Skip to content

Dayton, Ohio USA Part I — National Museum of the United States Air Force, first half

9 September 2009

Dayton Ohio in the USA was the home of the Wright brothers and their bicycle business. As we all know, the Wrights designed and produced the first powered airplane (a note: for a short discussion a New Zealander who possibly may have accomplished this first, as well as other innovations of the Wrights, please see “About this blog”). The US Air Force has its main aviation museum there, next to Wright-Patterson Air Base — the National Museum of the United States Air Force. It can hardly be easier to get there as one can fly to Dayton International Airport and rent a car for a 20 minute drive to the facility. Parts I and II will be about the National Museum of the US Air Force and Part III will deal with the neighboring Wright brother sites.

National Museum of the United States Air Force

39° 46′ 55″ N / 84° 06′ 42″ W

 

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter outside of the National Museum of the USAF -- photo by Joe May

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter outside of the National Museum of the USAF — photo by Joe May

Dayton Ohio in the USA was the home of the Wright brothers and their bicycle business. As we all know, the Wrights designed and produced the first powered airplane (a note: for a short discussion a New Zealander who possibly may have accomplished this first, as well as other innovations of the Wrights, please see “About this blog”). The US Air Force has its main aviation museum there, next to Wright-Patterson Air Base — the National Museum of the United States Air Force. It can hardly be easier to get there as one can fly to Dayton International Airport (formerly named James M. Cox Dayton International Airport) and rent a car for a 20 minute drive to the facility.

This museum is immense — consisting of six hangar-like buildings in three pairs as well as two hangars on the air base. Entry to the museum is free and there is a café as well as plenty of room to walk around most of the aircraft. Additionally, there is a restoration hangar and a display hangar for the experimental aircraft and presidential aircraft on the air base — these require previous arrangements to see (easily made over their web site) and are visited on a specific schedule (visitors are taken by bus and escorted by informative volunteer tour guides).

 

Panorama of one of the hangers of th eNational Museum of the USAF -- photo by Joe May

Panorama of one of the hangars of the National Museum of the USAF — photo by Joe May

As is often practiced, displays are grouped by eras, and are wonderfully done in the early aviation through WW II eras as there are many dioramas. Later eras have aircraft but not the dioramas, however, this does not detract from the experience. The aircraft and additional exhibits are plentiful to the extreme and all in excellent or even better condition.

 

Martin B-10 -- photo by Joe May

Martin B-10 — photo by Joe May

 

Martin B-26G Marauder -- photo by Joe May

Martin B-26G Marauder — photo by Joe May

Not often seen airplanes are present. Some of these are: the Consolidated B-36 Peacekeeper, Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet, Martin MB-2, Martin B-10, Junkers Ju-88, Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning), North America F-82 Twin Mustang, Northrop YC-125 Raider, Convair B-58 Hustler, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 and Panavia Tornado GR-1 — just to name several of the dozens upon dozens of displays.

 

Northrop YC-125 Raider -- photo by Joe May

Northrop YC-125 Raider — photo by Joe May

 

Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) -- photo by Joe May

Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) — photo by Joe May

Historic aircraft include the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar which delivered the second, and last, atomic bomb used in war time. Additionally present are: a propeller and engine from the Consolidated B‑24 Liberator Lady be Good (the remaining wreckage is stored on a military base in Tobruk, Libya), various nuclear weapons (inert, naturally), a Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low helicopter used in the Son Tay raid (as a Sikorsky HH-53C Super Jolly, prior to the MH modifications that were part of its 38 years of service) during the Vietnam War and the Boeing NKC-135A Airborne Laser Lab — again, to name several of the dozens upon dozens of displays.

 

Propeller from the Lady Be Good -- photo by Joe May

Propeller and engine from the Lady Be Good — photo by Joe May

Additional exhibits include a cut-away Junker Jumo 004 turbojet (the engine type of the Messerschmitt Me-262 Scwalbe and Arado 234 Blitz), an escape capsule from a Convair B-58 Hustler (the ejecting crew man would be in an enclosure), a “Boston Camera” (equipped within a Consolidate RB-36 Peacekeeper and the largest aerial camera to be built) as well as much more.

Touring this museum is best done by taking one’s time as there is such a variety and it is all around as well as above. My usual strategy in museums is to go through them twice — first with one lens and then the second lens. This worked well for me as I noticed much of what I had missed on the first walk around. Many volunteers are there to assist and they are easy to spot with their red blazer jackets. I spoke with three of them at various times and enjoyed good conversations with each of them.

During my wanderings, with my senses at the point of being overloaded I spotted a photographic accessory that would be oh so convenient to have for this type of photography. There it was, a red blazered docent escorting a photographer who was using a battery powered cart that could lift up a one man platform as much as 15 feet (4.5m), or a bit more!

A note: there is a complete aerospace gallery located in this facility but that is beyond the scope of my acumen to review.

Part II of this post will describe my visit to the restoration hangar.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: