Monday, December 01, 2014

A Day out with a Really Nice Guy.

Sunday morning, I went to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Annex at Dulles International Airport and I met this guy:
It's OldAFSarge!

He and his charming wife are down visiting their daughter and son-in-law, and he couldn't leave without visiting this sacred place, so I headed down to meet up with him. And what a great morning it was.

Walking in, one of the first aircraft you see is this SR-71 down on the main floor below.

There's also this Vought F4U-1D hanging at eye level.

And there's this classic Curtiss P-40E Warhawk next to it.
From to observation platform, you can almost reach out and touch these two. Almost...otherwise I'd likely have snuck one out when I left.

There's also this Westland Lysander that both OldAFSarge and I are particular fans of.
How do you not love a plane built to sneak into Occupied Europe after dark and land in cow pastures to facilitate all sorts of spy stuff against the Nazis? And yes, that's a P-61 below it and a P-38 behind it to the left. But I'll get to those in a minute.

Here's a nifty little Nieuport 28. During World War 1, the French evaluated this aircraft and rejected it in favor of the Spad XIII. Needing aircraft badly, American forces adopted these and few them until the US forces could get enough Spad XIIIs from the French.
These Nieuports had the old Gnome rotary engine where instead of a prop shaft turning, the prop was fixed to the engine and the entire engine rotated. Many also flew with no machine guns or only one, like this aircraft has, due to a shortage of Vickers guns at the time.
Looking down on a two-seat Halberstadt CL.IV, a German around attack and fighter aircraft. Note the radiator in the right wing.
Spad XVI, top view.
This twin-engined French Caudron G4 light bomber and recon aircraft is one of the oldest surviving bombers left.

And here's a Loening OA-1A, one of the aircraft that flew from Texas through Mexico to Central and South America before returning to Washington DC back in 1926-1927. Parked ahead of it is a bright yellow Boeing "Stearman" Kaydet trainer.
Here's another Stearman. Because you can never have too many Stearmans. (Stearmen?)
And here we have a Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny", known primarily for mail delivery and barnstorming acts after the Great War.

Here's a Douglas M2 that used to fly mail between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City back in the 1920s. (Now that's when it would have been cool to work for the Post Office!)
Darn thing was faster than my Cessna is today, with a top speed of about 140mph.

Look! A biplane with a funny hook on top.
It's a Curtiss F-9C Sparrowhawk, one of eight designed to be carried aloft by one of the US Navy's two dirigibles in the 1930s, the USS Akron and the USS Macon.
Sadly, the Akron crashed in 1933 and the Macon in 1935, leaving just three of these Sparrowhawks left. So this one is here now.

Got a pest problem? You might need this Huff-Daland cropduster, made from a military surplus Petrel.
Worked good on most agricultural pests, and would probably work good on that's Occupy/Ferguson protesters...just use it to drop soap and job applications on them and they'll be gone in seconds.

More later...gotta go out for a bit.


  1. Love that place. But it always costs me books...

    1. Yeah, we had to buy books too. The author was there and he wouldn't let us leave until we did. That post is coming.

  2. It WAS a great time, my brain is still in full "OMG, is that a..." mode. Couldn't turn around without noticing something else awesome and cool.

    I'm glad I convinced you not to sneak that Lysander out under your coat. Believe me, they would have noticed. OTOH, next time we bring tools. Disassemble the bird, bring her out a piece at a time. No one will be the wiser. Get Old NFO to chat the guards up. Perfect plan!

    Yes, there will be a next time!

    1. It was good indeed. And yes, Old NFO could have gone off on his tales of when he was a Young NFO and given those guards many first-hand stories of flying against the Kaiser while we nabbed a plane or would have worked.

  3. Way cool. I could spend a lifetime in there. Some very awesome birds. So neat you met up with OldAFSarge as well.

  4. Looks like a great place, and sounds like a fine man!


  5. I'm assuming you didn't see any boarding ladders?

    1. [Ahem] Well, that topic did come up. I'll let Murph explain.

  6. Neat! (and I'm jealous, once again)

  7. Glad y'all got together, wish I could have made it!

  8. Nice! I need to get up there.

  9. From the title, fer just a second there, I thought you'd switched teams....

    Luckily, I read the rest.

  10. Anonymous2:04 AM

    Great Pictures Thank-you for sharing them