Key Brothers Aviation Museum
Preserving the History of The Key Brothers
Meridian is home of the Key Brothers, who set a world record endurance flight in a Curtis Robin aircraft know as the "Ole Miss." This record breaking flight began on June 4, 1935 at Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi. It ended 27 days later on July 1, 1935. Fred and Al Key flew 52,320 miles non-stop. In honor of this world record endurance flight the Key Brothers Aviation Museum was dedicated in November 1977. The museum resides in the airport terminal building.
featured artifacts and memorabilia
A model replica of the "Ole Miss"
The history of the Key Brothers
"Whirlwind" engine used during the flight
The Flying Keys
As an attempt to attract attention and notoriety for the struggling Meridian Municipal Airport, Fred and Al Key decided to plan a record-shattering endurance flight over the city of Meridian. Over the next few years, the brothers worked to innovate new ideas in mid-air refueling in order to fulfill their dream of breaking the current 553 hour world endurance record, held by the Hunter brothers of Chicago. For the task, Bill Ward loaned the Key Brothers his Curtiss Robin airplane, named the "Ole Miss," which housed a single small five-cylinder engine not much larger than a washing machine. The endurance flight project was funded by community donations, and made possible with the work contributions of several skilled and inventive machinists, mechanics and welders. Working with their team of talented innovators, the brothers had to make several custom modifications to the Ole Miss airplane, as well as create new operating procedures for tasks such as refueling or engine maintenance, in order to make them possible mid-flight. On June 4, 1935, Fred and Al Key took off in the Ole Miss in front of 100 supporters to begin their daunting task. On July 1, 1935, nearly a month later, the Ole Miss landed at Meridian Regional Airport to a crowd of 30,000 cheering people. Fred and Al Key had accomplished their goal of a non-stop endurance flight that lasted over 27 non-stop days and nights - that's 653 hours and 34 minutes!
KEY BROTHERS MUSEUM EXPANSION
Meridian Airport Authority preserved the original terminal and hangar in anticipation of expanding the Key Brothers Aviation Museum. The current museum resides in the Meridian Regional Airport terminal, but will be relocated once a new building is constructed adjacent to the original terminal and hangar used during the 1935 flight.
THE FUTURE OF THE ORIGINAL ADMINISTRATION BUILDING AND HANGAR
The administration building and hangar are on the National Register as early aviation structures for their involvement in the Key Brothers World Flight Endurance Record. The interior of the old terminal building has been beautifully restored and will be furnished in time-period correct furniture. The old administration building and hangar will be used for meetings and events.