From Our Readers Dick Westbrook


Reading Midwest Flyer Magazine has been a must for me for many decades; it’s the first thing I look for in an airport lobby while on layover.  Hence, I’m very familiar and appreciate your interest in promoting the Iowa Aviation Museum. Don’t know if you’ve been here before, so a little bit of history.

The museum was the idea of long-time Piper distributor, Howard Gregory (Des Moines Flying Service, Chicago Piper, and HondaJet Midwest), who dedicated it to those fixed base operators (FBOs) whose blood, sweat and tears promoted general aviation in Iowa. Now in our 24th year, later this year we will be dedicating a plaque to the “Second Generation FBOs,” many of whom are the sons and daughters of the pioneer FBOs.

In 1989, Yvonne Schildberg donated the majority of her husband’s (John E. F. Schildberg) vintage airplane collection and the museum was off and running.

Last summer when we introduced our “Taking Flight in a New Direction” effort, the first resolution was to rename the museum the Iowa Aviation Museum located at John E. F. Schildberg Field. The second was to name Yvonne Schildberg as “Board Member Emeritus.” Yes, Yvonne is still very active at the museum. You’ll be able to see and visit with her at every fly-in.

The board of directors is currently taking on the day-to-day operations, which includes a reorganization of virtually every aspect of what comprises the Iowa Aviation Museum. As part of our new program, we have revamped the membership program, inviting everyone to “Climb on Board” by becoming a “Crew Member;” introduced a new Hall of Fame selection process; and much, much more.

The most exciting change involves the display of the Iowa men, women and machines, which have contributed so much to aviation. In the past, we were only able to display (aircraft and memorabilia); now, our focus is to tell the story of everything within our walls. To this end, we’ve received a grant to begin researching the men, women and machines, and creating new, contemporary exhibits.

In conjunction, we are undertaking our first ever inventory of everything within the museum. This will allow constant rotation of displays, which we will publicize to our members and visitors through our all-new website and publications, such as yours.

We are excited to be able to introduce young people to aviation in a fashion that will peak their interest. Aviation needs new blood and we view this as our responsibility and we take this seriously.

We have so many one-of-a-kind items from the oldest Curtiss-Robin, to the original newspaper articles describing Buddy Holly’s crash. We are packaging this material to create interest for everyone and interest is catching on.

For the first time current members of the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame selected who should join their ranks. Plans are underway for a huge fall ceremony with many of the descendants in attendance.

On June 2, 2014, I announced at the Cedar Falls Rotary Club that this year’s inductees to the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame are the three participants in the Doolittle Raid of 1942.

The Hall of Fame section of the website depicts the courageous Iowa men and women who have given so much in their contributions to aviation.

(For instance), few know that the Wright brothers owned land just a few miles northwest of the Greenfield airport and sold the land in 1902. Take a look at the museum’s website:

Yes, it’s an exciting time at the museum, so please “climb on board” as we “take flight in a new direction.” We could certainly use your help in getting the word out.

As a thank you, we are making you a complimentary “Crew Member,” so watch your mail for your crew card.  Once again, thanks for everything and please stop in and see us.

Dick Westbrook
Vice President/Treasurer
Iowa Aviation Museum
Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame
Greenfield, Iowa

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Iowa Aviation Museum will hold its 22nd Annual Wings Fly-In/Drive-In on Sunday, August 24, 2014, from 7:30 to 11:00 am. Purchase of meal includes free admission to the museum until 12:00 noon (

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