Soaring to new heights: Soaring museum offers valuable lessons

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By Kirsten Laskey

The U.S. Southwest Soaring Museum in Moriarty, N.M., has a lot of history lessons to teach, not just to Moriarty residents but to everyone.

Within the museum, there are 36 historically significant sailplanes, which are powerless aircraft. There is also a large collection of scale models of historically important gliders and a photograph collection, which depicts the history of soaring.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum also hosts dinners and other events. Allene Lindstrom of Los Alamos, a director of the museum foundation board, added Lockheed Martin awarded the museum a grant to help establish an education program, but she said the process is slow and more support is needed.

Education opportunities are available, however. According to a press release, the museum staff has worked with Moriarty High School to offer an aviation technology class this fall.

Lindstrom explained the museum was always a goal of its president, George Appleby.

Lindstrom became involved in the museum after donating a glider, which previously belonged to her father, to the museum.

The museum was incorporated in 1996 and the first hangar was purchased at the Moriarty Airport in 1999.

A second hangar was completed in 1997. The newest building, which is 38,400-square feet, was finished two years ago.

Lindstrom said the museum became a 501 c(3) in 1994 and its foundation, which raises money for the museum, was given its 501 c(3) status in 2005.

It has had good deal of success, Lindstrom said. For instance, Appleby was awarded the Federal Aviation Administration Master Mechanic Award in September 2007.

While the city of Moriarty and its local businesses are prone to support the museum, outside support is needed to continue its work.

Benefiting the museum is an advantage for everyone, she said. “If people look at history, they can benefit from the trials and tribulations of their predecessors,” Lindstrom said. “The museum is there to preserve history of soaring and to encourage aviation.”

Being from Los Alamos, Lindstrom observed, local support could be sparked “because Los Alamos is a community where (people’s) interests is peaked in many things and aviation is one of these things.”

Plus, “it diversifies interest in the community,” she said.

For more information, call Lindstrom at 662-7510.

The museum is located 918 E. Old Country Road in Moriarty.

Editor’s Note: For photos, see page B3