Monday, June 17, 2019

Pretty Sky Day at the Smithsonian's Udvar Hazy Center National Air and Space Museum

This past Saturday, June 15, was the annual Innovations in Flight Day at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum.
 For those who are not local the Udvar-Hazy Center is unusual for a Smithsonian Museum in that it is not located in central Washington DC but rather it is on the southern edge of Dulles International Airport in Chantilly VA. It is an amazing place chock full of real full-sized pieces of aviation history.
 Once a year they have this event which is sponsored by United Airlines. United brought in a 767-400 which was open for a walk-through creating the longest line of visitors on the day.
 The choice piece of equipment on display however was this F-22 Raptor  belonging to the United States Air Force. It was not available for walk-throughs (can you imagine why?) and was kept behind a barrier and heavily guarded. Anyone know how the pilot gets into the cockpit?
 In addition to a wide variety of aircraft there was also a small number of vintage road vehicles. These two are owned by the Freedom Museum in Manassas and represented the Korean War era (note the appropriate 48 star flag)
 The Freedom Museum also brings this nose cone from a B-25 Bomber built at the end of WWII on tour to bring living history to the local community. Featured in the movie "Forever Young" starring Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis I had a chuckle at the symbols for what it had taken out...
 The United States Marine Corps flew in one of their V-22 Osprey's - a fascinating aircraft that has vertical takeoff and landing ability and is used for troop movement into tight locations.
 This 1939 Woody got my eye as it had been the subject of a superb restoration. The Lincoln Zephyr (Ford) had an amazing paint job on it that was very appropriate for the times.
 And here is something owned by folk with a great sense of humor (zoom in to see the uber sign front center of the windscreen).The 1911 Stanley Steam car #5217 model 63 was the subject of a three year accurate restoration completed in 2014 by the renown Alan Kelso.
 But getting back to the aircraft...the United Sates Airforce also flew in this C-17 which was also popular for walk through tours. Check out the sky - isn't it amazing?
 Visitors were treated to a display by the US Airforce Drill Team who performed against the backdrop of the Raptor.
 After the display the members were available to pose for photographs and answer questions. I had an interesting chat with the fellow 2nd from right and asked about the insignia on their neckscarves (plain navy means they are newer members of the team while the crossed rifles of the front airman signifies that he is one of the top four on the drill team).
 The US Customs and Border Protection department brought along this P - 3 Orion which features the airborne early warning system.
To round out our day we retreated back inside to visit the James S. McDonnell Space Hanger which features the Space Shuttle Discovery.

All in all, this is one of the most fascinating of the Smithsonian's museums and well worth the visit if you are anywhere in the vicinity. Special days like this past Saturday's Innovation in Flight day bring an added level of enjoyment to a visit. However a regular daytrip allows for a much more leisurely look at a plethora of aircraft all hanging out waiting for you. Want to see an AirFrance Concorde? The Enola Gay? SR-71 Blackbird? There's so many amazing sights to see there.

1 comment:

  1. One of the last sites we went to with my mother and father before we left the area - I think we all enjoyed it very much, even without the Special Events you documented in photos - thanks for that Dorry!


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