I recently visited the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. I try to visit every year or two. It’s my favorite museum because of the content for sure and because it’s convenient. For me, it’s about a 15 or 20-minute drive with plenty of signage, so you can’t get lost.
This trip, I was particularly excited because the Columbia exhibit was open. Up close, you could see the “space miles” on the shuttle. Several of the bottom tiles were inky black, obviously newer repairs. Much of the underside was shades of gray, not black, showing the effects of reentry.
Under the tail, I looked up, and wasn’t that far above me. My wife asked if I could touch it. If I jumped…
If I jumped, I’m sure that, before I landed, Security would have tasered me. After that, we could’ve had lots of new experiences like jail, bail, court dates, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t try, but I’m sure I could’ve touched it.
The Restoration Room was open.
This was my first time seeing it.
It was a huge space with different projects underway.
In one spot, a plane that could land and take off from water was being worked on.
In another, a WWII Corsair (prominently shown in Robert Conrad’s TV series, Baa Baa Black Sheep
) was being restored.
One other exhibit that I noticed for the first time was a plane that reminded me of the Beechcraft airplane that Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett, and Jim Backus flew halfway through It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. I chuckled when I saw it.
Overall, I had a fun afternoon. It seems that every time I go, I see something new, something unexpected. I highly recommend that everyone visit it at least once.
I’m interested in many things, from Mars to space travel, music to books, movies to creating my own stories. My sci-fi novel, The Music of Mars, is available now.