SANTA MARIA – The Santa Maria Museum of Flight at G. Allan Hancock Airfield has reopened after taking advantage of the COVID-19 shutdown to make improvements.
Among the improvements was refurbishment of the Santa Maria Valley Ninety-Nines Runway of Roses garden and educational display. The refurbishment project was spearheaded by local Eagle Scout candidate Christopher Davis.
Christopher, a longtime member of Boy Scout Troop 87, is a freshman at Righetti High School. He consulted with Museum of Flight board member Patti Lynn about a potential Eagle Scout project, and the two decided on the updating of the Ninety-Nines Runway of Roses garden.
Christopher put together a pre-project plan, created a budget and found sponsors, gathered half a dozen other scouts, and coordinated several workdays. The entire garden was cleaned up and pruned, new rose bushes were planted, the irrigation system was repaired, and fresh bark was installed in the planters.
As part of the Eagle Scout candidate’s project, Christopher will put together a post-project report and present it for his Eagle project review.
The Ninety-Nines Organization of Women Pilots was formed in 1929 by 99 female pilots to provide mutual support and advancement in aviation. The Santa Maria Valley Chapter was formed in 1988.
Located outside the museum near the parking lot, Runway of Roses garden and educational display provides inspirational and educational information about important female pilots in the area.
In addition to renovations on the Runway of Roses, the Museum of Flight also made improvements to the hangar building, which houses many of its educational displays. Originally a movie prop for the 1991 Disney hit “The Rocketeer,” the building houses many displays of local aviation interest, along with some additional props from the movie.
During the most recent pandemic shutdown, the museum’s board of directors and staff replaced the building’s roof and some deteriorated exterior wall siding.
The museum, which reopened March 26 and follows all state and local health protocols, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Docent -led tours are available, and special tours or private events can be arranged by calling the museum at 805-922-8758.
More information can be found at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s Facebook page.
— Dave Mason