Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum, Marshall

#112 of 194 in Museums in Missouri
Specialty Museum · Museum
Shortly after WWI, Russell B. Nicholas began selling surplus airplane propellers in his hometown of Marshall, Missouri. He bought them each for .50 cents and sold them for $3. Achieving success in that endeavor, Mr. Nicholas expanded his business from being housed in a small car garage to filling warehouses, and would, in 1922, form the Central Aviation Company.

In 1923 he went into partnership with Howard Beazley to form the NB Motor Company, but the two men soon abandoned the automobile business for the rapidly-growing airplane industry. Their initial focus was shipping supplies to aircraft manufacturers. Some of the parts used in the famous Charles Lindberg aircraft Spirit of St. Louis were bought from Marshall. In 1924, they formed the Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Company.

The invention of the airplane was only twenty-years old when Nicholas and Beazley decided that their patrons must learn to fly. They were now selling Standard J-1s, and the demand was high. In March 1925, the Marshall Flying School was established, and became the largest civilian flight school in the world, training some 2,800 pilots in all. Flying lessons were $10 per hour. The first instructor was Joe Hammer, and they advertised that they were offering instruction in "regular flying" and "stunt and fancy flying," which included skills such as loops, tailspins, and barrel rolls.

In May, 1929, the Barling NB-3, designed by Barling and built by Nicholas-Beazley, was successfully piloted by D. S. (Barney) Zimmerley. He became the chief pilot and instructor for Nicholas-Beazley and went on to set many records for light aircraft in the NB-3: US altitude record, distance record, endurance record, and efficiency record.

In 1927, the Nicholas Beazley Airplane Company was the largest distributor of airplane parts in the US. That year was noteworthy for the improvements to Marshall's new official airfield and for the employment by Nicholas-Beazley of Walter Barling, airplane designer. In 1928 the initial Barling monoplane was essentially hand-built. It would be identified as the Barling NB-3, and later the NB-3.

Though the Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Company met with unprecedented success through the 1920's, the Great Depression took its toll. In 1933, airplane production was halted and in 1937, Nicholas-Beazley merged with Air Associates of New York.

Individuals and groups are welcome at the museum. School field trips are encouraged. Arrangements can be made by contacting the museum in advance. A qualified docent will be made available. Come enjoy the interactive exhibits (some designed especially with young people in mind), videotaped personal recollections, restored planes, memorabilia, and much more.

The Marshall Airport (MHL) runway has undergone extensive renovation to lengthen and resurface the runway. It can now accommodate medium-sized private and corporate jets.

The improvements to the runway along with a moveable hangar-sized door on the museum allow airplane exibits to be periodically changed.
See Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum and all Marshall has to offer by arranging your trip with our Marshall trip itinerary builder site.
Create an itinerary including Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
24 reviews
  • I was visiting family in Branson and wanted to come visit the museum since I had Donated some Documents and flyers that I inherited from my Grandfather. It was nice to see that they were given a good....  more »
  • Being unable to attend Oshkosh EAA this year, we were feeling a need for an aircraft experience. The Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum in Marshall, Missouri fit the bill.We were greeted by Christi...  more »
  • Really excellent museum, show cases a lot of Missouri aviation history and has some rare aircraft that were built right in Marshall. Check it out, even encourage it for youth
  • My grandkids love this place it's worth every penny

Plan your trip to Marshall

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Marshall

Wonder Dog Memorial Garden
Duration: 2 hours

Side trips from Marshall

Historic Site
Arrow Rock State Historic Site Arrow Rock
Duration: 2 hours
Historic Site
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site Sedalia
Duration: 2 hours
Gift & Specialty Shop
Missouri Star Quilt Company Hamilton
Duration: 4 hours
Specialty Museum
Walt Disney Hometown Museum Marceline
Duration: 1h 30 min