Ud­var-Hazy Cen­ter Lands $15 Mil­lion for New Wing

The Washington Post - - Style - By Jac­que­line Trescott

A sur­prise $15 mil­lion gift will en­able the Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum to add a new wing where vis­i­tors can watch the del­i­cate process of bring­ing his­toric air­planes back to life.

The hangar will be at the mu­seum’s Steven F. Ud­var-Hazy Cen­ter near Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port in North­ern Vir­ginia.

The money comes from the son of Don­ald D. En­gen. The se­nior En­gen was a dec­o­rated Navy flier and test pilot who later headed the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Air and Space Mu­seum. The restora­tion build­ing has been on the draw­ing boards for years but was post­poned when fundrais­ing stalled.

D. Travis En­gen, the for­mer pres­i­dent of Al­can, the global aluminum and pack­ag­ing com­pany, said yes­ter­day the pas­sion of both his par­ents for the mu­seum and for avi­a­tion in­spired him and his wife to give the money.

“My fa­ther had a life in avi­a­tion,” En­gen said. “This is some­thing he re­ally en­joyed. My mother was al­ways there, al­ways quite en­gaged, and when he passed away, her ac­tiv­i­ties be­come more out-front. She then joined the Air and Space board. This is some­thing I’m do­ing to give back.”

Don­ald En­gen died in 1999 in a glider crash near Lake Ta­hoe, Nev. He was 75. The hangar will be named for his wife, Mary Baker En­gen, who died in 2006. A tower at the Ud­var-Hazy Cen­ter al­ready car­ries the avi­a­tor’s name.

As di­rec­tor of Air and Space, En­gen worked to re­store sta­bil­ity af­ter a de­ba­cle over the dis­play of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the

end of World War II. Vet­er­ans’ groups were ou­traged over what they saw as a neg­a­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the bomb­ing mis­sion in early ver­sions of the ex­hibit’s script.

One of En­gen’s other ef­forts was the de­vel­op­ment of the North­ern Vir­ginia an­nex. The fa­cil­ity near Dulles opened in De­cem­ber 2003 and was named af­ter its prin­ci­pal bene­fac­tor, air­line ex­ec­u­tive Steven F. Ud­var-Hazy, who gave $66 mil­lion to the cen­ter. From the start, of­fi­cials said they wanted to in­clude a place where the pub­lic could watch tech­ni­cians restor­ing old air­craft.

Travis En­gen said that last fall he was check­ing on the restora­tion of a Hell­diver, a plane his fa­ther flew in World War II, and learned of the hard­ships with fundrais­ing.

Gen. John R. “Jack” Dai­ley, the cur­rent Air and Space di­rec­tor, said En­gen was told the plane couldn’t be re­stored un­til the hangar was com­pleted. “He called back and said: We are in­ter­ested. This was al­most like a bolt out of the blue,” Dai­ley said.

With this gift, the mu­seum has now raised $54.5 mil­lion for the ex­pan­sion that in­cludes the hangar. The to­tal price tag is $74 mil­lion, but the En­gen gift al­lows the con­struc­tion plan­ning to be­gin. Air and Space hopes to start work in the fall.

The restora­tion hangar will be con­nected to the main build­ing at the Ud­var-Hazy Cen­ter. It will be part of a wing that will in­clude archives, a con­ser­va­tion lab­o­ra­tory and a stor­age fa­cil­ity. Pre­vi­ous do­na­tions for the project in­clude $15 mil­lion from Boe­ing in 2006, $3 mil­lion from John and Adri­enne Mars in 2003 and $3 mil­lion from the Daniels Fund in 2005.


The Ud­var-Hazy Cen­ter, shown on open­ing day, will add a hangar where vis­i­tors can watch air­craft restora­tion.


Travis En­gen says the pas­sion of his late par­ents, Mary and Don­ald, above, for avi­a­tion and the Air and Space Mu­seum in­spired his $15 mil­lion gift.

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