Saturday, January 5, 2019

Udvar-Hazy Revisited


Whilst vacationing in the Virginia-Maryland area, our host thought it would be a fine idea to visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. What with him being a former Naval Flight Officer on the mighty Prowler (ECMO -Electronic Countermeasures Officer) who eventually transitioned to being a Naval Aviator (read pilot) flying F/A-18Cs, F/A-18Es, and then finally F/A-18Gs, aka the mighty Growler. (Logical given his previous experience in the Prowler, both being aircraft used for electronic warfare.) He, knowing that I was an aviation enthusiast suggested the trip. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Upon arrival he suggested going up in the observation tower, depicted above. I had seen this tower many times, but had no idea that one could actually go up in it.

"Why yes, yes, let's do that!" I offered.

But of course, first we had to see what was going on down on the display floor. There were a few changes since my last visit. One change is that at the entry way to the display area, there is no longer a P-51 to one's left. That red beauty has been displaced and there now is a P-40 on display. A beauty.


The Corsair is still to the right and the SR-71 still sits just below. I noted a few changes, many of which might be something I just missed before. Some of the aircraft have been shuffled around. I didn't see any new aircraft, but that's like expecting a little kid to notice something different in a candy store. There's a lot going on there...

No, I never get tired of this place.

Little kid in foreground, candy store in background.
I really do try to smile in selfies, but it always comes out as a bit of a smirk. And my friend The Florida Flyer always notes that I should smile more. I try, believe me.

Pretty good crowd there for the holidays.
I can't get enough Udvar-Hazy, I love that place...

Intruder
Connie
Stratoliner
The Last Gunfighter
The Mighty Tomcat
The Thoroughbred
The Hun
The nose section of Flak Bait is back at Udvar-Hazy.
Almost ready to be reassembled. Missing one engine still.
The He-219 fuselage (right) is "out back," perhaps to be reassembled?
Unsung hero of the Battle of Britain.
The Spitfire gets the glory, the Hurricane did the heavy lifting.
U.S. Navy JRS-1, this bird was at Pearl on the 7th of December 1941, she flew patrols in the aftermath of the attack.
Kingfisher, spotter for the big guns of the battlewagons.
Yes, the aircraft in the background is "kind of a big deal."
Fork tailed devil
Old Double Ugly Herself
The test pilot actually rolled this 707. Quite a feat, of course, she was quite an aircraft.
Son-of-a-Bitch Second Class
SB2C Helldiver
Sopwith Camel, I didn't see her last time I was there. A favorite of mine!
One of the outstanding fighters of the First World War
T-33, a lovely bird
Tante Ju in Lufthansa livery
Vietnam Stalwarts
Yes, we did go up in the Observation Tower, pretty nice view.






A great day spent with wonderful people. What more can a fellow ask from life?



68 comments:

  1. Great photos, and I've always thought the P-38 was one of the most striking aircraft of the period.

    Well done.

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    1. Agree on the P-38. Even more awesome in flight.

      Thanks John.

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    2. Yes, she is. And the pilots really liked that 2nd engine for the Med theater and in the Pacific.

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  2. Thanks for sharing those with us, Sarge. I can never get enough.

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  3. Ok, now that place looks VERY cool!! My one thought is (as I know nothing about aircraft) is how on earth do the folk that work there get the planes all grouped in together like that!! Some of those are literally under or over others, and you can still see both air craft!! I think I even see a parachute flyer (parasail?) in there above the one from Lufthansa...talk about variety!
    Can you imagine when something is donated the conversations that go on? Where will we put that!! lol.

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    1. Carefully....Very Carefully! :-)

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    2. Suz, there are big doors to get the aircraft in. I'm sure there is much shuffling when they get a new bird, or they want to rearrange.

      A must visit when in the DC area.

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    3. Juvat - I was looking at the cables suspending some of the aircraft, it struck me that none of the really big aircraft are suspended. Smart folks at the Smithsonian I think.

      But yeah, "carefully" covers it.

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    4. One of the cool features at Evergreen Museum in Oregon is they have the SR-71 and A-12 tucked under one of the wings of the Spruce Goose. That is a seriously big plane and you know how large the SR-71. It looks tiny tucked up in that space.

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  4. Just needed a oversized Snoopy in the seat of the SOP camel.

