Museum History

Houston's Aviation History Timeline


The year is 2000. The airline industry is enjoying unprecedented health and growth. This is no where more evident than Hobby Airport, home to more Southwest Airlines flights than any other airport in the nation. A major expansion of Hobby's 1954 terminal begins which will double the number of gates. Resurgent airline traffic is matched by thriving business aviation traffic, now served by US Customs at the major Hobby FBOs.

Even general aviation is enjoying a resurgence, evidenced by existing aircraft manufacturers re-starting production of light aircraft and new manufacturers offering new designs. Cliff Hyde Flying Service has moved its flight school to Ellington Field.

The airlines, business aviation and general aviation can now use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to make precision approaches to Houston Intercontinental, Hobby, and virtually every airport in the Houston area. The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society is hard at work seeking funds to implement its plan to restore the 1940 Air Terminal as a civil aviation museum.

April 1, 2003

Buoyed by support from the Houston Endowment, the Fondren Foundation and a variety of grass roots supporters, as well as Southwest Airlines and Continental Airlines, the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society leases the 1940 Air Terminal from the City of Houston and commences its restoration.

December 17, 2003

The 100th Anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight. Houston celebrates the Centennial of manned Flight by reopening the North wing of the 1940 Air Terminal to the public as the first phase of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.

January 9, 2004

After five years of planning, fundraising and completion of the first phase of restoration, the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society opens the 1940 Air Terminal Museum to the public in the Terminal's north wing.

May, 2008

Houston Airport System opens the new Hobby Airport concourse, placing into service a massive and modern redesign of much of the 1954 Houston International Terminal.

February, 2009

The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society completes the second phase of restoration of the 1940 Air Terminal, and more than triples the Museum's area by incorporating the newly restored space. The Museum's initial restoration of the 1929 Carter Field Airmail Hangar is also completed.

The 1929 Carter Field Airmail Hangar in 1940: