We pulled out of the Bowling Green Super 8 and headed for I-75s, a straight shot to Dayton and the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB outside of town. A quartet of artistically sculptured F-35-ish fighter jets greeted us at the entrance.
Since I was last here with my Betty back in 1975, the place had changed. It had gone from having most of the planes outside on the runways to currently occupying three huge hangers and one giant missile silo, containing, you know, the missile exhibit.
Here is a shot from that 1975 trip with me in the foreground and Joe Alston, my sister-in-law’s then boyfriend. The ’75 trip took us to 32 states, to Canada and to Mexico. That was fun.
But I’m back, now with a different Joe, and we are impressed by the new museum.
You start in the missile silo which was impressive. The black cones you see stacked behind me are each an independently targetable nuclear weapon way more powerful than the ones used in Japan in WWII. Each one. Scary stuff.
That whole “delivering death to millions from a safe distance” thing creeped me out a bit.
There were a lot of planes there. Just about everything you ever heard of.
A cutaway F-86 showing that it is pretty much six 20mm cannons mounted on a jet engine with a pilot and wings and stuff so you can get it to where you want to go.
A P-40 Warhawk, popularized by Gen. Chennault and his Flying Tigers.
Here is an assembled F-86, one of the sharpest looking planes ever made. All of these exhibit planes are claimed to be standard issue craft that served in active squadrons before ageing out and retiring here.
The F-86’s arch nemesis, the Mig-15. The Mig-15 brutalized our WWII era fighters and attack planes in Korea until the F-86 came online and took back the skies.
The P-51 Mustang, everyone’s favorite fighter from the propeller era.
A colorfully named B-24 Liberator.
And a Bell P-39 Aerocobra. One of my faves as I remember building a big model of one when I was about eleven. Note the driver’s side door.
Like I said, the have everything and by the time we finished the third hanger we were exhausted and our dogs were howling. It was getting late so we found a reasonable Comfort Inn in Miamisburg and called it a day.