CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Molly Kinyon and Katie Swaringer are specialized caregivers.

They tend to the treasured aircraft on the construction site of the future Sullenberger Aviation Museum, formally known as the Carolinas Aviation Museum, renamed for Captain Sully Sullenberger.

The “Sully” is a work in progress.

Displaced from its former adjacent location at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, its notable aircraft are parked until their new home is completed. Some are exposed to the elements, needing special attention.

“Being outside for these aircraft is not a forgiving environment. We keep the paint refreshed, so things don’t corrode and stay in good quality, “explains Kinyon.

Keeping the flying machines clean involves hosing and wiping them down, scraping, and, a different kind of story involving the birds and the bees.

“There are swarms of wasps and a lot of birds that love to nest in the planes. We are continually involved in pest mitigation, adds Kinyon.

And these efforts have led to unexpected discoveries.

“A couple of months ago, we moved a helicopter to a closed runway for storage, and we found a litter of kittens living under it. All have since been adopted,” explains Kinyon, who says she was tempted to take a few home.

Kinyon and Swaringer feel they have a special connection to every aircraft. And it goes beyond dusting, sanding, and polishing.

Molly waxes poetic, “My favorite airplane is the P558 Skystreak, one of three in existence, used for flight test work for breaking the sound barrier.”

Katie adds, “My favorite is the Miracle on the Hudson, the A320 that landed in the Hudson River.”

You won’t see Sully’s famed Airbus 320 in the open air. It is under wraps in a special hangar.

Katie explains, “When we moved out of our former exhibit hangar in 2019, we needed to get fragile aircraft undercover.  Sully’s plane was one of these, being an artifact, we needed to store it safely to preserve it.  To move and fit into storage, we had to disassemble it. We look forward to having it back on display in the new museum”.

Museum operators plan to highlight stories of innovation, hope, and heroism over the history of flight.

Katie says, “We’ll have 37,000 square feet of hangar space, exhibits, classrooms, interactive activities.  Many experiences for family and friends to enjoy.”

“There is something for everyone at this museum,” promises Molly.

The grand opening of the new state-of-the-art Sullenberger Aviation Museum is scheduled to open summer of 2024.