Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dayton, Ohio

There is much to see in the Dayton area. What a decision! The Aviation Trail has more than 30 sites open to the public to show the areas unique aviation heritage.
If you are going to the area check out aviationtrailinc.org on line.

National Museum of the United States Air Force

This is an awesome place. It is huge! It is free! It is full of history! We were there all day and did not even see three of the 5 buildings and one of them we practically ran through! It is located next to Wright-Patterson AFB. Easy to get to and plenty of parking space. There is no way we can tell you everything we saw so will give you some highlights and unusual items we discovered.

Imax Theatre:
There is a charge to see any of the four films shown daily. We watched Space Station. Seven Space Shuttle crews and two resident station crews transform the International Space Station into a permanently inhabited scientific research station. What views of earth! What challenges!

Early Years Gallery:
This section starts with the earliest days of military aviation, starting with the Wright Brothers and continuing through the Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War I, research and development in the l930's and the the US preparation for World War II.

The first airplane, built by Wright Brothers, actually used bicycle like chain and sprockets powered by a motor.

The first monoplane pilots were put in a plane with "clipped" wings, it could not actually "take off". They had to learn to control the rudder by bouncing across the air field. Once they could do a straight course they were given a plane with wings that could fly!

Editorial cartoons were criticizing Congress for not spending money on airplanes. One of them had a picture of an eagle without any wing feathers!

The pilots in the first high altitude flights of 4,167 feet were exposed to extreme cold. One newspaper article stated that it "was strength of will that saved the aviator from being dashed to earth. He steps into the rank of experts and adds to his days total of 12 flights."

WWI airplanes were built in Dayton, Ohio.

Because of lack of combat airplanes, American flying cadets had only primary flight instruction in the US & Canada. They were flown or shipped to England to get advanced instruction before flying in combat.

To meet the overwhelming expansion schedule for the aviation sector in WWI, 27,000 officers and men were assigned to Spruce Division. They worked in forests and lumber mills to supply sufficient wood for building planes. Castor Oil was needed for lubrication. 100,000 acres in southern US was planted with Castor beans.

The pilots flew in open cockpits. To provide them with sufficient protective clothes 450,000 Nuchwang dog skins were purchased from China.

Planes from other countries are also displayed! A Fokker D.VII German Fighter plane like the real Red Baron, Baron Monfred von Richthofen, flew was hanging above us. It actually had superior flying performance over the Allied fighter planes.

Original Google Earth----airplanes with holes cut in bottom and cameras mounted inside. First camera used one vertical and four oblique lenses to take surveillance pictures. To take night pictures a magnesium bomb was dropped with the camera synchronized to take a picture when it flashed! Because that was too dangerous in WWII they switched to strobe lights.

Presidential Gallery

We took a bus ride into the old Wright Field flight line on the AFB to walk through the hanger with the collection of 9 Presidential aircraft and the Research/Development experimental aircraft collection.

The picture was taken on President Eisenhower's,VC-121E, named Columbine III. Note the size of the hangar. You can walk around and under the planes, too!
The planes are set up for you to

enter the front door behind the cockpit
and walk through the plane viewing it from the aisle and exit at the rear of the plane. Each one has a communication center for the President, areas for the press, seats at the front and back door for secret service and a private area for the President.

President Roosevelt's, C-54C, called "Sacred Cow", had an elevator in the rear to accommodate his wheel chair.

"Air Force One", a VC-137C, known as SAM(Special Air Mission)2600 is the Boeing 707 that flew President Kennedy's body back to Washington D.C. from Dallas. It was the site of President Lyndon Johnson's swearing in. It also served every president from Kennedy to Clinton.

President Truman's, "Independence" is also in this hangar.

The Research/Development/Flight Test Gallery

The Tacit Blue was built in 1996 to demonstrate that a low observable surveillance aircraft with low probability of intercept by radar could operate close to the forward line of battle. This was the beginning of the stealth technology advances.

The Chance Vought XC-142A built in 1964 looked like a helicopter with wings. It could hoover or pivot the wings to take off vertically!

Air Power Gallery

All the heroism and drama of World War II air power is in this hangar's exhibits and memorabilia. Planes from other countries are a part of this exhibit.

