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American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum

7 January 2013

American Airlines CR Smith Museum

32º 50′ 00″ N/ 97º 03′ 48″ W

American Airlines logo with the American Airlines Eagle — photo by Joseph May

American Airlines logo with the American Airlines Eagle — photo by Joseph May

CR Smith — more formerly, Cyrus Rowlett Smith — was a champion of the cross-country airline industry in his position as CEO of American Airlines (AA). He is credited with instigating the design of the Douglas DC-3, one of the World’s most successful and produced aircraft, after a long conversation with that company. His manner was direct and open which served him well in AA as well as with his service in the Air Transport Command during WW II — returning to AA after that war.

American Airlines CR Smith Museum entrance — photo by Joseph May

American Airlines CR Smith Museum entrance — photo by Joseph May

Pleasing aerodynamic architectural influence of the museum's main wing — photo by Joseph May

Pleasing aerodynamic architectural influence of the museum’s main wing — photo by Joseph May

The museum named for him is an excellent commemoration of him and of the vast history of American Airlines. The entry is into a round building made of textured stone with the building style segueing into a Bernoulli Principle inspired adjunct wing. This wing houses the Douglas DC-3 known as the American Airlines Flagship Knoxville — sitting within a floor-to-ceiling windowed niche. The display is almost breathtaking and is certainly lovingly respectful. The story of this DC-3 and its journey to its home is a remarkable one and the subject of a soon to be published post.

Douglas DC-3 "Knoxville" — photo by Joseph May

Douglas DC-3 “Flagship Knoxville” — photo by Joseph May

Douglas DC-3 "Flagship Knoxville" cockpit exterior — photo by Joseph May

Douglas DC-3 “Flagship Knoxville” cockpit exterior — photo by Joseph May

On the other side of the museum, nearer the entrance is an amphitheater arranged to view a 42′ x 36′ (approximately 13m x 11m) digital HD screen showing the 15 minute film, Spirit of American. This movie is large on scope and almost unbelievably has the viewer in formation with a DC-3, DC-7 and Boeing 757 — the three flight crews flying aircraft hardly more dissimilar in flight characteristics in such close proximity is a wonder to see.  Between the film and the Flagship Knoxville are many additional exhibits for children as well as adults.

Wright R-3350 engine — photo by Joseph May

Wright R-3350 engine, one of the most powerful radial aviation engines produced and used on B-29 as well as DC-7 aircraft — photo by Joseph May

The location of the American Airlines CR Smith Museum is well within Fort Worth TX just a few minutes drive from Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and is a welcoming high grade museum for adults and children. Given its central location there is no need for eating facilities or vending machines — the museum is well kept with excellent restroom facilities.

The next post, Wednesday’s, will see more of the Flagship Knoxville and Friday’s post will show the magnificent first hangar of American Airlines.

Special note: our thanks to Marty and Jayne Davis for the making of this trip to visit this museum.

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