Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dayton Ohio - Aviation History

Happy Birthday to me. Sixty-three  Hard to believe. I remember when 63 was old.

We were here in Dayton because I like aviation museums. We have been to the SAC Museum in Nebraska, the Pima Museum in Tucson and I've been to Warbirds in Hamilton. The National Museum of the United States Air Force adjacent to Wright-Patterson AFB here in Dayton is one of the biggest and most comprehensive.

We woke up at 7:30 AM but neither of us slept well last night. The noise of I-70 was disturbing, plus I had been reading about James Madison and the Constitutional Convention before I nodded off and I kept thinking in the dialect of the 1780's. Wow, channeling Madison. Plus I dreamed my motorcycle got stolen. My very distinctive GL1000. Someone had already stolen my GL1100. I'm glad I woke up to find it wasn't real.

The hot breakfast here had egg something (possible an omelet) plus biscuits and gravy. Sandy had yogurt. The decaf was instant. We moved on.

The museum opened at 9:00 and we were ten minutes early. We talked to a nice couple from Fort Wayne and then the doors opened and we were away. To see the Presidential aircraft and the Experimental aircraft, you need to sign up for a bus tour because those hangers are on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base proper. We were first in line but I didn't know that foreigners needed passports for ID. I hustled back to the truck and got them while Sandy stayed. They still let us be #1 and #2. The bus left at 9:20.

Finally here

Main entrance

The Presidential Hangar

FDR's Sacred Cow (note 17" sign lower right)

Original Air Force One

F-100 Thunderchief

Pulse engines are on the end of the rotors

Harry Truman's aircraft

This flying saucer is Canadian


The Experimental Hangar

YF12A - Interceptor precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird

The first tilt-rotor

Evolved into an Osprey

There's the mechanical part

XB-70 Valkyrie (the only one left)

We caught (OK we were carefully accounted for) the bus and were taken back to the main Museum.

Our guide

Fokker DR.1 Triplane (last plane of the Red Baron)

Between the wars

Holocaust memorial

The museum was free. The tour was free. I paid for a simulator ride. This simulator was under my control and rolled 360 degrees. Often. Sandy was the Fire Control Officer. In  4 1/2 minutes of intense aerial combat, she managed to splash six bogies. Instant ace. Of course I had to call when she had a lock because she was mostly just hanging in her harness with her finger on a button.

The ace

The astronaut

Close the pod bay door, Hal

Memphis Belle II (they are restoring the original)

Colonel (Brigadier General) Robin Olds' aircraft

Little Boy and Fat Man nuclear devices (replicas)

B-29 Bockscar which delivered Fat Man to Nagasaki (real thing)

C-46 Curtis Commando (just like Buffalo Air)

WW II hangar

 I didn't name the plane.......

De Havilland Mosquito (didn't know the USAF flew them)
Mother-in-law Jan worked in a factory that made them during WW II

B-17 Flying Fortress tail gunner

B-36 Peacemaker

Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck

Suitable name for an AC-130 Spectre gunship

Huge armament on the AC-130

Cold War hangar

After touring all the hangars, I could have gone around again in detail but both of us were feeling the strain of standing on concrete for four hours. We decided to leave and get some lunch, then maybe check out a few other places in town. After all, Orville and Wilbur Wright taught themselves to fly here.

Another nice touch at the museum

We found another nearby Bob Evans and had sandwiches for lunch. Once again, the service was friendly and top notch. Then I found the Wright Brothers monument and the National Park Service Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center. Once the Dayton bus tour cleared out, we had the place to ourselves.

Huffman Prairie was a cow pasture that Orville and Wilbur Wright were allowed to use to test fly their new heavier than air machines. I had never heard of it. I wonder if Huffy is related? We watched a movie on the trials and travails of the Wright Brothers as they figured out how to fly.

Bus tour folks

A nice little spot

Wright Brothers monument

From the Interpretive Center, we followed a map they gave us to find the actual field. The map was necessary because this doesn't appear a s a POI in my GPS. You run along the outskirts of Wright-Pat AFB,  past a golf course and a skeet range and down a single lane treed rode and there it is. A field. We could have taken a long walking tour in the hot sun but we looked at the field a decided that was enough.

The road to Huffman Prairie Flying Field

We're here

Walking tour?  No thanks.

It is a field

It was getting later so we headed back and found a Walmart near our motel. We picked up a few items we had forgotten yesterday and then went back to the Days Inn where I started pulling together four days of blogs and posting four days of bills. About 7:00, we put the big suitcases in the truck and hooked up the trailer. Then I went back to my chores until about 11:00 pm.
Sunset in Huber Heights

Finally, it was bedtime. Tasks all done. On to Murphysboro to see Willie and The Lovely Carlene tomorrow.

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