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  5. Ooooo............warbirds......lots and lots photos of.....warbirds.......a Kittyhawk...... The Beast......Black Widow......thanks Sarge. Can haz moar please?

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  6. Wow, that looks like my room when I was a kid. I saw part of a Thunderbolt (Francis Gabreski). I had 2 Lightnings hanging in a tight formation by the window (McGuire -the bestest, and Bong). My sister's leftover paint by numbers paint was perfect for camo on my aircraft. My Thunderchief paint scheme was very close to the one there.

    But those are the real McCoy!! Thanks Sarge!!

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    1. My ceiling had aircraft everywhere. A lot more "parked" on bureaus and bookshelves.

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  7. This was a good post! Thanks for sharing the day....

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  8. You were there on a great day, with sunshine streaming in to light the planes. Seems most of the times I've been there have been cloudy and overcast, when it can be dark inside almost to the point of funereal.

    L.J.

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    1. Yup, I was there on a cloudy day, needed a flash to get a good picture. Gets gloomy in that cavernous space.

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  9. Great photos of a great place. Thanks. One question: The photo labeled "Commando" has a four engine aircraft in PAA livery. I thought "Commando" referred to the C-46 (a two engine aircraft)? There is a 4 engine Commando?

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    1. I ran across this article about that aircraft a couple of days ago. "This Day in Aviation" has a lot of interesting trivia posts on it. It's a frequent stop of mine.

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    2. Cap'n - You're right. I was looking at photos of other aircraft and the C-46 got stuck in my head. The bird above is the Boeing 307 "Stratoliner." I fixed the caption. Thanks and good eye!

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    3. Juvat - I missed that one. The Udvar-Hazy 307 is a lovely aircraft, nicely restored.

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  10. I love that place! When I was commuting back and forth between Colorado and Chantilly, I would often stop in there on my way home from work. You mentioned the Sopwith Camel. I remember that the guns were timed with the engine such that it would fire when the propeller was safely out of the way.

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    1. After about 1915 (I think) most aircraft of the period had an "interrupter gear" which would prevent the guns firing through the propellor. Roland Garros (a French pilot) was the first to have a gun mounted to shoot through the propellor. He did it by installing steel plates on the propellor blades to deflect the occasional round hitting the prop. Didn't always work, and yes he did shoot himself down once by blowing his own prop off. Tony Fokker heard of this and came up with the idea of the interrupter gear.

      Tony was a clever Fokker.

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  11. Enjoyed every one. You do provide excellent photo coverage of all your museum visits. I remember from the Navy Yard a while back.

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    1. Thanks Dwight. Reminds me that I have unpublished photos from that visit to the Yard. Must remedy that some day.

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  12. Thanks for all the lovely photos of the aircraft. I am, unfortunately, unfamiliar with all of the aircraft in your photos so that I don't know them from your cryptic names/descriptions. To be clear, this is my lack, not yours.

    Also, I am with Captain Steve on the " Commando ".

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. I left it as an exercise to the reader to try and determine what was what.

      I fixed the caption under the Boeing 307 (not a Commando).

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    2. But the military version was Comanche.

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    3. I'd like to say "that's what I meant," but nope, I blew the call.

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  13. I had never heard of this museum before, though I do remember now hearing about the Smithsonian setting up an off-site display for some of the Air and Space Museum's acquisitions. I'll have to add it to my list.

    Growing up in Burbank in the '60s, I clearly remember the big beautiful Connies flying out of Lockheed to the north of my house.

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    1. I must see when in the area, Cap'n.

      Yeah, I love the Connie.

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    2. When we returned to the States, after my father's assignment in Italy, we flew in a Connie from the east coast ( either NYC or New Jersey, I don't remember which ) to L.A. As I recall, they ( Connies ) were also used as the platform for early airborne radar aircraft before the C-135s.

      Paul

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    3. You're right Paul, the EC-121.

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    4. That's the one with the funny tumor thing sticking out of the dorsal spine, right?

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  14. That's an A-6 Intruder not an EA-6B Prowler. Prowler's have 4 seats and two gold infused canopies.

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    1. Again, I had Prowlers on the brain. That is indeed an Intruder.

      Asleep at the wheel yesterday I guess. Fixed it, thanks Marc.

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  15. Interesting building. I was wondering what yahoo left perfectly good wings hanging around unskinned until I realized they were the bottoms of the catwalks. Nice design. And the roof is evocative of the old canvas and dope aircraft. Don't know if that was intentional, but if it was. then the designer done good. Otherwise, well, the designer done good.

