Monday, April 30, 2007


It was a rainy day so we headed over to The National Museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio. There are two different museums here with over 300 aircraft on display, the first is the one that you drive to following their signs houses most of the exhibits that explain the history of flight, this one is big , crowded and we have done this one before and it takes almost the entire day so we went right to the rear of the museum store and signed up for the Presidential Hanger tour. When you sign up they give you a wrist band with your tour number and time on it, at the appropriate time they take you by bus across the airport to the Presidential and experimental aircraft hanger, just about everything here is a "One of a kind".

Left: the wings rotate vertical to horizontal for vertical take off and landing.

Right: the first vertical jet to take of and land.

There were only 15 people on this tour and there are no ropes to keep you from the aircraft they just ask you not to touch and then turn you loose for 45 minutes.

Left: Truman's Plane

Right: Ike's Plane

One side of the hanger has the presidential aircraft which includes Franklin D Roosevelt's Handicapped equipped plane, Harry Truman's "The Independence", Eisenhower's "Columbine" and the very first one to be assigned the tail number SAM 26000 and the radio call sign "Air Force One". This craft was first used by President Kennedy and continued through President Nixon's first term, Lyndon Johnson used this aircraft the most, this was the craft were he took the oath of office and the one that flew President Kennedy's body back to Washington DC.

The other side has all the experimental aircraft, most of which are the only one in existence, some of these you look at and think no way that thing ever got off the ground but they did. My personnel favorite was the XB-70 Valkyrie, 200 feet long, wings that dip down 65 degrees, 200,000 lbs of thrust from 6 huge jets all lined up in a row at the center back, speed mach 3+, and it looks a lot like a Kligon "Bird of Prey" from the Star Trek movies. They built two of these and the other one crashed in a mid-air collision, how do you run into something this big.

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