About Chaney

Chaney is the Marketing & Development Coordinator at the Stafford Air & Space Museum. Feel free to reach out via email at or phone at 580-772-5871.

Four Reasons to Visit the Museum in 2014

Have you had enough of being snowed in? Looking for something different to do this year for spring break? Need a road trip or just somewhere to get your family out of the house for a bit? Here are four fantastic reasons to visit the museum in 2014.

1. Affordable family outing – The admission prices to the museum are cheaper than going to the movies, water parks, or even activity centers. At prices starting at only $7 for adults, families can afford to bring their kids and their friends with them. Mention a membership with AAA and the adult price comes down to $5. Veterans, senior citizens and large groups also receive the discounted admission price of $5. Students 5 years to 18 years old are only $2! And if you’re under 5 years of age you’re free. Are you on your way yet?

2. New Exhibits – This year the museum will be debuting new exhibits from a broad range of the space era. Already underway and nearly finished is the latest full scale replica joining the museum’s already stellar collection of such exhibits: The Apollo. The Apollo is a full scale high fidelity replica of an actual Apollo spacecraft as it appeared on its trajectory path to the moon. Weighing in at over 6,000lbs, the replica is built of wood and metal,  is 30’ long and nearly 13’ in diameter. It features a hatch door and command module accentuating the human element to the craft. The Apollo space craft carried over 30 American Astronauts, including Weatherford’s own, General Thomas P. Stafford, who flew two Apollo spacecrafts. 

The museum will open another new gallery in 2014 of the Hubble COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement). The COSTAR developed by many NASA engineers (including General Stafford) and staff spent 11 months preparing a mission to send the COSTAR to the Hubble to correct its defect in its mirror, obscuring its camera for images of space. After the one week job on the Hubble by shuttle astronauts, the repair was a success. Now all instruments placed on the Hubble have built in corrective optics for any future mishaps and the COSTAR is no longer needed. The Stafford Air and Space Museum was able to obtain it in 2013 and will have it on display by the second half of the year.

And yet another exhibit going up this year is the return of the beloved F-104 Starfighter jet that once sat outside on the Historic Route 66 highway and runs right through the heart of Weatherford. The Starfighter was removed and replaced with the sleek F-4 Phantom Fighter Jet in 2012. The F-104 received a complete restoration including a sharp paint job bringing it back to a ready-to-fly glow. The F-104 will be mounted erect directly in front of the museum’s entrance doors and will be visible to drivers on Rt. 66 and Interstate 40. This concept was designed by General Stafford and plans are to have it in place by late spring.

3. If reasons one and two aren’t enough to get you out the door, then try this: Oklahoma Strong. The Stafford Air and Space Museum is the only museum in Oklahoma dedicated to one of the eight astronauts that hail from our great state.  Gordon Cooper, Fred Haise, Stuart Allen Roosa, Owen Garriott, William Pogue, Shannon Lucid, and John Herrington have flown space missions, making Oklahoma the only state to have astronauts in every American Manned Space Mission. Ranging from the first mission with the Mercury “Original 7” to the recently retired Space Shuttle missions, Oklahomans have made their mark in the space industry. Interestingly enough, Weatherford’s Southwestern Oklahoma State University is the home of many stars of the mission control staff, including the most famous, John Aaron. Aaron is credited with the saving of Apollo 11, 12, and 13 missions. The state of Oklahoma can call itself a true space pioneer.

4. Size is surprising – Located on Route 66, the museum serves as a fun attraction for Route 66 visitors from around the world. Based on its appearance outside, the metal building appears to be small. Walking into the lobby visitors might think “okay this is it”. But after being greeted by friendly staff, visitors soon realize there is more than meets the eye. Following the entrance into the museum, you are introduce into the life of General Stafford featuring his memorabilia from childhood to retirement. Then you glide into the breathtaking Wright Flyer exhibit and suddenly lose track of time and a sense of where you are inside the building. Following the path, the adventure begins with the development of flight soaring through the Bleriot airplane and the Curtiss D Pusher and into the Spirit of St. Louis. Just in passing of the Spirit of St. Louis you are transported into early rocketry with a full scale Sputnik and Explorer I, not to mention the giant F-1 engine staring at you with its funnel lit in red. Still entranced, visitors then fly into the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle Galleries. Truth be told, the museum is more than an acre of exhibit space. But the outside can tease you, hiding its size and saving if for only those who venture in.

