June 3, 2009

U S Air Force Museum

While in the area of Yellow Springs, OH we discover the Wright Patterson AFB and the USAF National Museum, what a great place to spend an afternoon! The beautiful entry opens further into three massive hangars each dedicated to a particular era of aviation history. To do justice to the Museum would take an entire blog's worth of post. Let's just say that having been to many aviation museums in my life, this ranks near the very top.

We start with the early days of the Wright Brothers, finding the actual wind tunnel they used in later years a fascinating piece of workmanship in beautiful hardwoods.

and numerous examples of unique planes up to & including the "racing era" machines!

they also have many examples of early engines, like this first supercharged one from days gone by:
The second hangar cover the WWII era and seems to dwarf the earlier building in size!

I was surprised to find a nice display of Louisiana's Chenault and his Flying Tigers>>>

Of course, no military aviation museum would be complete without the B-17...

As we wonder around, we are greeted by a sombering reminder of the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War, movement into the Nuclear Era!
I guess I was surprised to find any evidence of this in a public museum, especially shocked to see actual containers of those earliest weapons of mass destruction, acompanied with a small placard explaining that modern nuclear weapons have shrunk in size while growing log-rhythmically in power!

This fact coupled with intercontinental mobile delivery systems is pretty scarey...

And speaking of the Cold War, we enter the world of spy planes including one of the only remaining examples of the SR-71 Blackbird, what a machine, especially when you consider it's design dates back to the early sixties!

Just past the Blackbird we see modern contrasting examples of stealth technology....

All in all, a fun visit to one of the Nation's best exhibits of aircraft as evidenced by Kim's fascination with the place and it's many unique examples...

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