Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Planes, Planes and more Planes

After a good nights sleep and breakfast we headed into Dayton to find the Air Force Museum and the Wright Brothers Memorial Park. We found both, walked many miles, and then headed south. We are now near Lexington KY.

Air Force Museum Building

The Air Force Museum is attached to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. It is 4 huge hangers similar to the Mini-Dome in Johnson City only much larger. It is divided into Early Years and WW I; then WW II; then Korean War; Vietnam Era; the Cold War; Space Age; and the final part covering Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Since I can't post any photos tonight I will just say we saw LOTS of planes. The most interesting were the WW II planes; the rescue choppers from Korea and Vietnam and the stealth planes. Ben found two planes of particular interest to him.

Mock-ups of the Atomic Bombs dropped on Japan to end WW II were interesting - I had imagined them much larger.

Fat Man

Little Boy

 When we lived in the Philippines during the Vietnam Era Ben was transferred from the Manila Office to the  Subic Bay Office; but there was no base housing available for us for several months. Ben was a civilian engineer working for the US Navy Officer in Charge of Construction.  For three months he flew back and forth from Manila to Subic Bay in a Cessna SkyMaster - there was one on exhibit!  Ben said it was really a great commute.  I only remember it was terrible not knowing if he was there or on his way - The communication was poor and often someone would come drive to our house to say Ben won't be home tonight - bad weather!

Skymaster Commuter Plane

He also learned to fly while we were at Subic Bay - he learned in a P-34 at the Cubi Point Air Station. He said - ah there is a P-34!
P 34 - One Ben learned in was Navy!

One entire hanger is dedicated to Presidential aircraft and a tour of Air Force One is normally available. However due to sequestration this gallery is closed at this time....appropriate I guess.that this is what they close. We enjoyed the exhibits but did not feel they were as good as the ones at the NavAir Museum in Pensacola FL.

We ate lunch in the Cafe - finished the Galleries and headed about 3 miles to the National Park Service Wright Memorial.  This was the very beginnings of flight. The film was one of the best we have seen at National Parks. It traced the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright's development of the first practical flying machine. Impressive their dedication and persistence in trials, successes, and failures. Having no scientific training at all it is amazing what they accomplished. They invented many other things as well and in another part of Dayton is their bicycle shop.  Having been to the Kitty Hawk park a number of times, I really did not recall the relationship to Dayton.  Their first flight was at Kitty Hawk but the several years of experiments and trials and 39 minutes flight and manuvering that proved their successful practical flight was here at the Huffman Field several years later.

Model of Wright Brothers Plane

About 3 PM we headed down I 75 heading home - we stopped just north of Lexington KY at about 5:30 which will mean we are home middle of the day tomorrow.  Dinner was at Cracker Barrel.  Horror of horrors - they have taken molasses off their menu!  What is a southern biscuit without molasses asks Ben?

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