Air Museum Talking Trail
By Micaela Gerhardt
Traveling in inclement weather is a familiar feat for North Dakotans, but flying in an open-air cockpit amid heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures is a different story—one that visitors at the Fargo Air Museum are invited to hear.
The Fargo Air Museum has partnered with Talking Trail, a mobile app tourism company based in Bismarck, North Dakota, to premiere a new audio attraction that features the remarkable stories of over thirty different pilots and aircrafts on exhibit. Now, visitors can listen to the tale of General Darrol Schroeder’s treacherous, 1500 mile mid-winter flight while admiring the yellow-winged Fairchild PT-19 he piloted during it.
Shawn Brannan, director at Talking Trail, said, “We feel fortunate and lucky to have the opportunity to partner up with Jackie Williams, the Fargo Air Museum director, and all the incredible staff and volunteers, to share the rich history of these aircrafts, pilots and veterans.”
Aviation experts and amateurs alike can learn about museum founder Bob Odegaard’s stint as a pilot in a feature length film and how skydiving led his fellow founder, Gerry Beck, to a career in aviation. The Talking Trail audio recordings also highlight stories about North Dakota’s Fighter Aces, fighter pilots with five or more confirmed kills or victories distinguished for their determination, skill, and sharp eyes — able to spot enemies as even the smallest specks in the sky. Additionally, the audio recordings include interactive trivia, tributes to fallen pilots and military heroes, and vivid descriptions of adventurous flights and significant restoration projects.
Brannan’s favorite recording tells the story of the Minuteman Missile. “It has fun music and a cool story that dates back to the Cold War,” Brannan said. “It’s a rich history that I didn’t know about, and that’s what I like about Talking Trail and what we’re doing. We’re trying to share these rich nuggets of information people didn’t know they wanted to learn, but once they do it’s awesome.”
In its mission to promote aviation through education, preservation, and restoration, the Fargo Air Museum hosts the Fargo AirSho, a monthly Veterans Coffee Hour, and tours for local students, among other events, and now visitors have the unique opportunity to re-discover the wide-open North Dakota skies through exciting new stories.
Jackie Williams, director at the Fargo Air Museum said, “We love the new level of engagement the Talking Trail has brought to our museum! Repeat visitors have expressed how much they appreciate learning more about the exhibits they thought they knew, and once the new visitors download the app or call in, their faces light up with enjoyment. Plus, now they stay at the museum even longer, which is great.”
The Fargo Air Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Visitors can download the Talking Trail app for free.
Adventurers can continue to explore with Talking Trail at sites all over North Dakota, by visiting places like the Fort Lincoln State Park, the Dakota Air Territory Museum, the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, and the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway, amongst other notable historic and cultural sites throughout the state.
Check out its website at www.talkingtrail.com to learn more.