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AARP Wyoming Webinar Examines Wyoming’s Aviation Past

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Wyoming’s place in aviation history will be the subject of a three-webinar series hosted by AARP Wyoming in August. The series will be presented by Michael Kassel, the Associate Director and Curator of Collections at the Cheyenne Frontier Old West Museum.

The webinars are free, but viewers are required to register by clicking here (

Please note that you must be signed in to your account or create an account to register for events. AARP membership is not required. Please do not opt out of event-related email, as you will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom prior to the event.

The first webinar is slated for noon Mountain Time on Aug. 3 and is called, “The Invention of Airmail.” Register for this webinar by going clicking here (

While planes were the weapons of World War I, at this time, there were limited uses in the civilian world. It took the daring of General Billy Mitchell and the bold vision of the United States Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger to foresee one key way the airplane could connect the nation.

This presentation tells the story of the world’s first transcontinental air mail route and explores the daring pilots, skilled technicians and communities willing to take a chance on new technologies to conquer the challenges of flying coast to coast over some of the most difficult environments on the planet.

Wyoming, at the rooftop of the nation, held a special significance for the United States air mail service, and we will explore the role our state had in the creation of this technological marvel. What happened in Wyoming laid the foundation for the commercial aviation world we enjoy today.

At noon on Aug. 10, Kassel will offer a webinar called, “Stewardess School. To register for this event, click here (

In 1929, people were terrified to fly. The sky belonged to air mail pilots, military aviators and barnstormers. Few people thought of the airplane as a means of travel. But Boeing Air Transport, the world’s largest airline, was determined to convince people otherwise, though lLuxury and technology alone would not be enough to entice the timid public.

So two people came up with a plan to make the flight experience more comfortable. Steve Simpson, a ticket agent from California, and Ellen Church, a nurse from Iowa, conceived a daring plan to recruit young women to serve as stewardesses for the airline. The first group of eight young women were trained at the company’s headquarters in Cheyenne, and sent aloft – and the commercial airline industry would never be the same. Today, the flight attendant is one of the most important roles of our modern experience of flying and is ubiquitous the world over.

This presentation examines how the original vision of Simpson and Church transformed the business and what role Cheyenne continued to play in the friendly skies.

The final in the three-webinar series takes place at noon on Aug. 17 and is titled, “The Airplane Modification Center of Cheyenne.” Register for that event here (

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States found itself embroiled in the biggest war the world had ever known. To get ready for this fight, the United States Army Air Corps needed as many planes with the latest technology as possible. What transpired during the Second World war was a miracle of production that contributed mightily to our nation’s eventual victory.

A key contributor to this effort was located in an unlikely place….Cheyenne. Cheyenne was home to the famed Maintenance Base of United Airlines, and the Army Air Corps could think of no better place to approach to solve some of the most challenging issues facing the service.

Filled with the best aviation technicians in the world, the Modification Center Number 10 was established. This amazing center, the largest in the Rocky Mountain Region, was pivotal in the production of the famed Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. The story of Modification Center 10 celebrates the innovative prowess of its technicians, the professionalism of its test pilots and the dedication of its women war workers in making a war winning effort to bring the fight to the nation’s enemies.

For more information on this or other AARP Wyoming events, contact Jennifer Baier at:

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