Author: rachelhaight

Visiting a wealthy source for aviation history at LAX Flight Path Learning Center

Open to all ages, the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at Los Angeles International Airport has historical aviation exhibits, educational tours and programs, research facilities and community events for schools, civic organizations and professional groups. Museum representatives note that Flight Path receives a wide range of visitors including students, teachers, travelers and local residents. “It doesn’t matter what age or group comes through, they always have a smile when they leave,” says Rowena Ake, president and chair of the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum of Southern California. The staff consists entirely of volunteers, who are available to answer questions. They include active or retired airline employees, as well as airport and aerospace professionals. Flight Path covers aviation history from the first powered flight by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903 to the present. Some of the featured displays include airplane models, aviation art and photographs, artifacts, flight attendant uniforms (over 500), and in-flight souvenirs. The original idea for the Flight Path Learning Center came from a group of aviation enthusiasts in 1995. A year later, a rotunda and “walk of fame” was dedicated to aviation pioneers including Brig. General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager (U.S. Air Force retired), John K. Northrop, Donald W. Douglas, and Amelia Earhart. “That’s where it all started, with the rotunda,” Ake recalled of the museum’s beginning. The walk of fame has since expanded...

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Beetle lover known as ‘resident VW guru’ at Marina car showroom

Among the Bentleys, Jaguars, and Mercedes Benz at Chequered Flag in Marina del Rey, you’ll find Benjamin Simon. Simon, who is developmentally disabled, visits Chequered Flag each Wednesday where staff say he has been a fixture assisting them for the past two years. Chequered Flag, a classic, luxury and performance car showroom with a foreign and domestic clientele, has been at its current location at 4128 Lincoln Blvd. for 25 years. “We attract the enthusiasts,” said Tim Bird, general manager. Simon, a Marina del Rey resident, is not attracted to the exotic, fast cars on display in the shop. He only has eyes for one car: a ruby red 1966 Volkswagen Beetle. “Of all the cars we have in here, that’s the one he likes,” said Bird. Simon described his favorite vehicle, saying, “It’s very clean and the engine is quiet.” Simon’s passion for VW Beetles began when he was a boy living in Toronto, where his mother bought a 1967 Beetle. The young Simon found a VW repair shop in the neighborhood and soon became a regular there. “From about the age of four, Ben had an uncanny ability to identify cars,” said Rita Eagle, Ben’s mother. “The Beetle was a cute car for a little boy, like a toy car.” She added, “Ben has a collection of Beetles including cars, phones, models, you name it.” Now, Simon...

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