Two airport attractions return to CLT better than before


June 28, 2024

Airport Overlook

Charlotte Douglas International Airport unveils upgrades to the Airport Overlook and its aviation museum.

by Kevin Ellis

Fans of flight, rejoice. Two aeronautical fixtures at Charlotte Douglas International Airport are back and better than ever — the aviation museum and the Airport Overlook.

The former Carolinas Aviation Museum returned after closing in 2019, rebranded as Sullenberger Aviation Museum. It’s named for Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, who safely piloted the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson” flight bound for Charlotte before a crash landing in New York’s Hudson River. Remember, actor Tom Hanks portrayed him in the 2016 film Sully.

The Airbus A320 that carried 155 passengers and crew on US Airways Flight 1549 remains the museum’s centerpiece, but more space means more aircraft, including replicas of the Wright Flyer and glider planes that make North Carolina “First in Flight, a McDonnell F-4S Phantom II, and more than 40 others.

courtesy Sullenberger Aviation Museum

As part of the $34 million upgrade, museum planners placed more emphasis on STEM programs and introducing aviation careers to young people with the reopening. STEM may stand for science, technology, engineering and math, but at the museum it’s more about interactive displays, hands-on exhibits, a paper-airplane launcher and target, and 3D printers — things that make learning fun.

Airport Overlook courtesy Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Folks who remember the old airplane overlook, which closed in 2022, are in for a surprise with the fifth iteration: paved parking, the display of a retired U.S. military fighter jet (an F-4 Phantom II), bathrooms and an airplane-themed playground. The fenced attraction also has covered picnic tables, room for food trucks and a mock runway that kids were racing down on a recent visit.

The real highlight, though, is seeing the huge airplanes land from several vantage points, including one that offers a stunning view of Charlotte’s skyline.

And it’s free.  SP

Sullenberger Aviation Museum 4108 Minuteman Way

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday;
closed Monday

Cost: $24 for adults; $18 for children (5-17 years); $20 for seniors (65+) and military/veterans/educators; free for children under 5

Airport Overlook 5130 Airplane Overlook Drive

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

featured image of Airport Overlook courtesy Charlotte Douglas International Airport


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