The in Kansas has received a $1 million challenge grant from the Chicago-based in support of the project, the reports.
The grant, the lead gift in a $15 million capital campaign that hopes to raise $12 million for building costs and $3 million to create an endowment, will support construction of the 27,000-square-foot aviation museum. Located near Flower Aviation of Salina and the Salina Regional Airport, the museum will feature animated attractions dedicated to the "aviation experience," a space gallery, a theater and restaurant, and a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Steve Fossett, the record-setting aviator who died in an airplane crash in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 2007.
Salina Regional Airport figured in two of Fossett's record-setting adventures. In March 2005, he started and completed the first solo, nonstop, non-refueled flight around the world at the airport. And a year later, in March 2006, again taking off from and landing at the airport, he set the record for longest distance (25,294 miles) over a closed circuit without landing. Both flights were made in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.
Project officials hope to wrap up the first phase of fundraising this year, with donations being accepted through two funds: a provisional fund to cover construction costs and a second fund designated for operations.