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National Museum of the US Air Force

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Minuteman3, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Spent a full day at the USAF museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton OH. I may be slightly biased, but I found it to be far more interesting than the Air & Space Museum in DC. MUCH larger and the displays cover AF activities from WW I to the present day. All indoors as well!! There were several main "hangers" including WW I, WWII, Cold War, and R&D/Presidential support. I took a ton of pictures, but here are a few---

    1 The exterior
    AF Museum.
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    2 The Memphis Belle - B-17 Flying Fortress
    AF Museum (3).
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    This is a new exhibit. The Belle was the first B-17 to finish all 25 missions over Germany, and returned home to a big PR tour of the country. It was the subject of a color documentary from William Wyler at the time, and also a movie several years ago. The original aircraft had been in pretty poor condition, so several sponsors stepped up (primarily the Boeing Company) and completely rebuilt it for this display. It is in gorgeous condition.

    3 The Bockscar
    AF Museum (2).
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    This is the B-29 which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, literally ending WWII.

    4,5 Two overviews of the hanger. The large white plane in 4 is the XB-70 Valkrie, one of the sexiest aircraft ever flown by the USAF, in my opinion.
    AF Museum (1).
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    AF Museum (4).
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    This one shows the wide variety of exhibits ... there's the massive B-36 of the early Cold War to the currently flying B-2 stealth bomber!!

    6 Of particular interest to me ... missiles!! The ones I was responsible for are the Minuteman III which is on the left (with the white nose cone), and the Peacekeeper (aka MX) on the right which I worked on the R&D program.
    AF Museum (5).
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    7 I was kind of surprised to see this ... it's from the Peacekeeper and displays the 10 re-entry vehicles (the business end of an ICBM). Minuteman III's can carry up to 3 of these as well, and each can be targeted to a different target.
    AF Museum (6).
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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  2. Wow, that is a cool place - never been to Ohio; may have to change that.

    When you compare it the A&S, are you talking about the one on the national mall or the new one out by Dulles?

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  3. Actually, both of the ones in DC (and I've been to both). Of course the Smithsonian has more key "historic" aircraft such as the original Wright flyer, the "Spirit of St Louis", the "Enola Gay" B-29 (which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima) and Chuck Yeager's "Glamorous Glennis" X-1. But the ones here in the AF museum are far more numerous and in general more accessible than the displays in DC. I'd say the AF museum probably covers twice the space, maybe more.

    Of course, there are also no "commercial" or naval aircraft in the USAF museum!:) 

  4. Enjoyable photos made in difficult situations.

    The Enola Gay is at the museum near Dulles Airport, not the original Air and Space Museum.

    The Air Force museum has about 1 million square feet of exhibit space. The original Air and Space Museum has about 160,000 square feet and the museum near Dulles Airport has about 760,000 square feet.
  5. I had the pleasure of spending a day there some years ago. A day wasn't nearly enough time. You did it justice.
  6. As a kid who spent many, many hours building model airplanes, esp. USAF birds, I would love it there. I was really impressed by the Udvar Hazy center out by Dulles (Space Shuttle Discovery, wow!) so if this place is bigger than that......sign me up!

  7. Mike

    I didn't realize the Dulles branch was so big. Sure didn't feel like it.

    All I know is my Apple watch tells me I burned over 12,500 steps and 5.92 miles that day!! That's a bit above my normal!!! ;) 

  8. Sean

    Funny you should mention building models. One of the planes I saw I vividly remember building and hanging in my bedroom ... the X-3 Stiletto.

    X-3 Stilleto.
    NIKON D750    ---    32mm    f/6.3    1/160s    ISO 5000


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  9. It just now occurred to me that when comparing the size of museums such as those we're discussing here, the number of square feet of exhibit space is irrelevant; considering that so many of the objects on display are suspended in mid air, it seems to me that the number of cubic feet should be the number to take into account.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  10. Me too!
    What a neat place.
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  11. Logan, Ohio, which is near gorgeous Hocking Hills State Park, is also the home of the Columbus Washboard Company (having moved from Columbus). It's the only company in America still commercially manufacturing washboards that are designed for the purpose of washing clothes. They tell me that there are only two other companies worldwide that make them. It was interesting to walk through the factory. Every year Logan has the Washboard Music Festival on Father's Day weekend when tours of the factory are free.

    Logan is a two-hour drive from the Air Force Museum.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  12. Good images, Ken. I grew up about 30 minutes from the AF museum and now live about 45 minutes away -- also went to college right up the street at Wright State. Spent many days there with my maternal grandfather, who was a USAF vet and served during Korea in Africa. It was a sprawling complex then and like you've described has only grown. I'll have to get there soon to see the Belle and the presidential wing. I've seen that old Air Force One before -- they used to keep it in a hangar on Wright Patt and would bus people from the museum to that hangar. Nice that they now have it on site. It was a big deal here last spring when the Belle was put in -- all over local news.
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  13. RoyC01


    Jan 6, 2011
    SE USA
    Great shots of a fantastic place. There used to be a Wright Flier as the first exhibit when you entered. Is it still there?
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  14. gryphon1911


    Mar 20, 2017
    Central Ohio
    That is a great facility. I never tire of going there. You can get awesome images there, as you can see from the OP thread. Not too far from there is also another awesome place called Carillon Park. It does cost a little to get in, but it is also another great place to visit while in the area.
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  15. The Wright Flyer is now part of a hanger full of WWI and 20's/30's aircraft.
    AF Museum_051 - Version 2.
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    Actually, this small exhibit was just inside the entryway on the way to the main exhibition hangers ...
    AF Museum_003 - Version 2.
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    Not sure why the USAF museum was chosen for this display, but one of Hope's Emmy's was on display as well as a lot of other memorabilia. There were two monitors running clips from his visits to the troops.

    What a refreshing reminder of how great an entertainer he was.

  16. gryphon1911


    Mar 20, 2017
    Central Ohio
    There is also a Wright Flyer (I think the 3rd one built) in Carillon Park along with a replica of the Wright Brothers bicycle shop.
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