Always delighting its visitors, the museum is a welcoming retreat, as they can submerse themselves into a captivating and enthralling experience of aerospace history, leaving exhilarated and inspired of a time when we dared to dream.



By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 March 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Four Reasons to Visit the Museum in 2014

Thomas P. Stafford is honored by the National Academy of Engineering.


Stafford Portrait in business suit

The National Academy of Engineering has announced Thomas P. Stafford from Weatherford, Oklahoma elected as a prestigious new member.


He was selected for leadership in the development of rendezvous and docking technologies for the Apollo and Apollo/Soyuz programs.


Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”  




Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma to Thomas and Mary Ellen Stafford.  After graduating from Weatherford High, Stafford attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Air Force, reaching the rank of Lt. General.  During that career, Stafford served as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flying in four different space missions.  Stafford served as pilot on Gemini 6A, which flew from December 15-16, 1965, achieving the first rendezvous in space.  Stafford commanded Gemini 9A June 3-6, 1966 accomplishing another rendezvous and assisted pilot Gene Cernan as he performed a space walk for a full orbit.  On Apollo X from May 18-26, 1969, Stafford commanded the crucial dress rehearsal for the first moon landing, mapping and photographing the landing site for Apollo XI and testing out the Lunar Module in Lunar orbit for the first time.  Stafford’s final mission was the Apollo Soyuz Test Project from July 15-24, 1975 when he commanded the first international flight with the Soviet Union.  After his space career, Stafford served the Air Force by taking command at Edwards AFB and serving in the Pentagon.  While there, Stafford began the Stealth Technology program for the United States.


About NAE

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

The NAE is a member of the National Academies, which includes the NAE, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the National Research Council (NRC)— which serves as the principal operating arm of the academies. The NAE operates under the same congressional act of incorporation that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Lincoln. Under this charter the NAE is directed “whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art.”


By | 2017-08-11T04:13:30+00:00 February 20th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Thomas P. Stafford is honored by the National Academy of Engineering.

Spring Order of Bricks for Path of Honor Exhibit Due


The Stafford Air and Space Museum is adding more bricks to its Path of Honor exhibit, featured right outside its entrance doors this spring.

“We are excited to be ordering more personalized bricks to our exhibit,” said Marketing Coordinator Brandi Rizzi. “We’ve had several orders this past week and we have enough to place an order and these bricks will be in and installed by spring. We are certainly happy to include more bricks before we place this order so people can have a chance to get their own bricks and see them installed this year.”

The museum has placed over 30 individual personalized bricks already including several with General Stafford’s name and his families. This past year, the museum called upon O.C. Roof, with Weatherford Construction Company, a SASM Corporate Member, to build the newly redesigned brick layout surrounding the Apollo Boilerplate.

“O.C. did an outstanding job building our walkway around the Boilerplate,” said Museum Director Max Ary. “The personalized bricks are now displayed in a clean, complete layout and really showcase the support from the members of the community.”

General Stafford, who owns several bricks in the exhibit, saw the layout last year on one of his visits to the museum. “It looks great and I appreciate everyone who has purchased a brick and encourage everyone to get one!”

Rizzi said she will be placing the second brick order by February 21.

“This is a great time to purchase a personalized brick at the museum. It is a fun way to be a part of the museum and contribute to one of our best attractions in our city. It would be wonderful to fill the exhibit with the names of Weatherford citizens showing our museum guests the great support we have from our community.”

