Cockpit-Fest was founded in 1999 by Bill O’Sullivan at the Newark Air Museum in Newark, UK. It has become a successful annual event, drawing cockpit collectors from across Europe.
Inspired by Cockpit-Fest, members of the Kansas Aviation Museum were inspired to start Cockpit-Fest USA in 2012. The event is now hosted by the Cold War Air Museum in Lancaster, Texas.
Cockpit-Fest USA is an informal group event organized by volunteers. All funds raised go directly into funding the event.
While the event includes presenting awards, the focus of Cockpit-Fest is for collectors to meet and network with each other. Therefore, most cockpits are a work in progress rather than in a finished “showroom” condition.
Cockpit-Fest USA policy
This event is supported by multiple organizations that award certain Exhibit Categories with a special prize; these being presented for any number of reasons, and remain changeable from year to year. One thing that we need to stress is that we are NOT looking for perfection, although a line-up of perfectly restored cockpits, inside and out, with a side show of display boards as additions could look truly stunning, it only tells part of the story.
Cockpit-Fest USA is open to ALL aircraft and simulator cockpits, whatever there condition, with all equally welcome. We wish to see the newly acquired cockpit that is about to undergo a restoration. We would also like to see cockpits that are part way through a restoration program, and maybe have not been seen for 2/3 years, as these show the public the second stage of cockpits restoration, especially if photos are used to show progress to date. The third type would be close to completion, maybe after 4/5 years of work, and again not been seen for a few years, but has notably changed during that time. This offers something different from all of the other stages, and is the most motivational for other Cockpiteers to see. Next would come the cockpit that has had a re-paint and looks stunning to view, (always the public’s favorites), but is not complete inside. Follow this with completion of the interior as the next stage, and with added displays showing the history. This shows the many different options that owners of cockpits have when making the decision weather or not to display their cockpit at Cockpit-Fest USA.
These ALL make up what Cockpit-Fest USA is all about, namely the preservation and restoration of our aviation heritage, it has never been, or ever will be, a beauty parade of pretty cockpits. So hopefully the message will spread that the cockpit and simulator sections of Cockpit-Fest USA are open to all.
The awards go to who is deemed to have the best category cockpit/sim, no matter if it was purchased outright, outsourced for restoration, or were completely hand restored by the owner. The awards are not given for exhibitors having specific restoration skills. The award is for the condition of the cockpit, within the conditions imposed by the category.