LYONS — The Coronado Quivira Museum is now hosting two temporary exhibits for the public by two Lyons men.
Five radio-controlled airplanes built by Dean Nixon, some hanging from the ceiling, are displayed in the main room, while paintings by Mike Young can be viewed in an adjoining room.
A reception for Nixon and Young will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. on Thursday at the Museum.
Nixon’s planes feature Snoopy fighting the enemy Red Baron in “Snoopy’s Plane,” the Sopwith Camel “Pup” (a World War I plane); the 1909 French Santos-Dumont Demoiselle; a Bucker Jungmann aerobatic plane that can reach 90 mph; a crop-duster model, the Piper Pawnee D; and a Piper Cub with a 12-foot wingspan. Building airplanes is a hobby he began in earnest after a tour of duty in Korea.
However, long before that, as a senior at Lyons High School, Nixon flew planes attached to a wire — in circles. They never flew away from the hand that held the wire.
With radio controlled planes, it was a little more risky with wind currents at play and adjustments needed to follow the aircraft wherever it might travel.
“There are a lot of learning curves; you crash some quite a few times and then you have to rebuild,” Nixon told the Museum’s Vince Hancock, who designed the exhibit.
Of his current 11 planes, he began the Piper Cub in 1991, as he approached retirement. When it arrived at his Lyons home, he opened the box and started studying instructions. It took nine months to build and will fly 50 mph. He has taken it to Charlotte, S.C., Dallas and Wichita to “fly-together” events. Weekends would find Nixon at meets in Ellsworth, Wichita, El Dorado or Dodge City.
Nixon and his late wife, Bonnie, were a pair in the flying hobby. She completed any task at hand — bringing tools as needed. The couple marked 65 years of marriage.
He said there is not as much building in the hobby today; it is more “plug ’n play” construction. Also, it is a much more expensive hobby.
Nixon’s planes were brought to the Museum staff’s attention by John Sayler. Both Nixon and Sayler provided crucial help during installation.
Seventeen oil paintings by Mike Young, most of which were painted in the last two years, line the walls for the other temporary exhibit. Now retired, Young said he has been interested in art since high school. He is also accomplished in woodworking.
“I’ve always liked art and working with my hands,” he told Hancock. The paintings are in oil and feature scenes familiar to this area. His process starts with compositions that might begin with a road or river. “It evolves as I go,” he said.
“Fall and winter has always been my time,” he said, regarding painting. Driving around in the fall gives him inspiration for new works. Currently he spends a lot of time capturing shadows.
Before retirement, Young managed Young Motor Company, and then was employed at Lyons Good Samaritan Center.