First a little preface. Mike’s dad took a temporary work assignment in Cincinnati OH. Yes – it’s hard to be away from Mike and his mommy during the week, but knowing that it’s temporary helps. And we have been burning up the internet with the webcams so we all get to see each other every evening!
It also provides an opportunity to do things that we normally would not have done. One such thing is visiting the National Air Force Museum in Dayton. The museum, appropriately situated on Wright Patterson Air Force Base contains the largest collection of USAF planes in the United States. And while that does indeed sound impressive, our expectations were not excessively high. We were expecting a couple of hangers with a few F-16’s and maybe a stealth bomber – and we knew that they had a small collection of “Air Force One’s”.
So, a couple of weeks ago, Mike and mommy make the trip up to Ohio for a week long visit. On the Saturday, we drove up to Dayton to take a gander at these planes. And boy howdy – what a collection it is…
I won’t even begin to describe the number of planes. but I will mention a few of “daddy’s” favorites. They had a really beautiful P-47 thunderbolt – and this one was a little extra special because it was a P-47D-RA. The”-RA” designation means it was built in daddy’s hometown of Evansville Indiana! They also had the actual “Bocks Car” plane – the B-29 that dropped the “Fat Man” over Nagasaki (that was a rather solemn area of the museum…), an actual B-52 (I still don’t know how they got something that big off of the ground), an F-117A stealth bomber, they even had an SR71 Blackbird – daddy’s favorite plane when he was a little boy (and still the fastest plane ever built!). The favorite of all was the “T-41A Mescalero” – most of you probably haven’t heard it called by that name. But Mike’s dad has over 100 hours piloting this exact model! It’s better known as a Cessna 172!!!!
And that is only an insanely small sample of the hundreds of aircraft (yes – they even had a few F-16’s!). In the end, the museum turned out to be so big that we didn’t have time to see it all before it closed. Mom’s favorite was all of the “nose art” on the WWII planes. Dad’s favorite was everything (much like a kid in a candy factory – we expected the Oompa Loompa’s to come out any minute and wisk him away). And Mike’s favorite was “Iron Mike” – an actual suit of armor (yep – like the Knights of King Arthurs Court) that was the mascot of the 317th fighter squadron. What price would you pay to see such an amazing display of American air superiority? Thanks to the USAF, the price is free. We will certainly be making the trip back to finish the tour!
This Thunderbolt was made in Evansville Indiana!
“Bockscar” – the B-29 that carried the “Fat Man” atomic bomb…
SR71 – still holds the speed and altitude records at 2070MPH and 80,257 feet (and that’s just what the USAF releases!). It once flew from London to Los Angeles in 3 hours 47 minutes…
The F-117A. Stealth ALWAYS looks cool!
Mike and Daddy take a seat in an F-16 cockpit!
The “T-41A” – better known as a Cessna 172!
“Iron Mike” – the mascot for the 317 fighter squadron!