Sat, Jan 28 2006 - Trip to the NASM Udvar-Hazy Center (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Chuck Hildenbrand, John Putman, Jackie Maffei, Ali Badii, Kimberly Engle, Tom Reichelderfer, John Fogle, Beverly Hoeftman, Gene Young, Jennifer Hansen, Ruwan Alwis, Leo Seung, Jeffrey Staggs, Amy Hatfield, Parva Fattahi, Ian Wright, Patti Beahan, Drew Compston, Leslie Jenkins, Brandy McCarthy, Jason McCarthy|
Considering the time of year, Saturday’s weather was almost too nice for an indoor event. But no one regretted our visit to the Udvar-Hazy annex of the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. While it’s true that at least a couple of MOCers in Saturday’s group work in the space/aeronautics field, the museum has broad appeal and was enjoyed by everyone who attended.
The exhibits are self-guided for those who wish, but our group opted to start off on a tour with one of the volunteer guides. This gentleman, whose enthusiasm clearly showed, turned out to be an amazing source of both technical knowledge and history. He started off with one of the museum’s showpieces: a Cold War era SR-71 “Blackbird” reconnaissance plane. From there we were next shown and told about several military aircraft of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War vintage. These included the actual B-29 “Enola Gay”, which dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945. Next we moved on to the Space Hanger ...for some of us this was our favorite area! Here reside many fascinating space-related exhibits ranging from Russian space rations all the way up to the original Space Shuttle test vehicle: the Enterprise itself!
As we progressed it became clear that we MOCers would wear out much sooner than our chatty, if informative, guide. This seemed a good time to break for lunch. The good news was that we could all sit for a while. The bad news was that the sole food concessionaire on site is a McDonald’s, and their prices were consequently higher than usual. Shortly after eating some called it a day and headed for home, while others among us continued our tour, this time sans guide. We were able to check out the museum’s displays of civil aircraft, including a Concorde SST. Then …well, some of us just couldn’t resist a second visit to the Space Hanger. The museum also has an IMAX theater for playing special themed films. As this costs an additional fee, we took a pass this time. Besides, there’s only so much you can do in one visit. The museum is continually adding to its collection, so future visits are likely to reward repeat visitors with something new!
-- John Fogle (attendee)
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