A visit to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, is the closest you’ll come to time travel (without a Back to the Future modified Delorean) as you move from the Wright brothers’ legacy to present day stealth technology.
Our visit took us from the Early Years Gallery, starting with the Wright brothers’ vision of flight through World War I aircraft, to the World War II Gallery and the Korean and Vietnam Galleries, landing us in the Cold War Gallery, which houses the world’s only permanent public display of a B-2 stealth bomber.
This blast from the past culminated in the Missile and Space Gallery, a silo-like, 140-foot high structure that serves as a final resting place for Titan missiles and Apollo, Mercury and Gemini command modules and capsules. No Buzz Lightyear here.
Back Down to Earth
Like the two theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy the exhibits entitled, Prejudice and Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit and Bob Hope: 50 Years of Hope, ground visitors with a reminder of the losses endured and the hope retained and at times, laughter shared during times of war.
As Bob Hope used to say – thanks for the memories. And preserving the memories as well as these massive historic vehicles is no small feat. The restoration division of the museum relies on the talents of volunteers, whose skills range from machine and woodworking expertise to craftsmanship in sheet metal and painting. Their knowledge of aircraft spans years of technology – from World War I fabric covered aircraft to the elite fighters of today’s Air Force.
The Memphis Belle is one of their more recent restoration projects. A B-17F Flying Fortress, the Memphis Belle is one of the museum’s most famous aircraft, with its bomber crews having flown 25 missions against Nazi Germany in WWII. Visit the link below for a slide show of the restoration in progress.
Memphis Belle Restoration
For Museum Hours and Info visit the National Museum of the USAF.
Post written by Pamela J. Willits.