|National US Air Force Museum|
John Everett offers another glimpse into his travels...
The National US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio is a collection of aircraft and artefacts which cover the whole history of the US Air Force. This museum is a genuine jewel of a collection hidden away in a quiet corner of the country.
As most will recall, the Wright Brothers of Kitty Hawk and 1903 fame were from Dayton. This fact, no doubt, played a role in the USAF constructing the Wright-Patterson Air Base just east of the city. As one approaches from the freeway the building doesnʼt look very impressive, little more than a very large quonset hut. As it turns out, this “hut” is only the first wing of the first building and provides only enough space for their collection of pre-WWII aircraft.
There are three major buildings in total as well as the cylindrical missile silo at the southern end. Each of the three buildings consists of two wings which in turn, each house aircraft from the various eras of flight. It is a vast and Comprehensive grouping of both allied and enemy equipment from the last 100 years. I suspect that few of even our American members here on MA will ever get a chance to go to Dayton. This is unfortunate. But if you should ever find yourself there, plan a minimum of five hours for a general overview and the full day to see it all. I will apologize in advance for the marginal quality of a few of these pictures. The lighting is kept dim to avoid damage to the collection. My camera actually does a remarkable job in the low light, but even the slightest movement during the exposure will cause blurring of the image. I did my best to produce sharp photos, but the conditions were difficult.) What is presented here is a poor reflection of everything on display. As with most museums, “Ya gotta see it to believe it!”
Propeller recovered from the Lady Be Good, the B-24 depicted in Sheperd Paineʼs How to Build Dioramas.
There were three cases of these gorgeous little hand carved wooden aircraft. I would guess the scale at about 1/72.
The Collier Trophy for fastest LA to NY flight...
Won by this airplane. (Kind of cheating really.) The record stood until it was beaten about ten years ago by the SR-71. Their times coast to coast were about 2 hours and 1 hour respectively if I recall?
Bockscar is the B-29 which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
Just one of perhaps 50 original jackets generously donated by former Air Force personnel....
(Caution! Personal political viewpoint ahead!) Of particular interest to me is the Berlin Airlift.
I have long felt that as a nation the United States has always been at its best when we have served others in the common cause of humanitarianism. In my view, the Berlin Airlift is the single, greatest and most profound action we have yet accomplished in that role. The full weight and power of American factories, military planning and logistics were brought to bear, not in destroying a people, but in saving them.
The Airlift proved not just to Stalin, but to the world, that the airplane had reached a point of maturity that it could be operated safely and consistently under any conditions and at any time. The Berlin airlift created, from scratch, the basis of the modern and reliable air traffic control system which we all enjoy today. An entire hall is dedicated to artefacts and pictures of Operation Vittles.
The first spy satellites!
Suit worn by the world's highest skydiver. The only man to break the sound barrier without an aircraft!
A small section was dedicated to the life's work of comedian Bob Hope. He did a lot of work for all branches of the service in both times of conflict and peace.
As if all of this wasn't enough. There is a fourth building underway. This one will feature the aircraft used by various presidents over the years as well as addition spacecraft. If you happen to visit Dayton after this one is finished, you might want to plan an extra day!