In 1950, Sidney Shannon Jr. founded Shannon Airport. Shannon was an aviation enthusiast with a business background. He inherited his love for aviation from his father, Sid Shannon Sr., who co-founded Eastern Airlines with WWI Ace, Eddie Rickenbacker.
Shannon Airport was a landmark general aviation airport where regular events, airshows, and fly-ins were held. People from all over the community and beyond would attend.
In the mid 70s, Shannon Jr. opened the Shannon Air Museum, which housed one of the rarest collections of aircraft in the world at that time, each aircraft dating back to the golden age of flight.
After the death of Sid Shannon Jr., the airport fell into hard times. The Shannon collection was moved to the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond, VA.
Thankfully, the airport was saved by an aviation enthusiast, Billie Toombs, and her partner, Robert Stanley. Billie worked for Sid Jr. from the time she was a teenager. Had the pair not bought the airport, developers would have bought the land for commercial real estate.
In 2014, the airport was bought by Luke Curtas, and his wife Kim, local entrepreneurs who saw a future for the airport. Several years later, Luke began entertaining the idea of getting a few of the planes from Shannon’s collection back at the airport. He mentioned this desire to several people in the aviation community.
With the help of the Shannon Air Wing, our volunteer aircraft maintenance team, we were able to get the whole collection moved back. The Shannon Air Museum held a grand reopening in 2017 to celebrate.
We’ve been evolving ever since, and we hope to continue to evolve into an interactive museum with a special focus on youth.