Taking to the Skies with Wayne NewtonAugust 19, 2016
Many of Wayne Newton’s fans know of his great love of fine art and antiques, as well as horses and other animals. What is perhaps less known is his extensive interest in airplanes and aviation.
In the Wayne Newton Museum, you’ll see many fine examples of aeronautical memorabilia stretching over decades of manned flight in the skies above. The oldest, and perhaps most surprising, is a vintage helicopter rotor blade made of wood. It’s now decorated with lights and is part of our exhibit honoring American MIA/POWs.
Throughout our display cases, you’ll see items given to Wayne by branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, including a striking red and white fighter jet helmet. Beyond its bold, eye-catching design, you’ll notice at first glance a distinctive name emblazoned over the brim. It’s an official piece of gear from the Thunderbirds, the amazing Air Force squadron.
Based here in Las Vegas at Nellis Air Force Base, the Thunderbirds are famed for their aerial acrobatics in cutting edge F-16 Fighting Falcons. In an amazing gesture, the Thunderbirds let Wayne suit up and jet through the skies with them for a few hours. They then presented him with the helmet as a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Of course, there’s a huge piece of aviation history that stands out at Casa de Shenandoah. In fact, you can see it from above when flying into McCarran International Airport on a Las Vegas vacation: Wayne’s very-own Fokker F-28 jet! Built in 1969, the twin-engine aircraft shuttled the Newton family and friends across the globe for years.
But it’s no ordinary aircraft. Rather, it’s been completely revamped inside with luxurious touches like stone décor and leather seats. There’s even etched glass featuring an eagle feather to pay homage to Wayne’s Native American heritage.
The jet is attached to our Wayne Newton Museum, and visitors are encouraged to walk through it and take photos. You can even sit in the cockpit like a pilot in action. It’s great fun!
Wayne’s interest in flight actually stretches beyond the blue skies above … it extends into the black vastness of space, too. In fact, he helped support NASA’s Apollo moon missions in the late early ‘70s by sponsoring customized insignia patches for a number of missions. Framed examples are in our Museum by the entrance to the Fokker jet.
And, perhaps most unique of all, there is also a small pendant behind glass. It contains the likeness of Wayne’s prized Arabian stallion, Aramus, the horse that started his interest in the horse business (click to learn more). The small piece of jewelry was actually taken to the moon by an Apollo crew and returned to Earth, along with a letter from one of the astronauts! Both are framed for viewing.
There’s more aviation related items at Casa de Shenandoah. Have an adventure of your own locating them on a tour!