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Aviation Museum to unveil bronze sculpture of aviation pioneer Van Meter

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky will unveil a significant addition to its permanent collection, a life size bronze sculpture of aviation pioneer Solomon Van Meter, on Saturday, July 23.

The event begins at 5 p.m.

The sculpture is the creation of Amanda Matthews, who worked closely with the Kentucky Historical Society to have accurate, museum-quality details.

The unveiling event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Solomon Van Meter’s first patent for a parachute device

The unveiling event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Solomon Van Meter’s first patent for a parachute device

Matthews has created other original works for the city of Mainz, Germany; the Diocese of Lexington; Georgetown College; and the Singletary Center for the Arts. The life size bronze of Van Meter was cast by Prometheus Foundry of Lexington.

The unveiling event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Solomon Van Meter’s first patent for a parachute device. An enhanced exhibit about Van Meter, including a parachute prototype on loan from the National Air & Space Museum, will also be introduced with the sculpture.

Following the event on July 23, the bronze sculpture will have a temporary home in the terminal of Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. After display in this venue, it will return for the permanent Solomon Van Meter exhibit at the aviation museum.

Solomon Lee Van Meter, Jr. (1888-1937), a native of Lexington, served in the U.S. military from 1917 until 1928. His patented parachute device from 1916 was ultimately refined to a single chute, strapped to the back of an aviator and deployed by a ripcord. It was the foundation of parachutes and ejection seats used today in modern high-performance military aircraft.

In July 1921, Van Meter was a bomber pilot for the historic demonstration of air power orchestrated by US Army Air Corps’ General Billy Mitchell.

Battleships captured from the German navy during World War I were easily sunk in a bombing mission off the Virginia coast. Van Meter scored a direct hit on one of the vessels. He was honored for his aeronautical achievements by induction into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is located at 4029 Airport Road, adjacent to Blue Grass Airport in Lexington. It is the official aviation museum of the Commonwealth as well as home to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame, and operates as a non-profit corporation.For more information, visit www.aviationky.org, or call 859-231-1219.

From Kentucky Aviation Museum Communications

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