Brick prices start at $40 and feature 3 different sizes of bricks. If you are interested in purchasing a brick, contact Rizzi at the museum at 772-5871. You can also find more information at the museum’s website


By | 2017-08-11T04:13:31+00:00 February 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Spring Order of Bricks for Path of Honor Exhibit Due

Stories at the Stafford to be held Saturday, Feb. 8th

The Stafford Air and Space Museum is pleased to announce the second event in its inspiring new series entitled, “Stories at the Stafford,” for Saturday, February 8th at 7pm inside the museum. The special guest speaker for the evening is Mr. Dan Stroud from Oklahoma City. Stroud will be presenting to guests the story of the most significant aircraft from WWII, the B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber. Stroud will discuss the historical impact the bomber made in the war and present the history and development of the famous B-17 to guests of all ages. Numerous photos of the B-17 in action will also be presented. The B-17 “Flying Fortress” was first introduced in 1938. There were approximately 12,731 B -17s produced. The Boeing model was tested against other similar aircraft and was highly more successful winning the “fly-off” from other company models. Interestingly, the four-engine bomber has dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft during WWII. There are only around a dozen B-17s still flying today. Stroud, who is a current board member of the Stafford Air and Space Museum Foundation, is a Certified Flight Instructor, an Aerobatic Instructor, and is also rated in sailplanes and helicopters. He is the voice of all the major airshows in Oklahoma, including the “Aerospace America” and “Tinker Star Spangled Salute,” airshows. The event is free for all members and only $5 each for non-members, which includes admission to the museum for the evening. The museum encourages everyone to come out for this fun presentation only to be heard at “Stories at the Stafford.” For more information, please contact the museum at 772-5871 or visit the website [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:31+00:00 January 31st, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Stories at the Stafford to be held Saturday, Feb. 8th

SASM Board Honors Three Outgoing Members


In December, the Stafford Air and Space Museum Foundation met for its last monthly meeting for 2013. At this meeting, Chairman Dan Stroud took a few moments to recognize three board members who have served with a steadfast enthusiasm for over six years. Dr. Blake Sonobe, Mr. Thad Wolgamott, and Dr. James Friesen were honored by current board members and museum staff as Stroud presented each with a special edition canvas print of the moon’s surface. Each canvas featured an engraved silver plaque with the board member’s name and years served. In their years as board members, each one contributed with his own character, helping to build the museum into what it is today.

During his years on the museum board, Dr. Sonobe was a true team player. He served as a key element in the designing and development of the strategic plan for the museum.  He put in a great amount of time and effort in leading the efforts of developing a plan for the museum to stand as its own unit from the airport, and have a board of directors to guide the museum into the future, creating a life for the museum. With these efforts, the board evolved. In addition to creating the strategic plan and layout of the board, Sonobe was a leader in fundraising. He was very active in all areas of fundraising, including representing the museum to potential donors. He also worked on grant research for the museum, helping to promote the museum in receiving grants for activities and projects.

Thad Wolgamott has served on the airport and museum board beginning in 2000, at the time when both entities were conjoined as one. Wolgamott involved in the separation of the two and began working with the museum’s operations as well as the airport’s. He, along with Dr. Sonobe and Dr. Friesen, all contributed to the strategic plan of the Museum Foundation and helped form the bylaws and guidelines giving the board structure. Wolgamott considers his biggest contribution to the museum the addition of the front entrance. He and other board members were able to have the front restrooms installed for visitors, instead of directing them to the airports. Happy with the results of the restrooms, Wolgamott knew there was a need for more. He pushed for even more space, conceptualizing the future need of a conference room, a retail area, and an open lobby. He saw the project through and today the museum has a large open lobby, complete with a conference room, gift shop area, and offices. Wolgamott has been very active in the museum’s fundraising events, and has served and is still a current volunteer tour guide for the museum.

The last departing board member is Dr. James Friesen. Friesen is a devout supporter and representative of the museum and has given the definition of board member and volunteer a new meaning. Friesen was present in the organization and development of the Foundation Board and put his touch in the creation of the bylaws and guidelines. He helped create the board into a driving force for the museum, always pushing for stronger, more meaningful membership and volunteer programs. Friesen, a proven handyman, has helped create and build many of the exhibits that are currently on display in the museum.  One of his biggest projects was the completion of the model rocket case currently featured at the museum. He was the project director, who oversaw the construction and completion of this exhibit which has become one of the museum’s icons. Dr. Friesen saw the potential in hosting the Apollo X and the Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary Galas, which still remain as two of the most memorable events at the museum for him. He has also helped design and built the Stafford Space Suit displays which give the museum the ability to retain the spacesuits on public display. These displays properly display the suit with the correct protective glass, lighting, and air circulation to keep them preserved. The Stafford Museum is one of limited museums that currently have actual flown space suits on display outside the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Friesen has served as a volunteer and tour guide for the museum for nearly ten years. The museum initiated a volunteer of the year award named after Dr. Friesen, in recognition of his hard work and commitment to the museum.

