HOWLAND - Ground has been broken for the planned Ernie Hall Aviation Museum to be constructed in honor of the Trumbull County aviation instructor and also to showcase local aviation history.
The 50-by-70-foot building, which will cost $160,000, will be constructed at the SLOAS Airport off North River Road with work to begin in March and completed by this summer for the second annual Wings and Wheels fundraiser to benefit the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League.
The building will be a replica of the original Ernie Hall hangar. Hall ran the Hall Flying School on state Route 46 near Warren for more than 50 years.
Bill Griffin, a member of the board of directors, said construction will start March 5 on the west side of the airfield property.
"This endeavor will be something Howland Township will be very proud of for a long time to come. We are all very excited," he said.
Griffin said he grew up on Venice Drive in Howland and the Ernie Hall Airport was nearby.
"I remember going there with my brother and dad and being around Ernie Hall," he said.
Griffin said the board of directors wanted to bring Ernie home with the museum.
Hall died in 1972, and his hangar was taken down and moved to the Trumbull County Fairgrounds where it was going to be a museum, but it never came to be, Griffin said. "We want to bring Ernie Hall back."
Bill Hunter, who took lessons with Ernie Hall, said Hall was a highly regarded aeronautical pioneer.
Hall once flew with the Wright brothers, ran an aviation school and trained pilots during World War I.
"He is a true hero due to his impact on the evolution of aviation in the United States," Griffin said.
In addition to memorializing Hall, the museum will also recognize contributions of other aviators and others in the aviation field.
"The museum is not all about Ernie. It does have his name but it is also about everyone in the area who is tied to aviation such as Pan Am stewardesses, mechanics on a B52 or someone who fought on a plane in the Korean War," Griffin said.
He said anyone who knows someone connected with aviation with stories to share or an item to be loaned for the museum is encouraged to call him.
"If you or someone in your family is connected to aviation, I want to know about it. Anyone with a story about Ernie Hall, I want to hear it," Griffin said.
Howland Trustee Dr. James LaPolla said the trustees are looking forward to the project, which will enhance the community.