Stealth-plane-inspired Flight Test Museum readies for takeoff
Prestigious US firm Gensler has revealed plans for a striking new museum that's dedicated to the history of test flights and historic aircraft. The building will be defined by a metallic roof that's inspired by the distinctive angular features of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane.
The Flight Test Museum will be located near the Edwards Air Force Base in Antelope Valley, California, which has been a center of flight research for decades. The building itself will consist of a simple rectangular aircraft-hangar-type body that will measure 60,000 sq ft (5,574 sq m), topped by that aircraft-inspired roof, which may not look exactly like a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk but it's certainly eye-catching.
"The reimagination of the Flight Test Museum coincides with the rise of commercial space exploration and the 75th anniversary of the breaking of the sound barrier," explained Gensler. "Antelope Valley has seen milestones like testing America's first jet, rocket plane flights to the edge of space, and the first glide flights of the space shuttle, and continues to remain as a hub of developmental flight tests to this day for all the same reasons.
"The design vision for the new museum marries the rectangular shape of an airplane hangar with the dynamic geometry of a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane. The angular roof element funnels down to the ground floor entrance, which helps guide visitors to the main lobby and creates a dramatic sense of welcome."
The interior of the museum will host a welcome lounge, classrooms, library and a gift shop. There will also be a branded bar named in honor of Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes, the female pilot who founded the first movie stunt pilots' union.
An upper gallery space will provide a vantage point for viewing the collection of over 80 historic aircraft that will be installed, plus there will be outdoor exhibits for the Nighthawk, as well as a Black Hawk. Additionally, the museum will be used to host fundraisers, events and temporary exhibits.
Work on the project is currently underway and it’s expected to be completed in 2024.