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World’s largest aviation model and autograph collection opens to public


Historian David V. Wendell is opening to the public, for the first time, his collection of more than 365 hand-carved and painted model aircraft and spacecraft signed by the greatest legends of 20th and 21st century aeronautics and aerospace history.

The collection willbe available for public viewing in the new website, Known as WASMO, it is one of the most comprehensive American aviation history sources offered online.

In addition to the painstakingly detailed models with their distinctive signatures, the collection also includes more than 325 works of art by 50 of the most esteemed aviation and space artists in the last half century.

The models and artwork are complemented by rare vintage photographs of the pilots, aviators, and astronauts they depict and supported by biographies and statistics for each figure and aircraft.

The starring role in the exhibit, however, may go to the more than 250 movies reviewed in the display with an aviation or space travel theme. Movie posters from the earliest of silent black and white days to the latest in digital production are highlighted along with movie stills from the motion pictures and head shots signed by the famed actors and actresses who starred in the films.

This has been a labor of love for me,” says Wendell, a native of Iowa, “I am so glad to have a chance to share this collection, and the knowledge that goes with it, to the public in this format.” He adds, however, that he would like to find a permanent bricks and mortar home for the display, “A large home,” he chimes in, “when you’ve got names like Doolittle, Yeager, Rutan, and Wagstaff, I hope it will attract a lot of people… with this variety of movie stars and the stars of aviation history, it should be a big hit!”

Selection of aviation/aerospace names in the exhibit

Political: Presidents
Gerald R. Ford
Pres. George H.W. Bush
Pres. George W. Bush
8 Air Force One pilots

30 World War II Aces:
Chuck Yeager
Roy “Butch” Voris
Francis Gabreski
Rex Barber

20 WWII bomber crew:
Robert Morgan
Paul Tibbets
Frederick Olivi
Guy Townsend

30 Kincheloe Awards:
Scott Crossfield
Robert Gilliland
Philip Oestricher
John Cashman

40 Medal of Honor:
Joseph Foss
Thomas Hudner
Patrick Brady

10 Korean War Aces:
Frederick Blesse
Ralph Gibson
Dolphin Overton

30 Persian Gulf War:
Charles Horner
Buster Glosson
John Jumper

115 Astronauts:
John Glenn
Gene Cernan
Ellen Ochoa

10 National Air Races:
Darryl Greenamyer
Steve Hinton
Hoot Gibson

3 Vietnam War Aces:
Duke Cunningham
Willy Driscoll
Steve Ritchie

25 Women in Aviation:
Moya Lear
Ann Bumgartner Carl
Kathryn Sullivan

World War I/Air Mail:
Jerome Lederer
Eddie Rickenbacker
Mark Bradley

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