These three board members leave a legacy in which they all created from their enthusiasm and support of the museum. All three gentlemen have served in several ways as “founding fathers” of the Stafford Museum Foundation Board of Directors and have served their terms graciously and with heartfelt dedication. The board stands today as a strong unit, dedicated to their mission and serve with pride as it represents the heart of the museum. The museum staff and current board wish to thank each of these men for their time, efforts, and enthusiasm.


By | 2017-08-11T04:13:31+00:00 January 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on SASM Board Honors Three Outgoing Members

First Powered Flight Made 110 Years Ago


“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air.” – Wilbur Wright


Upon entering the Early Flight Gallery inside the Stafford Air and Space Museum, guests are greeted by Orville Wright in the pilots “seat” of the Wright Brother’s world famous Wright Flyer. Orville, who on December 17, 1903, made the historic first flight which lasted only twelve seconds and traveled only 120 feet before landing. The brothers’ incredible feat was not about getting into the air, but more for the development of the first controlled, powered, and sustained heavy-than-air human flight. Gathering data and studying from past flying enthusiast, Otto Lilienthal, the brothers continued Lilienthal’s research of using gliders to develop a means of a controlled powered flight. The Wright Brothers saw three problems that needed to be solved for such a flight: lift, propulsion, and control.

Their glider which flew at first like a kite was the brothers’ first step in achieving a powered flight. They built three gliders all capable of carrying a person. Each glider became a little more sophisticated as the brothers learned from each flight what was needed in order for more control. The 1900 Glider was first flown as an unmanned kite at their test site, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, before Wilbur climbed aboard and made a dozen free flights in one day. The 1901 Glider was similar to the 1900 version but it had larger wings. The 1902 Glider, which is featured in the museum lobby, utilized yaw control using a rear rudder and this design led to the 1903 Wright Flyer. From piloting their glider they learned that flying had three basic movements: turning left and right, going up and down, and rolling the airplane from side to side. All of these movements had to be controlled by the pilot and the Wright Brothers developed a way to conduct each action.

On the morning of December 17, they returned to Kitty Hawk and attempted the first powered flight of their Flyer. The Flyer was placed on a trolley that took off of a “runway” made up of 2x4s, which the brothers nicknamed the “Junction Railroad.” The brother who wasn’t manning the aircraft had to run alongside it holding the wing level for liftoff. With much anticipation, Orville flew into the wind, achieving lift. Facing into the wind allowed air to rush over the wings resulting in more lift and this got the Flyer off the ground quicker. Once in the air, one of the Life-Saving Station employees, John T. Daniel was so excited about seeing the Flyer take off; he nearly forgot to take the picture as instructed by Orville. After the fourth successful flight, a strong wind gust caught the flyer and sent it end over end, ultimately damaging the Flyer beyond repair. The Wright Brothers quickly realized the historical significance of their flyer and had it shipped back home to Dayton, OH. It was placed in storage for nine years. Ongoing debates with Orville and the Smithsonian began about placing the Flyer on display. Orville had presented the Flyer to the Science Museum in London, hoping to entice the Smithsonian to display it. However, the enticement didn’t work and the Flyer was sent to London in 1925. There, the Flyer remained on display until WWI. In 1948, The Flyer was brought back to the States and was placed in the Smithsonian where it has remained as one of the most popular artifacts on display. The Stafford Air and Space Museum’s Wright Flyer is considered one of the most accurate full scale replicas ever built and is a favorite among guests and remains one of the most prominent and well known exhibits in Western Oklahoma. The museum is one of the only museums in western Oklahoma to feature both the 1902 Glider and the 1903 Flyer.

By | 2017-08-11T04:13:31+00:00 November 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on First Powered Flight Made 110 Years Ago