About Us






Gift Shop



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James R.

Robert H.
Upchurch Page

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             Mission Statement      Background      Why An Air Museum . . .      Museum Staff


Mission Statement

Our vision is to create a lasting memorial to historical and current aviation through the display of aviation memorabilia and aircraft for the education of the public and our future generations.


The James Rogers McConnell Air Museum, Inc. was chartered in the Fall of 2013 as a North Carolina non-profit, tax exempt Corporation. It is named after James Rogers McConnell, WWI airman and one of the founding members of France's Lafayette Escadrille. It is located at Gilliam-McConnell Airfield (partly named after the airman) in Carthage, North Carolina, where a permanent memorial site exists to honor McConnell.
There is also a second memorial honoring 2st Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch, a WWII airman who was a member of Chennault's "Flying Tigers" prior to the United States entry into the war. Original goals of the Museum included building an Aviation Hanger and Museum, adjacent to the memorials, to provide a permanent place for the display of both historic aircraft and memorabilia, as well as educational facilities and a Gift Shop.  The museum's lobby and media room would be available to the public for organizational meetings or social events.
The museum is a non-profit organization, staffed completely by volunteers, and supported by the generous donations of our visitors and sponsors.

Gilliam-McConnell Airfield (click here) is a private airfield created in 1994 by its present owners, Roland and Nancy Gilliam. Gilliam is an WWI historical flying enthusiast and owner of WWI replica aircraft. The airfield is also the location of Chapter 1220 of the national "Experimental Aircraft Association" (EAA). The chapter's members are are strong advocates of aviation education. The local group is a sponsor of the EAA "Young Eagles" program that semi-annually has provided thousands of young children the opportunity the experience the thrill and joy of flying through free air rides. Assisted by the local high school's Air Force ROTC unit, the long term goal is to spark the enthusiasm and desire to seek aviation careers or to become pilots themselves.

For visitors' convenience, adjacent to the airfield is a 15 site RV Park with full hook-up. (click here), and a very popular Southern BBQ restaurant, the "Pik-n-Pig" (click here). On any clear and warm Saturday, multiple private planes and even air clubs will fly-in to enjoy the beautiful Sandhills scenery and the delicious BBQ lunches. (see Photos page)

Why an Air Museum . . .

The museum will honor the millions of patriotic men and women who have distinguished themselves in aviation in all branches of the military as well as civilian aviation.  The museum will also salute the vast technological achievements that have made American air power the most formidable on earth.  In less than 100 years, air and space power have changed the face of the world.  It is important to the education of everyone, not just the children and youth, to learn about and understand these historical advancements, and to recognize the significant part they play in the world's history.

Museum Staff

  Roland Gilliam - President                                                            

  Dennis (Denny) Smith - Vice President                                                                               

  William (Bill) Bardin - Secretary/Treasurer

  Richard Hester - Board Member

  Ramsey Henderson - Board Member

  Dale Frye - Board Member

7 Felice Schillaci - Board Member at Large

8. James (Jim) Wiltjer - Member at Large

9. Charles (Chip) Peterson - Member at Large

10. Lee McGraw - Mayor of Carthage - Honorary Member

  John Perkins - Website Administrator






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