Did you know that Delta Air Lines, founded in 1924 in Macon, was the world’s first aerial crop dusting company? On a recent visit to the newly renovated Delta Flight Museum, my family and I learned a lot about Delta’s history.
The museum is just north of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It is inside two former maintenance hangars built in the 1940s that once served as the original Delta headquarters. Hangar One displays the age of the Propeller Planes. Five planes are on exhibit, along with remnants from the past that show the humble beginnings of flight. The exhibit covers the 1920s to the arrival of prop jets in 1959 and captures the evolution of closed cabin comfort, customer service and luxury travel.
A sound tunnel bridges the gap between Hangar One, Delta’s past, and exhibits in Hangar Two, Delta’s future. At the entrance of the tunnel, you hear the sound of propeller planes, then gradually, the sound of jet engines as you enter the Jet-Age. Hangar Two covers 1959 to the present and takes you on a journey to the future of flight. The Spirit of Delta, Delta’s first Boeing 767, dominates Hangar Two. The plane was purchased by Delta employees, retirees and friends and donated to Delta in1982. My family and I were amazed as we toured the inside of the Spirit of Delta, which houses exhibits that include vintage designer uniforms and games and toys that were inspired by Delta.
The museum has interactive touch screens – a big hit with my kids – throughout both exhibits.
The highlight of our tour was sitting inside of the Boeing 737 flight simulator. This is the same simulator used to train Delta pilots and the only full-motion professional flight simulator open to the public in the United States. The cost to rent the simulator for up to a group of four (16 and older) is $395. The simulator experience can be added to your cart when purchasing tickets online. The experience lasts for an hour; it includes a 10-minute pre-flight briefing, 45 minutes of actual flight time, and 5 minutes of post flight review.
Insider Tips: The museum does not have lunch options, but plenty of restaurants are nearby. If you are taking younger children be sure to check out the scavenger hunt and preflight check pamphlets at the entrance counter of the museum.
– Marteeta Cannon Spradling
Delta Flight Museum
1060 Delta Blvd., B-914, Atlanta
404-773-1219 or 404-715-7886; deltamuseum.org
Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. and Sat.: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun.: noon-4:30 p.m.; closed Wed.
Cost: $12 adults, $6 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and younger