    I didn't know we had an Arado Arrow. Neat plane, though a bit of a technological monster.

    Nice T-33. My dad liked flying them.

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    1. The building design itself is worth the visit.

      Of course, all those great aircraft kind of enhance the visit. ;)

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  16. One of my joys living across the river from DC in my early days was hopping on a bus in Arlington and within half hour or so visiting the ORIGINAL Smithsonian air museum. Before the current palace on Mall and Udvar-Hazy, historical aircraft were housed in a Quonset hut on Independence Avenue, behind the Smithsonian Castle. It was just older airplanes – and a record setting balloon gondola. It was a bit dusty and not very well lighted, but, for a small boy fascinated by aviation, inspiring to have near at hand.

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    1. Oh man! That sounds so cool.

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    2. Wow, before everthing that’s cool!

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    3. In the late 1950's, a few years before my father retired, we visited D.C. and I toured the air museum that the Smithsonian had at that time. I don't know if it is the same one to which TMan2 refers or not, but I think that it was after the Quonset hut. As I recall, it was on the Mall. I was in my mid-teens, so it was as great a thrill then as it would be now.

      Paul

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    4. The "main" facility of the Air & Space Museum is still on the Mall. Been there a couple of times.

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  17. On my bucket list.

    Some of those aircraft I've seen up close and personal at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, CA, and others I'd seen at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum on the base at Edwards AFB.

    I visited the Smithsonian in 1968 while in high-school, but Udvar-Hazy didn't exist then.

    Thanks for the view!

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  18. By the way, out here in Oregon, we have an air museum which has at least one aircraft that you will not see anywhere else.

    Paul

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    1. The only one of its kind. Seems fitting that the "Spruce Goose" should be at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

      Looks like a nice museum.

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    2. It is. Come out here and we can go to it together.

      Paul

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    3. There's always a possibility!

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    4. Oh, to be able to travel and see Howard's masterpiece.

      See? I do go back and read the comments! And sometimes I even comment on them!

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    5. It is an amazing museum!! An awesome museum!!!! Not only the Spruce Goose but you can crawl into the DC3 or the B17. It has a runway inside! I took my daughter when she was just about 4 and we all had a great time. They have little tiny wooden planes for the young to peddle around on. It's a hoot!

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  19. Great photos and sounds like you had a great time.

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  20. Very nicely presented, Sarge. Before Idvar Hazy was built, a lot of the planes that couldn't be displayed were housed at the Garber Restoration Facility in Suitland. I took a tour there in the early 90's, and it was awesome. The Enola Gay fuselage was being worked on then.. the tour guide was an old 8th Air Force vet, and he had some great stories. One in particular was about having a Luftwaffe FW-190 pilot in a tour group who was astonished that the museum has restored their example to his squadron's paint scheme.

    I love the pic of the 707 as well - I remember the story of the test pilot, Tex Johnson, after his (in)famous roll at the air show in Seattle, being confronted by the Boeing president who demanded to know what he thought he was doing. Tex replied simply, "selling airplanes, sir"

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    1. I have photos of that FW-190.

      Tex sold a lot of airplanes that day.

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  21. It appears, from their comments above, that drjim, HMS Defiant, and ( perhaps ) Captain Obvious are located on the correct coast ( that is to say, the West Coast [ as you know from your map reading classes ' East is least and West is best ' ]); maychance a group outing to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum could be arranged. If such an event were to eventuate, those of you who live in other parts would be most welcome to attend ( at least by me ).

    ( Wow! If I don't take first place for writing the most convoluted/stupid sentence in the above paragraph, I'll want to know why not. )

    Paul

    P.S.: Perhaps I should be barred from commenting at these hours of the day.

    PLQ

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    1. Actually HMS Defiant is nowhere near the West Coast, though he used to be. DAMHIK

      I don't know, I've seen more convoluted sentences, usually in assembly manuals for kid's bicycles made in China. At least your sentence made a modicum of sense. Not so those manuals I cite.

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  22. What a treat! I always liked the Air & Space Museum, but in my opinion, Udvar-Hazy has it beat. I cannot wait to go back!

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    1. I like both, but if I could only pick one? Yup, Udvar-Hazy, hands down.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)