National Museum of the Air Force – a Must See!

Posted by on July 13, 2017

Tuesday seems to have turned into our grocery shopping and movie watching day and this week was no different…except we watched TWO movies this week!

First we watched 47 Meters Down and even though I watched a good portion of it from behind my shirt it was a really good movie.  While only rated 5.9 on IMDB we both really enjoyed it as it kept us interested the entire time which can be a rarity at some movies.

We had about 40 minutes or so between movies which gave us time to use the restroom, freshen up or drinks and relax a bit before our second movie, Baby Driver, started.  While some might find 47 Meters Down a bit on the cheesy side, Baby Driver was a great drama/action packed movie that we’d highly recommend.  It’s rated 8.3 on IMDB and well worth it.

We made a quick stop at the commissary for a few items and then it was home to enjoy some Klements brats (Yum!) that’d we picked up while in Wisconsin (can’t get ’em anywhere else!) and a chopped salad with pears, craisins, feta cheese and a bunch of other goodness.

A must visit while in the Dayton area!

Wednesday was an all day excursion to the National Museum of the Air Force.  We were there last week for several hours as we took the ‘Behind the Scenes Renovation Tour’ but we knew that we’d have to come back another day to visit the museum itself.

This visit took us nearly eight hours and we really could have taken at least another half day to full day if we really wanted to take our time and see everything.

See the resemblance to everyone’s favorite Beagle?

We started the day by visiting the outside displays and exhibits before it got too hot and humid.   There are several airplanes outside and one of them had caught my eye each time we’d gone by it so I wanted to find out what it was as it had the funkiest ‘nose’ of any plane I’d ever seen.  It turned out to be a EC-135, also known as a ‘Snoopy Nose’.

WWII Quonset hut brought over from England

There are also a couple of buildings outside that you can enter.  Each building has a couple of volunteers stationed in them who can provide information about the buildings and what their purpose was.

Part of the propeller of one of the Wright Brothers planes that crashed killing the passenger and wounding Orville.

After touring outside we began our inside tour.  We started in building 1, which houses aircraft and memorabilia from the early years (Wright Brothers etc) and World War II.  It was very interesting to watch the progression of the airplane from the simple machine the Wright Brothers created to the more sophisticated machines.

The Valkyrie Cafe

After finishing up with the first building we decided to grab some lunch at the Valkyrie Cafe on the second floor.  The cafe isn’t anything special…pre-made salads, soup, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, personal pizzas and chips etc all done cafeteria style.  It was good enough to fill our tummies and get us through the upcoming buildings.

Soviet MiG-17

The second building is dedicated to the Korean War and the Southeast Asia War (Vietnam) and took less time to wander through as the planes got bigger and there weren’t quite as many small exhibits as there was in the first building.

This plane was displayed with part of its skin removed so you can see all of the ‘stuff’ inside.

Building three is where you’ll find anything related to the Cold War or current Air Force Operations. Michael found a lot of familiar aircraft in this building – B2 Stealth Bomber, the Nighthawk, etc.

We took a short break after finishing the third building and got something to drink in the Refueling Cafe. You can find drinks, snacks, salads, hot dogs and small pizza’s here if you need to ‘refuel’ before the end of the day.

2Ps in front of Kennedy’s Air Force One

The fourth buildings biggest highlight is the Presidential planes used by Truman, Eisenhower, FDR and Kennedy.  The Air Force One that flew President & Mrs Kennedy to Dallas and then took his remains home after he was assassinated is on display and open to walk through.

Gemini B, on loan from the Smithsonian

Also in this building are several aircraft used in space as well as experimental aircraft such as the XB-70 Valkyrie which could fly at three times the speed of sound.

We walked out of the museum at closing time (5:00 pm) to 99 degree temps, having walked well over 10,000 steps each, extremely satisfied with our visit and also quite weary.

Old Hickory BBQ

For dinner we decided to try a place that was recommended by one of our friends…although it turns out it wasn’t the place that he recommended as that place no longer seems to exist.  Whoopsie!

Not bad, not bad at all

Old Hickory BBQ was less that three miles from the museum so it was convenient anyway.  They happened to have a Wednesday special for $10 which got you a pound of ribs, 2 sides and a dinner roll. Not a bad deal so that’s what we both ordered.

While it wasn’t quite the same as Texas BBQ and the meat didn’t fall of the bone it was actually pretty darn good and definitely someplace we go again on a Wednesday.


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