendants who provided it? Check out our blog article: Presenting The Case For TWA's Flight Attendants.
(posted week of 6/19/17)

Once upon a time, a complementary deck of playing cards was a perk available to every airline passenger. Airlines gave away millions of decks. Among our most unusual possessions are hundreds and hundreds of these items. In addition to those of TWA, we have decks representing many airlines around the world (past and present).
(posted week of 6/12/17)

You always knew when TWA's 727-231 N64347 was in town! Starting in 1996, it displayed a unique St. Louis Rams helmet graphic, in conjunction with TWA being the Rams' official airline. Naming rights were also obtained for their home field, the Trans World Dome. Acquired new by TWA in 1979, N64347's last revenue flight occurred in August, 1999. As for the Rams, after a 20-year residence in St. Louis, they moved back to Los Angeles in 2016. 
(posted week of 6/5/17)

TWA'S marketing folks found a unique way to announce the inauguration of Boeing 747 service from Chicago to Los Angeles, on May 14, 1970. Printed on a thin sponge, the image would literally expand when dipped in water. Nicely done!
(posted week of 5/29/17)

Only three month's after his historic Transatlantic crossing, Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis to Kansas City to participate in the dedication of Kansas City's Municipal Airport on August 17, 1927.  A crowd estimated at 20,000 were on hand to greet him. Just four years later, TWA would build its headquarters building at the airport, which still stands today and houses the TWA Museum. The airport itself (Charles B.Wheeler Kansas City Airport - MKC) remains a busy place, seeing over 70,000 aircraft movements in 2016.
(posted week of 5/22/17)

Passengers traveling on Transcontinental Air Transport's 1929 plane/train coast-to-coast journey were given this map booklet to help them identify the cities and sights that appeared below. The map also pointed out the communications and weather observation networks, mostly built by TAT. In October 1930, TAT and Western Air Express combined to become TWA. Look for our next blog article coming soon, which will chronicle this historic journey. 
(posted week of 5/15/17)

Workers from Dimensional Innovations (a great company and great friends of our museum) affix the classic TWA "double-globe" logo to our museum's Lockheed JetStar II. Donated to our museum in July, 2016, it's actually a later version of the two JetStars TWA used for pilot training, back in the 1960s. The attachment of the logos is the first step in giving the plane its TWA identity. Sitting right next to the "Wings of Pride" MD-83, both aircraft are open to our visitors (weather and ramp conditions permitting). Also, a blog article about the JetStar and its history with TWA will be coming in the future.
(posted week of 5/8/17) 

Although this photo from our archives is 70 years old, the sight of TWA's Constellation NC86507, the "Star of Madrid" overhead still makes an awesome impression. This aircraft (a model 049) entered TWA service in March, 1946. TWA would eventually fly four model types of the Connie, finally retiring the last one in April, 1967.
(posted week of 5/1/17)

This image of TWA twin hostesses in 1956 created good publicity for TWA while they were "ambassadors" at the New York Summer Festival. They also charmed and confused passengers, when working the same flight. 
(posted week of 4/24/17)

We're guessing the pilot of the approaching Beech Hawker 800 did a double-take, as he saw eight members of the Patrouille de France poised for takeoff, waiting for him to land. The French jet squadron was in Kansas City on March 30, for the World War I centennial celebration. This scene took place at K.C.'s Downtown Airport, right by our museum. Interesting sights like this are often seen outside our doorway. 
(posted week of 4/17/17)

A seat from a Ford Tri-Motor (likely a 5-AT-B) circa 1929. Fist flown by Transcontinental Air Transport (TWA's predecessor), this was one of 10-13 seats on a typical Tri-Motor. Made of light-weight wicker, these seats were adorned with cushions and a rear slipcover. The museum was advised that this seat was occupied by Amelia Earhardt, during a flight she took on TAT. The world-famous aviatrix was employed by TAT from 1929-1930. Photos of Ms. Earhardt on and around TAT Tri-Motor aircraft are displayed near the seat.
(posted week of 4/10/17)

The Link bubble sextant was used by TWA navigators when the airline began Transatlantic service in 1946. It would eventually be replaced by a periscopic sextant. The need for a navigator in the cockpit was eliminated with the advent of more sophisticated guidance systems, beginning with TWA's usage of Doppler radar in 1962.
(posted week of 4/3/17)

At one time, TWA had options to purchase both the Boeing SST (foreground) and the Concorde SST. Neither happened as TWA withdrew its options for the Concorde in 1973 and Boeing would eventually abandon development of theirs.Want to know more? See our article about TWA and the SST at:
(posted week of 3/27/17)

An autographed menu from a meal served after the arrival of one of TWA's international "survey" flights at Shannon, Ireland on September 25,1945. Survey flights were performed in advance of TWA's passenger-carrying international flights (begun in 1946). This flight carried operations and technical personnel on a 14,000 mile journey, going as far as Cairo, Egypt. The flight took place on a converted Douglas C54E Skymaster. The autographs belonged to some of the TWA personnel on the flight. 
(posted week of 3/20/17)

Amenities kit, circa 1935! Given to passengers flying (what was then) Transcontinental and Western Airlines, some chewing gum often allowed passengers to better tolerate altitude changes, in the days before pressurized aircraft. 
(posted week of 3/13/17)

We visited our archives to come up with this photo from the "TWA Today" issue of July 17, 1972. A 747-131 is shown being serviced in one of TWA's two new wide-body hangars at its Kansas City overhaul base. A climb of three flights of scaffold stairs was necessary to get you close to the 31-foot high front of the aircraft. 
(posted week of 3/6/17) 

On a calm autumn afternoon, the Wings of Pride and our museum's Lockheed Jetstar II  shine in a Midwestern sunset.
(posted week of 2/27/17)

Recent visitors to Kansas City's Downtown Airport were a group of A-10 Thunderbolt jets from nearby Whiteman Air Force Base. Two were parked in TWA's historical first hangar (built in 1931). The hangar's entrance to our museum is seen in the background (you can spot part of our logo, just under the left engine, above the wing). Several of our visitors got the unexpected chance to view them, before the planes left.
(posted week of 2/20/17)

Let's eat! 1960s-era first class meal included fine china and complimentary cigarettes.
(week of 2/13/17)

The big guy is getting a face lift!  Look for a spruced-up interior and new inside lighting on our 1/24 scale 747 model when we re-open the museum on Feb 14.
(posted week of 2/6/17)