A change of pace -- Thursday, 6/2/16
Leaving Indiana for Buck Creek State Park a few miles east of Dayton, Ohio, we discovered something else we wanted to do, especially Jimmy. Jimmy served four years in the Air Force back in the 60's, and Dayton is the home of the USAF National Museum. After setting up in the campground, we made straight for an afternoon at the museum.
The Air Force museum is a giant complex of four huge hanger-like structures, filled with airplanes from the early years of plane development through WW I and right up to the present. Planes and jets -- big, little, fast, slow, shiny, and camouflaged, filled the museum, floor to ceiling. Approximately 200 aircraft fill the hangers. Lots of exhibits point out events, adding information to what we saw, more exhibits than we could ever take in. Engines of all types are featured. "What a place!" Jimmy said.
What I'm posting is a very tiny example of the collections we saw. Represented in the museum are the best (and I think, most interesting) planes of each era.
We visited Wilbur Wright's birthplace yesterday in Indiana. Here in the museum, the Wright Brothers significant contribution begins our tour: The Early Years. The Wright Bros took a military man for a short ride in an early biplane, which they immediately purchased, then assigned one of their lieutenants to learn how to fly.
An early model airplane -- Caproni Ca 36. It looks like a boxcar! How can this fly?
The Peashooter ... this P-26A is a reproduction painted to represent a commander's aircraft stationed at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, in 1938.
Dogfight over Kaneone -- after Pearl Harbor was attacked, one of the few pilots who managed to engage enemy aircraft was 2nd Lt Philip Rasmussen. He had just arisen when the attack began. Still wearing his pajamas, Rasmussen sped toward the flight line.
Looks fierce, not something you'd want to tangle with!
WASP flight crew of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
Providing personalized training for a Tuskegee student pilot.
Above and below: As Jimmy and I were walking through the WW II gallery, an elderly gentleman approached. His name is Okla Edgell. He related that he was with the 146 Bomb Group ... the tail gunner on the above plane during WW II. He volunteers at the museum, and he's mighty proud to do so!
And directly above Jimmy and Okla is where the tail gunner sits.
Where Okla sat, many years ago.
B-52 "Big Belly" Bomber. This great big plane nearly filled the entire hanger. I could not believe the size. Jimmy served at Columbus Air Force Base (MS) in the service, where a squadron of B-52's was based, each with it's own KC-135 tanker to refuel in midair. The B-52's required a two-mile runway to lift off (I can see why!).
We did spend all afternoon here. If only -- IF ONLY -- we'd waited one more week to visit, we would have seen the newest addition, the fourth building: the Presidential and R&D Galleries, as well as the Space Shuttle Exhibit, which opens on June 8, 2016. Maybe we'll have to return?