Walt Disney Studio Artists drew insignias for WWII military units. Walt Disney said,"The insigna meant a lot to the men who were flying. I had to do it.....I owed it to them."

The Dutch acquired more land by pumping the water from various sections of the Zuider Zee, a former shallow inlet of the North Sea. After pumping a sector dry, they often discover the remains of aircraft which crashed into water during WWII.These artifacts were donated to the USAF by the Royal Netherland AF.

In September l942, Glenn Miller, one of America's greatest dance band leaders of the period, disbanded his orchestra so he could join the Army Air Force. Within a year he organized and perfected a group of dance band musicians into the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band! Next to letters from home the band was a great morale builder for the troops as it made appearances anywhere that US servicemen were stationed as well as doing radio broadcasts.

Bob Hope had an area displaying his visits to the troops, also.

Prejudice and Memory/A Holocaust Exhibit

A hallway between the buildings contained a replica of a ghetto with pictures and stories of what took place during the Nazi persecution. Even some US military personnel were confined to POW camps and sent to concentration camps. Stories of how the survivors have lived their lives is inspiring. Could I have experienced those horrors and learned to live a purposeful life? That is what the Lord can do when we put our trust in Him!

One wall has a time-line from 1900 to 1950 showing events in the world during that time. It was interesting to see that Germany was going through an economic depression in the 1930's at the same time that it was experienced in America. This was the time that Hitler started to rise in power. (A lesson for today???) During the time of the holocaust black people in America were suffering from lack of civil rights.

B-36J Bomber

After an announcement that the museum would close in an hour Papa Jim went to the information desk to find out where the B-36 Bomber was located. They graciously gave us a map with directions so we could walk directly to it.

He remembers hearing this plane fly over their farm when he was young. It was the first intercontinental bomber. Began flying in 1947 and continued through the 1950's. It is no wonder he could hear it! It is powered by six 3,800 HP Pratt & Whitney radial piston engines and four 5,200# thrust General Electric turbojets. It has a maximum speed of 411 mph at 36,400 ft!

World War II Tower/Nissen Hut/Air Park

After the Museum closed we drove to an area that had several planes parked outside beside a reproduction of a WWII Control Tower that was used by the USAF in England.
A simple brick & tin structure called a Nissen Hut was used by the USAF to house the pilots in England. Despite being muddy, leaky & cold they were cheap and wuickly built as well as versitile. It was closed, but we could look at the planes.

One of them was a German Fokker tri-plane that looked like it was made out of corrugated metal!

Snoopy Nose

During the early 1960s, NASA and the Department of Defense needed a mobile tracking and telemetry platform to support the Apollo space program and other unmanned space flight operations. In a joint project, NASA and the Do
During the early 1960s, NASA and the Department of Defense needed a mobile tracking and telemetry platform to support the Apollo space program and other unmanned space flight operations. In a joint project, NASA and the DoD contracted with the McDonnell Douglas and the Bendix Corporations to modify eight Boeing C-135 Stratolifter cargo aircraft into Apollo/Range Instrumentation Aircraft. Equipped with a steerable seven-foot antenna dish in its distinctive “Droop Snoot” or “Snoopy Nose,” the EC-135N A/RIA became operational in January 1968. The Air Force Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., maintained and operated the A/RIA until the end of the Apollo program in 1972 when the USAF renamed it the Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft.

Transferred to the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in December 1975 as part of an overall consolidation of large test and evaluation aircraft, the ARIA fleet underwent numerous conversions.

In 1994 the ARIA fleet relocated to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as part of the 412th Test Wing; however, taskings for the ARIA dwindled because of high costs and improved satellite technology, and the USAF transferred the aircraft to other programs such as J-STARS (Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System).

On Nov. 3, 2000, a flight crew from the Air Force Flight Test Center delivered the last EC-135E (serial number 60-374, nicknamed “The Bird of Prey”) to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Over its 32-year career, the ARIA supported the U.S. space program, gathered telemetry, verified international treaties and supported cruise missile and ballistic missile defense tests.

This was a FULL day of INPUT!

See you along the way,
Prairie Schooners

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