Did you know that there is a special aviation library located adjacent to the hangar area for private and charter flights in and out of our nearby airport? Maybe you have seen the bomber plane visible from the Billy Graham Parkway that beckons visitors to the Carolinas Aviation Museum? The museum has a nearby library with everything to delight those interested in aviation.
The Dolph Overton Aviation Library is an asset of the Carolinas Historic Aviation Commission (“CHAC”), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the aviation history of the Carolinas. CHAC also operates the Carolinas Aviation Museum located at a nearby facility on First Flight Drive. The Aviation Library is located on City-of-Charlotte-owned property adjacent to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (“CDIA”) and the North Carolina Air National Guard. The location of the library facility lends itself to providing an immersion experience for the visitor: vibrations from nearby powerful jet engines and the distinctive sound and feel of helicopters starting warm-up routines all contribute to a special experience, almost as if a visitor was in an interactive library. The windows of the Aviation Library look out on a CDIA runway and a taxi area for charter flights. The staff of the Aviation Museum regularly witnesses the arrival and departure of professional athletes and rock stars.
Rows of aviation books are in the front room and clipboards on the end of the rows contain check-out sheets where CHAC members sign their name, phone number and a brief description of the material being checked out. The process is very informal and there are no rigid rules about loan periods. At the back of the front room is a wall of models of every imaginable type of airplane. Models of military aircraft are suspended from the ceiling of the front room. The uniform room is a fun place to visit. There is a bomber flight suit! Most branches of the military are represented as are many different time periods and wars. The collection contains both commercial and military aviation uniforms dating back as far as World War I.
There is also a film room with 8mm training films and documentaries crowding every inch of shelf space in the room. Another room contains aviation equipment, some on shelves and some in the hundreds of boxes stacked floor to ceiling in the room. Navigation equipment, cockpit parts and aircraft equipment crowd the limited space.
Adjacent to the equipment room is a work area for a model repairer who comes in once a week to restore models in the Aviation Library’s vast collection. The library receives many donations of models and is unable to properly display them at this time. The staff is hoping to receive donated display cases to accommodate the growing collection.
Journals take up the entirety of yet another room. One journal pulled off the shelf dates back to 1913. The window from this room looks out onto the private charter jet area mentioned above. From this room, you can’t miss the start-up of the helicopters and the jet engines. Other rooms contain photographs and artwork, some framed and some not. Still more rooms are packed with training manuals and maintenance manuals. Every room is packed with items, all of which have been cataloged.
~Mary Susan Lucas~