On Sunday, May 30th a small group of us ventured
to the new Smithsonian Air & Space Museum near Dulles Airport in
northern Virginia. While not much of an off-road event, the few of us
who did venture out to this managed to have a good time. I’m sorry
more folks weren’t able to attend.
The new museum is the Udvar-Hazey Center just opened in December 2003
and is a 750,000 sq ft hanger packed full of flying machines that the
Smithsonian has never had room to display in the past.
On display are planes such as the Enola Gay, the B52 which dropped the
atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the SR71 “Blackbird” reconnaissance
aircraft which is still the highest and fastest flying aircraft to this
day even though it was designed in the late 1950's. This particular aircraft
on display in the museum set the world record for fastest flight when
it was being flown from Beale Air Force base in California to Washington
DC to be donated for the museum. Also on display were the Space Shuttle
- Enterprise, a recently donated Air France Concorde, and numerous fighter
planes from WWII to present.
Of particular interest to some of the ROVER gearheads was the aircraft
engine display which had airplane engines from the early 1900's to modern
gas turbines. Some of the 12 and 16 cylinder engines used in fighter
aircraft were impressive to say the least. There were several discussions
as to how one could stuff a 6 foot long x 5 foot tall engine in one’s
Other attractions were the aircraft flight simulators you could take
the kids into (my son enjoyed that as did I!), an Imax movie theater
which we did not have time to attend (maybe next time), a huge gift store
to separate you from your hard earned cash if Rover ownership has left
you any, as well as a Subway sandwich shop which Tom Bache enjoyed immensely
After spending about 5 hours wandering the center, we were all pretty
pooped, and frankly had not thoroughly covered all the ground there was.
I’m certain that I’ll be back again sometime soon.
Thanks again for those that were able to make the trip to attend.