Road Trip Oklahoma: Weatherford's Stafford Air and Space Museum

Friday, June 24th 2011, 8:46 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown, News 9

WEATHERFORD, Oklahoma -- He's there to greet you as soon as you walk in. General Tom Stafford is one of NASA's greatest heroes but before that he was a Weatherford Eagle where he graduated in 1948.

"Without him, a lot of things would not have been accomplished," Walt Wilson, a tour guide at Weatherford's Stafford Air and Space Museum, said.  "He's an engineering astronaut.  He used a slide rule, you know, before calculators were ever invented."

Like Stafford himself, the museum he established here in Weatherford starts out rather simply, with a replica of the Wright brothers' first airplane to take flight, and a Curtis Pusher, and Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.

At the Stafford Air and Space Museum, you'll see things you probably won't see anyplace else in Oklahoma, like an F-1 engine from the Saturn 5 project.  There were five of these bad boys on board.

The engine is autographed by Stafford and fellow astronaut Gene Cernan. And there's other big stuff, like a Soviet Mig-21, a T-38 Talon, and an F-16 Fighting Falcon with a real Sidewinder missile.

But the real significance of this place lies in its educational value. Just ask Walt Wilson. He's been giving tours here for almost three years.

"I just enjoy showing children and telling children maybe what they'll never hear in school," Wilson said.

Stafford's last space flight may have been thirty-six years ago, but his mission, to educate Oklahoma students of all ages, is an ongoing one.