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Visiting the Delta Flight Museum

by admin

Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s largest and most important air carriers. It is also an airline that values its history.

Recently, on a trip to Atlanta (read the trip report here) to do some research for an upcoming book on Delta (stay tuned for more information!), I had the opportunity to visit the Delta Flight Museum, which is located on the northern perimeter of Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and the airline’s headquarters.


Visiting the Museum

It would be nice if all major airlines put on display a sizeable tribute to their history like Delta has.

This large plot occupies part of the original aircraft hangars and operational site at Atlanta’s airport – where Delta moved in its early days after beginning life as a crop dusting operation.

The site is essentially a large parking lot, with the heritage buildings alongside, and you’ll know you’re there when you see four large airliners parked outside.

I was staying in the nearby Renaissance Concourse Hotel which is a five minute walk away. However, walking is anything but easy, and I had an unwelcome first impression getting to the museum – firstly from a car park security guard who told me in no uncertain terms to step back and do not approach her (hand on gun holster).

Secondly the guard on the entrance to the museum itself who was quite bemused at anyone arriving on foot.

Anyway, once in all was ok. There’s an airport-style security scanner before you get to the ticket desk.


First Hangar


The first hangar you enter is where the initial history of the airline is told.

There are displays of memorabilia, and lots of items relating to the various airlines which were merged into Delta over the years, like Western Airlines and Northeast Airlines.

In this hangar are the older preserved aircraft in the collection, including:

  • NC28341 Douglas DC-3
  • NC8878 Travel Air Sedan
  • NC16181 Stinson Reliant
  • Plus a Huff Daland Duster replica.

The DC-3 is an interesting one, being one of the original Delta aircraft flown by the airline from 1941.

At the back of the hangar there’s a small theatre playing short movies about the airline’s history, its founder (C E Woolman), and its people. Hanging above is Waco 125 NC4576.


Second Hangar

After walking through a tunnel, you enter the second hangar, dominated by one of the most famous Delta aircraft, Boeing 767-200 N102DA “Spirit of Delta”, which was funded by the airline’s staff to help it modernise and face a difficult financial period

You can enter this aircraft and look around more displays inside, with lots more memorabilia and flight attendant uniforms over the years.

Convair 880 prototype cockpit.

Lockheed L1011 TriStar prototype forward fusealge.

Also in this hangar is the cockpit of Convair 880 N871TW (the prototype), and forward fuselage of Lockheed L1011 N1011 (also the prototype), along with the tail of a former Delta DC-9.


Outside the Museum

Back outside the museum it was time to see the other large aircraft.

First is Douglas DC-7B N4887C, which was restored to flight and flown to Atlanta from the desert in 2019. It is immaculate, but you can’t go on board.

Similarly, Douglas DC-9-51 (which started life with Austrian Airlines), is also outside but can’t be boarded; it’s great to see it up-close, however.

The main attraction outside is Boeing 747-451 N661US, which was the prototype of this -400 variant and originally flew with Northwest Airlines before merging into Delta’s fleet in 2008. It was retired to the museum in 2015.

Cockpit of the prototype 747-400

You can enter this aircraft (via another security screening) and see its partially dismantled interior which demonstrates the construction of this huge machine, the pipework and wiring under the floor, and secret areas like the crew rest compartment.

You can walk out over the wing, and enter the cockpit, as well as touring the Delta One first class cabin and many other areas.

Finally, Boeing 757-232 N608DL is also parked at the entrance to the museum. It is not open to the public.

This aircraft was delivered to Delta in May 1985 and retired in October 2013; it moved to the museum six months later. During its service life it flew for the Song subsidiary, and is today preserved in the 1980s ‘widget’ livery.


Delta Flight Museum Details

The Delta Flight Museum is conveniently located next to Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.


1060 Delta Blvd, Bldg. B, Dept. 914, Atlanta, GA  30354-1989


Opening Times:

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m Daily, except Wednesdays.
  • Last admission ticket sold at 3:45 p.m.
  • Public tours are offered every Tuesday at 1pm
  • Boeing 747 opens at 11am.

Be sure to check the website for advance notice of any closures as the museum is often used for hosting events.


Delta Air Lines – The Book

This new book charts the history of Delta from its cropdusting days into the giant carrier it is today. Along the way you’ll discover the aircraft it flew, the liveries they wore, and the other airlines who merged in. Chapters on Chicago & Southern, Western, Northeast and Northwest Airlines all add to the story of the Delta we known today. Includes hundreds of photographs.

Order Your Copy




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Mike Cottrell July 5, 2023 - 4:49 pm

Thanks, Matt, for another fascinating report. The bemusement at anyone walking along a road in the good ol’ US rings several bells, but I’ve missed out on the hand-on-gun greeting.

MERVYN CROWE July 6, 2023 - 9:17 am

Great report on the DELTA aircraft museum, pity you cant see through the DC-7B…..now that would be special.
Fantastic they have that L1011 and CV-880 front ends to see through.
Sounds the place to visit….security guards aside.

Matt Falcus July 6, 2023 - 7:34 pm

Yes, I wish more airlines celebrated their heritage in this way.

Atlanta Renaissance Concourse Spotting Hotel Review - Airport Spotting July 31, 2023 - 7:26 pm

[…] Also, as mentioned, the fantastic Delta Flight Museum is just a 5 minute walk away. [Read my report] […]


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