spent a very cold night at Elephant Butte, NM at an elevation of
about 4200 feet. From New Mexico, we traveled through
Hatch, NM and then followed I-10 west to Tucson to stay with my
sister-in-law for Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, we headed to
the Pima Air and Space Museum (PASM). Kathleen and I had
been there many years ago, but since then the museum has grown
tremendously. Now, the museum has huge indoor exhibits as
well as the historical outdoor exhibits. In sheer size and
aircraft count, the PASM rivals the National Air and Space
Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. In the end,
we were overcome by the clock as Thanksgiving preparations
preempted the museum. We missed 5 full hangars of
aircraft, but did have time to do a fast walk through the
The photos below are what we saw.
"Warthog" tank killer. Much maligned as ugly and slow but
viciously effective. Visible at the lower right corner of
the photo above is the 30mm rotating canon.
"Bolo" a lesser-known bomber.
carrier-based S-3 "Viking".
F-14 "Tomcat". Note the host carrier name (Kitty Hawk) name
on the wing.
there were a number of versions of the Harrier attack
aircraft. These planes are still in service.
walked across the field to the 390th Bomb Group Memorial.
Inside was a restored B-17.
gun turret in the photo above was salvaged from planes trapped
in Greenland ice. A group of planes were enroute to England
and were forced to land there but were unable to take off again
due to the rough ice. The ice covered the entire group of
planes under 260 feet of ice. Portions of the planes were
recovered in 1992 and recovered soon thereafter.
of man hours were expended restoring this B-17.
and ladders allowed access to the inside of the plane.
the wings was a nice display of armament typically carried by
the B-17 during the war against the Third Reich.
signs were informative.
B-17, as well as many other kinds of aircraft, were powerd by
the Wright R-1820 9-cylinder turbo-supercharged radial engine.
sheet for the R-1820 speaks for itself.
game-changing technology used by the B-17: the Norden bomb
sight. This device used gears and cams to solve the
differential equations required to accurately drop bombs on
enemy targets from high-altitude.
the day, Kathleen worked on the Boeing 787 program. She
was excited to see an actual 787 on display. This was the
first-flown unit with the colors of the inaugural carrier, ANA
(All Nippon Airways). This is a big plane and one of the
first craft to be made primarily from composites (carbon fiber
runs the Rolls Royce Trent-1000 high bypass turbofan power
scallops on the exhaust side of the turbofan look cool, but the
real purpose is sound deadening. The scallops are
aperiodic and damp resonance.
landing gear are very pricey and come in at $500K a pair.
Lockheed aircraft, the Constellation, was used for a variety of
purposes within the armed forces. This unit was a VIP
Constellation airframe was also utilized as a radar picket
plane. Note the dual radomes. The top dome
determined altitude, the bottom dome determined azimuth and range.
plane is called the Pregnant Guppy and was used by NASA to
transport space shuttle parts and other large cargo.
WWII a number of large cargo aircraft were designed and
large piston-powered aircraft.
aircraft was used by the Coast Guard in Miami.
This odd duck was
marked experimental and had Russian-style counter-rotating
This plane had
counter-rotating propellers and was deployed by the RAF as a
radar plane. The radome is visible under the cockpit.
long-range bomber similar to the one that dropped the atomic
bomb on Japan. That plane, the Enola Gay is on display
at the Smithsonian.
The B-36 which was
one of the last propeller powered bomber used by the U.S. Air
The B-36 was
superceded by the B-47 jet-powered bomber. These were
deployed en-masse during the early parts of the Cold War.
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