Crazy for Udvar-Hazy!

I freaked. Then I geeked.

I mean, you walk through the entry and the first thing you see is this (click for major geek out):

The SR-71 Blackbird. The fastest aircraft ever built. Just look at it! Speedy, sexy, awesome. My photos don’t do it justice. Oh and PS, that’s the prototype Space Shuttle back there. You remember The Enterprise, right? Built in the 70’s for approach and landing tests, NASA wanted to name it “Constitution” but Star Trek fans began a write-in campaign to Gerald Ford get the name changed to “Enterprise” and President Ford made it so. (You don’t f*** with Star Trek fans when they start writing in.)

But let’s look at the Blackbird from another angle, shall we?

Part of the description on the Wikipedia entry says: “if a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was to simply accelerate.” I love that.

More Udvar-Hazy after the jump…

Click all for bigger images.

After my initial geeky/freaky, I spent time with the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress.
She dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima. I think this was made more poignant for me since I had just recently watched the documentary called “White Light, Black Rain” on HBO. The airplane is a symbol for the destruction and I was very moved being near her and the world history she represents.

She’s compelling and I couldn’t stop looking at her and taking photos.

Beyond the Enola Gay were more modern aircraft. A Boeing 707, which revolutionized the airline industry, and behind that, a Concorde from Air France. Did anyone reading this ever fly on the Concorde? Please tell if you did, I’m curious to hear what it was like.

There were more war planes:

And sport planes. This is the second Lear Jet ever built. (I took this photo for Jacquie.)

And of course, more space artifacts. The Enterprise is huge, but then it seems not so big when you are walking around it for a while. But in comparison to the Spam In A Can type spacecraft from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, it’s ginormous. (Click to see the size comparison.)
They had computers from the space-race age on display as well. What a hoot.

I took a lot of photos and can’t load them all here. These were some of my highlights. I LOVED going this museum and I really recommend a trip out there if you have even the slightest interest in air and space craft.

The location itself is beautiful:

And best of all, when you are arriving or departing the NASM, you are under the flight path for one of Dulles’ runways.


1 Comment so far

  1. Radman (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

    thanks for a rainiy day trip idea. i love this stuff. did you catch an imax movie when u were there?

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