Monday, May 11, 2015

A day surrounded by things with wings.

This week-end, I was blessed to have a good friend, Tom, and his young son Damien come to visit. And on Sunday, we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Annex at Dulles to see some vintage military veterans.

Old NFO was waiting for us when we got there.

What? What did I say?

Anyway, the four of us spent a few nice hours walking among the warbird collection.
Here's the SR-71 that greets you when you come in.
Off to the right of the observation platform is this Chance-Vought F4U-1D Corsair.
Here's another shot, because who doesn't love Corsairs? (Old Japanese pilots excepted.)
I need this Corsair.
Ryan PT-22 trainer.
Northrop P-61C "Black Widow" night-fighter.
Republic F-105D that could not be more awesome if you...covered it with awesome sauce, I guess.
It's awesome.
The North American F-100 Super Sabre was America's first truly supersonic jet fighter.
Next to the Super Sabre sits a Curtiss Helldiver.
And just down the way sits a Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
Admit're humming the song from Top Gun now...or at least thinking it.

North American's F-86 never stopped being cool.
This Cessna O-1A "Bird Dog" did just about everything that a light plane could do in the skies over both Korea and Vietnam.
And this Hawker Hurricane once kicked German ass in the skies over Britain.
Old NFO told us about how he used to fly on these Sikorsky H-34s.
He also had some great stories about his time on these Lockeed Super Constellations.
I'm pretty sure that he logged some hours on this Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny", too (snicker).
And what visit to this museum would be complete without a minute to reflect on one of the two Boeing B-29s that ended the Second World War seventy years ago?
A great day with great people surrounded by great planes. Who could ask for more?


  1. Well, that explains your noticeable absence yesterday...
    Glad you had an enjoyable day! I do so need to get there.

  2. Love the Pictures! Udvar-Hazey is a second hometown for me. But.... Norte-Americano built the F-100 Super Sabre. Mickey-Ds built the F-101 Hoodoo Voodoo.

    1. So true. Once again, I was typing and posting too fast. Thanks on the catch.

  3. Hey Murphy.

    Awesome pics...I want to find time to go back up there and cruise around again and look at the airplanes....btw is there another aviation museum attached to the Smithsonian? You said "Annex" so I was wondering.

    1. Yep. the main Air and Space museum is down on the National Mall in DC. It's nice but much smaller. They didn't have room for all of their wonderful aircraft so this annex at Dulles holds most of them. Smithsonian still have even more aircraft, both at a restoration warehouse in Maryland and out on loan.

  4. On my bucket list....

    1. You are welcome any time.

  5. Anonymous6:38 PM

    I love the Smithsonian.
    A good SR71 read:

  6. Great day, and great to meet Tom and his son. Sorry I had to leave early.

  7. Supposedly, the F-14 was tossed (and chopped, unfortunately) due to the requirement of 50 man hours maintenance/hour of flight.

    According to the video "the Making of Top Gun", Tom Cruise had three, two hour flights, in one day(!), in a Tomcat. The other actors mostly bitched about how physically demanding it was to fly in it. The only actor who never had to resort to a barf bag was "Goose". Tom used one in his first flight. He was really stoked on flying in them, you could see his enthusiasm during the interview. "Iceman" refused to fly, btw.

    They talked some on the loss of the stunt pilot who was filming over the ocean for the flat-spin scene, Art Scholl.
    I was at the '85 Reno Air Races, and on the morning after, my coworker and I had breakfast with Art and a small group as we all were heading out of town. I'd forgotten about that. I think Art died later that same day, according to the race and crash dates.

    The RIO hitting the canopy was an actual event, suggested by the tech advisor, when the writers wanted a realistic way to kill off his character. In a flat spin, that canopy just sits there in a dead pocket of air. RIO is supposed to blow the canopy, and then wait for it to move away, before triggering the ejection sequence (Pilot is pinned by G-forces, but the backseat is closer to the center of rotation. Too low, couldn't wait, is the big problem)

    Co-worker's father had his P-51 sitting in the pits all week, but couldn't make it due to the investigation of a B-1 crash a few days earlier. Razorback version, IIRC. Co-worker soloed at 16 yo in it.