Tucson: Pima Air and Space Museum
|A former Air Force One - Used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.|
I think I have blogged here a couple of times about my lifelong interest in aviation. I particularly like military aircraft because they lead technology in the same way that race cars lead technology for more practical cars. They also have unique niche capabilities compared to civilian aviation, which almost entirely are used for transportation of people or stuff. Military aircraft often do other things that are task oriented and not simply transportation. There is also the dark thrill of warfare.
I've been to a few air and space museums over the years, but for viewing examples of airframes, I've never seen so many types in one place. I actually didn't allow myself enough time to view every aircraft, and forgot to bring a hat, so now I have a sunburn on my scalp (I have a fair complexion and burn easily). Perhaps I'll go back someday and complete the visit. They also offer guided tours of the aircraft "boneyard" during non-pandemic times. The boneyard is where the United States military stores "mothballed" airframes as spares, or for the event of a dire need of more military aircraft, as in a major war. The dry desert of southern Arizona is a nearly perfect place for long term storage of mostly-metal aircraft.
Since my time was slightly limited, I made sure to see the precise airframe examples that interested me most. This basically meant fighter aircraft and bombers. I didn't spend much time on transports and none on helicopters. Since I've been to airshows before, and viewed many static displays, I've seen many of the types elsewhere anyway. Once, a long time ago, I actually rode in a KC-135 air tanker.
Below are some of my favorites from the museum.
|The O-2A. I used to have the Matchbox version of this and played happily for hours with it. The pusher propeller on the back is not visible here.|