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Charlotte-Douglas International Airport — where aviation is on display inside and out

5 March 2012

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport — where aviation is on display inside and out

A few months ago I was in this airport and had the time to walk around and enjoy the aviation related displays there — at least three of the ones which are there.

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Main Terminal

In the main terminal, on the ticketing level, is a scale model of a Wright Brothers glider notable for its forward positioned horizontal stabilizer, a design element favored by the brothers as it added a bit of crash protection which they thought would have prevented some of the fatalities in designs of earlier aviation pioneers.

Wright Brothers glider model at the ticketing level of the Main Terminal — photo by Joseph May

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Concourse D

Going all the way to the end of Concourse D will reward you with an almost rare Bellanca 14-9L, the first private aircraft designed with retractable landing gear. This aircraft is in the livery of State Airlines — but I could not find any other information about that particular part of airline history.

The Bellanca 14-9L suspended with Concourse D — photo by Joseph May

Note the retracted landing gear, a first for private aircraft — photo by Joseph May

The Bellanca's main gear retracted rearward, the tail wheel had no need to retract, and the additional vertical surfaces can easily be seen in this view — photo by Joseph May

A close up showing an airstream powered generator inboard of the left main gear — photo by Joseph May

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Concourse E

Half  the way down Concourse E brings you to a stairway leading to a lower level and the landing’s balcony makes for a perfectly positioned elevation to view the model of a Wright Flyer there.

The model of the Wright Flyer suspended at balcony level — photo by Joseph May

A better view of how the model is situated above the main stairs in Concourse E — photo by Joseph May

Closer view, catapult launches made landing gear moot but landings must have been a skidding and sliding affair — photo by Joseph May

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. shortfinals permalink
    7 March 2012 23:57

    There are a few more details on this photograph, which might be confirmed……………

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      8 March 2012 09:47

      Yes, thanks. I attempted (but failed) to find more information in general but could not confirm that the aircraft is on loan from the Carolinas Aviation Museum (CAM), though I think that it is, nor info in the airline. There was no information presented on the concourse, the airport’s web site or the CAM. Unfortunately, par for the course is it not?

  2. Dean S. Derby permalink
    31 December 2013 20:45

    What a great job of displaying old aircraft. I would like to call them antiques, but I worked on some as an A&E mechanic. The Bellanca in D Concourse fooled me. It had a radial engine. Too small for a Continental or Kenner. Embenage configuration was definitely Bellanca. Vertical stabilizers on the horizontal stabilizer. I did not find that out until I looked it up in the internet. There was a all aluminum fuselage with inline engine. Maybe a Ranger engine. No only 3 exhaust pipes. Fully rigged low wing monoplane. Ryan? ????? Nice aviation exhibit. Have somebody placard the displayed ships.

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  1. What's the deal with that big metal thing near the airport? - Charlotte Agenda

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