Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Museum of Flight

This is a new reusable take off and landing prototype being developed at a company here in Washington State for the new generation of space rockets. 

Just back from the Moon. 

The Bay is the main exhibit of the Shuttle Training Vessel.

The Air Lock 

The Full Size NASA Shuttle Full fuselage Trainer is pretty impressive.

I could only imagine what it must be like to Hurtle back to earth in this man made asteroid 

Room for Three but No Head!

A lot of History on this long Lived Air force One.

The Boomers coming of Age years.

The Decision Room

Huge Responsibility for these Pilots.

There are Three big interior spaces that make up the Museum, the NASA Exhibit is connected to the main buildings by this convenient walkover obviously designed by a Aerospace Engineer. 

This was a top secret device that was highly protected during WW II, it is the Bombardier's Sight. He carried it with him whenever he left the plane.

A 75+ year old Retired Boeing Engineer volunteering at the Museum recounted a story about the 377 Boeing Stratocruiser that his then Stewadress girlfriend was flying on an eventful flight from S southern Pacific Island to Los Angeles. The plane lost a engine and the pilots had to ditch in the pacific Ocean near San Diego, The Coast Guard was there and every person aboard stepped out the broken tail section onto the coast guard boat without getting wet. He married his girlfriend the next Day. 

The Original Boeing "Barn" where it all started is still there as one of the three spaces of the Museum, This single Cylinder Morse engine ran several there power tools,, a table saw, lath, band saw and other tools were all belted off of one long axle.

Never understood why the American Aerospace Industry did not build the Concord

Not sure why the rusty stairs leading to the British / French Supersonic Transport.

Extra Long cockpit

Everything is Supersonic!

The Latest and Greatest Boeing 787

This is Number 3 off the line and has been used as the Sales Model.

A lot of space in first Class

This is a "Smart Plane"  The nreest technology, push button (few toggle switches), touch screen, and a clear pull down visor where date is projected on a clear screen., A lot more space in the cockpit!

Just for size

Had to visit the WW II Exhibit This is the RAF's SuperMarine "Spitfire" one of my favorites.
see this Youtube:

The P-51 is another of my favorites. As kids we would go to the 5 & Dime and buy plastic model kits, come home glue all the parts together, stick on all the decals and have a great toy.

The P-51 Mustangs were used all the way through the Korean War till Jets came along.

I built models of almost all the planes on display so it was a lot of fun to see the real deal. 

The P-38 Lightning was a long range fighter and a work horse of the Army Air force especially in the Pacific Wars. 

Lot of space in this mUseum!

Then we went upstairs and were surprised to see all the WW I era aircraft. The Admiral's Grandfather started one of the first Air Mail Aviation Companies in Texas at Meacham field in Ft. Worth Texas, He later sold his fleet of planes to a company that was buying all these small companies up and eventually became American airlines.

The Nieuport 28 was a French Biplane, I was surprised to learn that the French had a big hand in the development of flight.

One thing you absolutely did not want to do was to crash one of these early planes. After watching a 8 year old successfully fly and land the simulation, we tried it, I crashed twice before take off, the Admiral at least got airborne before striking a tree.

This is my favorite of the bombers, and really of all the WW II planes, the Superfortress. It had just arrived so it had not been unwrapped yet. They have a lot of work to do as it was used as a target for years.

My Father was a Army Air Force Pilot stationed in Guam. He earned a Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Two
Distinguished Flying Cross Medals. 
A trip through the Museum of Flight will be memorable to anyone who visits I am sure. For Baby boomers you can't get away from the Greatest Generation, those who built and flew into one of the most Horrific wars ever and then came back and built the United States of America.

The Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight has been on the to see list and since we have checked off many of the More Pacific Northwest  things we decided to spend a very rainy day just before Christmas in the comfort of a museum. I had no idea what we were about to see,, I figured it was a sort of Boeing History to date but instead it is more of a complete History of Flight starting with the 1903 Wright Brothers right up to today's marvel of Aerospace engineering the Boeing 787.  It is remarkable to me that just a few years after the wright brothers continued success to refine their flying machine in 1907 just 10 years later there were all sorts of flying successful flying machines and I learned how involved the French were during these early stages.
We parked in the back so we sort of started out our tour backwards beginning at the NASA and space flight exhibits first. The NASA Full size Trainer was impressive but what completely captured my attention was the Soyuz Decent Module. To think of anyone surviving a trip from space back to Earth in that little metal ball is really incredible to me.
We spent the next part out on the Tarmac to see all the planes on exhibit that you could board and walk through before the rain started to really crank up. Air force One was a trip back in time from the late 50's till the early 70's which pretty much covered all our growing up years. Then to get to see the Concorde was very cool, I remember my friends Martti's dad who was a Areospace Engineer at General Dynamics designing F-111s telling me how big a mistake it was for the U.S. Areospace companies not taking the Concorde contracts. Then with a little rain starting to fall we boarded the Boeing 787, Wow, I sure hope those plastic wings last a long time cause it would be great to get to fly on one.
We Next went into the Old Shed, the original Boeing building where "March 10: William Boeing buys Heath's shipyard in Seattle, Wash., on the Duwamish River, which will later become his first airplane factory. The first airplane flight is made over Seattle."
In this building you can still feel the Spirits of times past Old machinery and the old Draftsman tables. This is the area where you should start the tour, since it is also adjacent to a room that begins with the Wright Brothers and goes forward from there.
There is another building and the bottom floor is devoted to WW II era flight. I have to say this was my favorite since it brough back a lot of boyhood memories. All of our baby boomer fathers are veterans of WW II so if you are one of their kids you have a certain sense of of all that. As a kid I bought lots of the plastic model kits and built replica WW II airplane models and most of the real thing  is on display. For some reason that generation of men and women just did not want to talk about their war experiences, I think they were just to busy building the USA into the greatest free nation on Earth. What I do know about my father was he was assigned as a Flight instructor teaching fighter pilots in Abilene. He told me he transferred several times trying to stay State side but each move he made got him deeper into the middle of the war and ended up in New Guinea in the South Pacific. He flew a DC-3 transporting cargo and paratroopers. Later he was assigned to MacArthurs front to fly one of only two aircraft fitted with radar jamming equipment. He flew ahead of the fighter escorts. They were all a little bit Crazy but they got the job done.
Martti, my best High School buddy's father was a Aerospace engineer in the 60's at General Dynamics in Ft. Worth, TX. He designed F-111's and he was always an interesting person to me. There is just something about those engineers, They all have something in common and you can see one a mile away. Back then it might have been the pocket protectors but really it is just their culture, very distinctive wherever you go. I thought of him and all those men like him who throughout history did a lot better job with Physics than most of us. Something about those engineers is they don't like to retire, the ones at the Boeing Museum luckily had a fun place to hang out and volunteer their incredible knowledge as volunteers at the museum, Martti's dad never did retire, he went on to work at Chrysler designing the new generation M1 tanks till he passed away. We get on a plane and Jet to wherever without so much as giving it much thought about how amazing it is to be flying at 30.000+ feet at 500-600 mph. I think of Marrti's dad.
We then went upstairs to see the WW I era planes and that had us thinking about the Admiral's Grandfather who after the war started up a Air Mail company in Fort Worth, Texas. He eventually sold his company to a group who became American Airlines. We tried our hand at a simulator flying a old plane with a joystick and I crashed miserably, the Admiral at least got off the ground before striking a tree. A eight year old did just fine taking off and landing!

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