Washington, D.C. – May 29, 2009
As a pilot (although not current), I cannot miss an opportunity to visit this wonderful museum. I am a “museum person” anyway, but this is one that I can walk through on multiple visits and spend hours and hours each time. Each time I enter, I feel somewhat like a kid in a candy store. Since Leslie, Hillary, Tyler, and I were finally reunited after being apart for some 60-days, I thought today was the perfect day to visit the museum.
By far, my favorite airplane is the Beechcraft C17L Staggerwing. If I had been a pilot back in the day, that is exactly the plane I would have wanted to own. Today, I am not sure I could come close to affording one.
The yellow Staggerwing on display in the museum is a beautiful plane. Even though it is stationary, it looks like it is nearing Mach 1. The best place I have ever found to admire many of these “birds” at one time is the Fly-In that occurs at Oshkosh, Wisconsin each year.
But in addition to my favorite, there are many other planes at the museum from which to choose. The history that is housed in this museum is incredible to me. Since I am an aviation buff, I have actually been able to see several of the planes on display in the air. Additionally, I have actually been able to help clean some of the World War II type aircraft when I volunteered at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas in the late 1990s.
The orange Bell X1 that is hanging in the museum is full of history. This was the plane piloted by Chuck Yeager that broke the sound barrier in 1947. It was instrumental in getting us to where we are today in aviation. That aircraft is facing off against the North American X15, which is the plane that helped us get men into space ultimately. Right there as well is the SpaceShipOne, the aircraft that won the $10,000,000 prize as being the first private craft to fly into space.
In my mind, this is a must-see for anyone that will be in the Washington, DC area.