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Take Flight at the National Soaring Museum in Elmira

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2018-03-11 12:10:00

If you want to visit a place that will let your imagination take flight, take a trip to the National Soaring Museum in Elmira, on the southern fringes of the Finger Lakes region.

Though it’s a small city, Elmira  is known as the "Soaring Capital of America.” The sport has been a focus here for more than 80 years, thanks in large part to the area’s natural landscape, which provides perfect places to launch a motorless aircraft, like gliders and sailplanes, as well as beautiful countryside to soar over and soak in.

Harris Hill, where the museum is located, is an ideal spot to take off soaring—so ideal, in fact, that the first national soaring contests ever held took place here between 1930 and 1946. The tradition continued, attracting more and more soaring enthusiasts, pilots, and contests, and in the 1960s the National Soaring Museum was established to chronicle the history of this unique sport in this unique spot.

Today, the museum, one of only two of its kind in the entire country, pays tribute to the history of soaring near and far, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the world they might never realize existed. The museum is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of sailplanes and gliders  in the world, including a collection of nearly 90 gliders dating from the late 1890s to the late 20th century.

There are historical and educational exhibitions and artifacts on display that tell the history of soaring, many of which are located in the 8,000-square-foot Heritage Hangar, as well as the United States Soaring Hall of Fame, which recognizes innovators and high achievers in the field. You can even take a Ride in a Sailplane  yourself.

A 20 minute ride from Corning  NY via I-86, the National Soaring Museum is located at 51 Soaring Hill Drive, Harris Hill, Elmira, NY 14903 and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week between May and December, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. January through April, and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays in January and February.

posted at: 2018-03-11 12:10:00, last updated: 2018-04-29 13:56:11

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