Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum, Marshall

4.7
#109 of 195 in Museums in Missouri
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.
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Nicholas Beazley Aviation Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
24 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • 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, who...  more »
Google
  • 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

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