|VF-24 - Future VADM James A. Winnefeld, Jr. (l) and Future Author Dave "Bio" Baranek (r) (Source)|
Yup, digressed there, didn't I?
Oh yes, the map...
Now Udvar-Hazy (as I call it) is an annex (or companion facility, if you will) of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. Now the one on the National Mall I visited a couple of years ago and which I was dragged out of by the female personnel of my tribe who (for some reason) did not want to spend many hours gazing at aircraft, rockets and sundry other aerospace vehicles. (Big sigh....)
By now you're probably wondering what that opening photo has to do with this post. My but you're an impatient lot, but I digress.
While departing the museum, Murphy's Law and I spotted the following chap, seated at a table selling books. Well, multiple copies of one book, said book's title catching my eye immediately -
DOGFIGHTING, CHEATING DEATH, AND HOLLYWOOD GLORY AS ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST FIGHTER JOCKS
by Dave "Bio" Baranek
|Dave "Bio" Baranek now (Source)|
So Murph and I head over to his book-laden table and start talking. Great guy. (He's a RIO. At first I misidentified him as an aviator. Then I noted the wings, two anchors, not one. Naval Flight Officer, hence a Radar Intercept Officer, or RIO. Now-a-days the Hornet and Rhino backseaters are called WSOs. I think I'm digressing again...)
Of course I bought the book.
Of course it is autographed.
|I love the "Includes more Top Gun movie secrets" bit on the cover.|
(Bio said that this was an update, so I guess this would be the Mark 1 Mod 1 version!)
He was a lot of fun to talk with. I asked him how he got his call sign. As his last name rhymes with "bionic", that's what they tagged him with. Then one day one of his pilots decided that "Bionic" was "just too damn long." So he became just "Bio."
When I'm done reading the book, I'll report on it here. (There are two ahead of this one in the queue. Can't skip to it, I'm in the middle of Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest trilogy. Surely you understand?)
Aircraft? What about aircraft? Oh yeah! Udvar-Hazy has a crap ton of aircraft. Every time I turned around it was "OMG, they've got one of those!" Seriously awesome museum. I must go back.
|P-40 and SR-71 near the main entrance.|
|Fishbed, Intruder and Phantom, Oh My!|
MiG-21F, A-6E & F-4S
(And an 01-A Bird Dog up high!)
|I loves me some Corsair!|
|One of the last wooden fighters|
|Old Adversaries Part I|
Kawanishi N1K2-Ja and P-47D
|This P-38 means BUSINESS!|
|A lovely bird, aircrews didn't like it!|
|An Old AF Sarge Favorite!|
P-61C Black Widow
|One of the best fighters of WWII, the Focke Wulf|
|I had no idea it was this tall!|
Do 335 A1 Pfeil
|Weird looking but deadly, thankfully few were built.|
Ar 235 B Blitz jet bomber
|Another Old AF Sarge Favorite and another night fighter|
First operational aircraft to include ejection seats. Seriously, look it up.
He 219 A Uhu
|I'm betting ORPO recognizes this bird!|
|Sigh. A relative of an old girlfriend. Kinda. Sorta|
(I worked the F-4C and F-4D.)
|Heh, I love the call signs!|
(You in there Old NFO?)
|I'll betcha a few of you recognize this warbird!|
The National Air and Space Museum's Tomcat (BuNo. 159610) was built as an F-14A-85-GR and was one of the few Tomcats that was modified as an F-14D(R) in the early 1990s. It is credited with one MiG kill which was earned on January 4, 1989, near the coast of Libya.
|First time I saw the Thunderbirds this was their bird.|
|Her Majesty, the Thud|
|Somebody call for a fighter?|
|An Army recruiter tried to convince me to fly this in 1973. 20-100 in one eye, my good eye. (20-200 in t'other!)|
|Now this bird is awesome in person!|
1049F Super Constellation
Boeing 307 Stratoliner
|The Westland Lysander Mk IIIA, another OAFS favorite.|
The RAF used it to drop agents behind enemy lines in WWII. Among other things...
I need to get back there again. Probably later this month! (Yup, going to Alexandria for New Years and a gathering of the tribe.)