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Museum fundraisers take off

Whatever your feelings about war, the aircraft involved in past conflicts are an important part of our nation’s history. The Hixson Museum of Flight, which has a mission of preserving historically significant aircraft and supporting Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, is holding two upcoming fundraisers.

The museum’s fourth annual Open Hangar Gala at Wilson Air Center, located at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, is Saturday, April 12 starting at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s definitely a unique venue,” said museum board member Peter O’Hare. “Not a lot of things go on at the airport because of security requirements.”

Attendees will be treated to as much as they can eat and drink, with food catered by BiBa’s Italian Restaurant. A silent auction will be held as attendees wander around the hangar checking out the warbirds on display. A live band and DJ will also provide entertainment.

“There’s something for everyone,” O’Hare said.

Tickets are $100 per person or $800 for tables of eight. Funds will go toward maintenance of the museum’s aircraft as well as to Children’s Hospital.

For those who want more than just a look at the historic aircraft, the museum is offering Huey and Cobra rides at Dallas Bay Skypark Saturday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“These aircraft were made famous by the Vietnam conflict,” said O’Hare.

The museum offered the rides for the first time last year, and they were so popular that organizers plan to do it twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.

“The community loves it,” O’Hare said. “The biggest complaint we got was that we didn’t give people notice in advance.”

He highly recommends that those who want a ride get tickets early, especially for the Cobra, a one-seater.

The cost to ride the Huey if tickets are purchased in advance is $75, or $85 the day of. A Cobra ride is $500 in advance or $600 the day of the event.

“We want to be able to show the importance of aircraft in history,” said O’Hare, adding that the museum has restored four historic aircraft since it was founded in 2010. “We had to turn people away last year because we ran out of hours in the day.”