The Airline History Museum (AHM), formerly known as Save-A-Connie, has been denied access to its hangar facility at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport since last autumn. Signature Aviation, the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the airport, asserts control over the facility despite a 2005 master lease agreement with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, guaranteeing the museum use of Hangar 9 until 2035. However, a district court ruled against the museum in a case filed last year. AHM contends that the court’s decision was erroneous and is currently appealing. Here is our previous article.

On May 7, the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice of Docketing in response to a Part 16 complaint filed by longtime aviation museum “Save-A-Connie,” dba The Airline History Museum of Kansas City. The City of Kansas City has 20 days to respond to the Complaint, filed on May 6, 2024. The complaint includes 48 Items of Proof (IOP) detailing the scope of the issue. The submission can be found on the FAA website at https://www.regulations.gov/document/FAA-2024-1528-0001

 

The Airline Heritage Museum’s hangar, with their Lockheed Constellation on the ramp.

 

The Airline History Museum (AHM) has been fighting Signature Aviation, the KC City Council, and the KC Aviation Department to honor the Master Lease Agreement made in 2005 giving AHM a lease to the Hangar 9 facility at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport through 2035.  AHM has been locked out of the Museum for almost two years, while irreplaceable classic aircraft like their Lockheed Constellation and DC-3 have been left unattended.

The KC City Council supervises the day-to-day operation of the Airport under the direction of the City’s Aviation Department. At the core of AHM’s complaints are multiple instances of mismanagement of the Downtown Airport, the most prominent being the KC City Council allowing a private business, Signature Aviation, to monopolize the land and buildings at Downtown Airport. This essentially blocks out competition, in violation of FAA regulations.

The Complaint goes on to cite separate instances where: AHM has lost revenue due to the Museum closure; AHM has been denied use of the space leased to them; AHM has been denied use of their own aircraft, access to the airport; been deprived of the benefits of abatements and support which were granted (but diverted to Signature Aviation) and suffered damage to their reputation and loss of donor confidence. Also at stake is the loss of millions of dollars in FAA Grants. The KC Aviation Department must follow FAA Regulations in the management of aviation-related activities to qualify for these grants.

 

The Airline History Museum’s Martin 4-0-4 airliner. (image via Wikimedia)