Tucson – May 2023 – Pima Air & Space Museum Abstract Airplanes

A revisit to the Pima Air & Space Museum with a new lens resulted in different views than the standard ‘documentation’ looks. The goal is to see the abstract art in the airplanes, rather than just a profile photo.

Note the reflection of the DC-10 sitting next to this De Havilland Australia DHA-3 Drover.

The coverings on the windows to protect the interiors from the sun gives this aircraft a ghostly look.

A plane that will never fly again looks longingly at the contrail of the passing flight.

The missing engines makes it look like it now has giant mouse ears.

The wide open mouth of this fighter airplane with red lipstick on it’s lips.

A long grounded TWA Constellation, continuing to fade in the sun.

The United States of America collection.

Two aircraft with widely different noses.

The rear view collection.

The pilot tube is the focus of this photo.

The nose collection.

Tucson – January 2023 – Boneyard Safari

There is a group of aviation enthusiasts that have an organization called the Boneyard Safari, some of whom are located in Tucson. On a monthly basis they offer tours of a facility known as Aircraft Restoration and Marketing. This facility is located next to, but definitely not part of, the famed Davis Monthan Air Force Base boneyard.

The tour started early on a cold Saturday morning. Our docent Ramon lead us around the facility where most of the aircraft are not in flying condition, but this was expected.

With the early start we were there as the sun rose providing interesting lighting.

We wandered around some old Boeing 727, C130s, DC3 and others.

Many weren’t even complete aircraft anymore.

They will sell any part of an airplane to anyone with the money. This included some company that makes luggage tags out of old airplane skins, hence the plethora of small rectangular cutouts on the fuselage.

This cross section clearly shows the makeup of the tube that is an aircraft.

What happens to the cockpit of a 747 that sits in the desert for years? It becomes home to a bunch of weeds (and likely pack rats, snakes and other critters)

More pieces/parts.

A poor effort to mask the tail number.

In addition to the aircraft there were other varied and sundry items around the facility.

A few more looks at the aircraft. While Ramon was an excellent docent, and it was amusing walking around the boneyard, the cost seemed excessive for what was there (compared to the numerous other types of events like this I have attended).

If you are really into aircraft, or quirky photography, this could be an event for you.

Tullahoma, Tennessee – May 2019 – Beechcraft Aircraft Heritage Museum

The small city of Tullahoma, Tennessee has had a long association with flight, as it is located next to Arnold Air Force Base – where many engineers evaluate aircraft and other military apparatus for flight.

As a result of their passion for flight, they have a museum dedicated to Beechcraft Aircraft, despite the fact the planes themselves are built in Wichita, Kansas.

The lighting of the walkway to the museum is made to look like runway lights.

Inside you find 36 aircraft in a number of hangars. The most famed early Beechcraft airplanes are known as staggerwings – as their biplane wings are slightly offset from each other.

These airplanes are quite rare, but the museum has a nice collection of them.

This airplane is known as Serial Number 1 – Travel Air Mystery Ship.

The next hangar have some Twin Beechs in addition to the biplanes.

The final hangar was the largest, with a great collection of single engine aircraft.

Also included in the collection is a cutaway to show the frame of the aircraft.

They are beautiful little airplanes.

The final stop on our tour of their museum was an all composite Beechcraft Model 2000A Starship. This unusually shaped airplane was one of the first carbon fiber frames, as well as rear facing engines and propellers.

The Beechcraft Heritage Museum is a nice stop for any aviation enthusiasts.

Dayton – December 2018 – Cool and Quirky Airplanes

With family in town that has a strong interest in aviation, a day long visit to the Air Force Museum in Dayton was called for. For this visit I focused on the cool and quirky aircraft (and spacecraft).

We start with the horizontal stabilizer of Douglas VC-54C Skymaster with the name of ‘Sacred Cow’. It was the first presidential plane, serving FDR.

The Lockheed VC-140B JetStar was the first business jet produced in quantity for the civilian market.

Because of it’s smaller size it was sometimes referred to as Air Force One Half.

A view from the outside of the cockpit of the Independence.

Another look at the Sacred Cow. While it was state of the art, from this angle it looks like there were 100 pieces of aluminum cobbled together.

Not alien, just not useful.

Early Stealth – the Northrup Tacit Blue. While it was stealthy, it apparently was aerodynamically unstable.

Much of the day was spent checking out the quirky noses on many of the planes.

North American X-15A-2. One bad airplane – Built to fly high and fast it made 199 flights starting in 1959, and it speeds of 4520 MPH!

It was the world’s first piloted aircraft to reach hypersonic speeds, and allow the pilots to earn astronaut wings flying as high as 67 miles above the earth.

But then – they made spacecraft! A Gemini and Apollo.

Back to the quirky noses.

We always go through the museum ‘backwards’ – going straight to Hangar 4 for the Presidential aircraft and working our way to the front for the early flight.

Nothing better than a piston engine aircraft.