National Museum of the United States Air Force

A couple of weeks ago, the first stealth fighter of China made its first test flight. As I know, the United States has exhibited its stealth fighters and bombers, such as F-117A, B-2A, and F-22A, in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which locates in Dayton, OH1,2. All of those three kinds of airplanes interest me a lot since I got to know them long time ago. Before I started the journey from Rolla, MO to New York City, I decided to visit the museum and take pictures of those planes if I had opportunity to stop at Dayton.

In the early morning of Jan. 14, my friend and I stopped at a motel in Dayton after around 500 miles ride. After a rest, around 11 o’clock we left the inn for the museum. We supposed to reach the site in minutes, but my friend missed an exit on the highway. When we got to the place, it was almost 11:30. Along the Springfield St., near the Harshman Rd., a symbol made of a plane in front of a series of hangars came into my eyes as seen below.

Fig. 1 Symbol of the museum

We continued driving the car following the road, and then we saw a huge concrete wall with the museum’s name.

Fig. 2 Concrete wall with the name of the museum

After having turned right at the corner, some aircrafts exhibited on the field could be seen, such as the retired USAF Lockheed C-141C Starlifter.

Fig. 3 Lockheed C-141C Starlifter

Due to limited time, I directly went to Modern Flight Gallery(including Korea War and Southeast Asia War), where F-22A is shown. In fact I do not know why the museum put the most advanced fighter in this gallery.

Fig. 4 Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

Thus, I entered the Cold War Gallery, where I took a lot of pictures. In this building, almost all the aircrafts in service could be found except for F-22A and some unmanned aircrafts. In the museum, it was very crowded. In addition, I brought a long focus lense with me. The above picture of F-22A looks fine, but as for B-2A, only part of the aircraft could be taken into the lense.

Fig. 5 Northrop B-2A Spirit

Fig. 6 Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

Except for those stealth fighters or bombers, I also took pictures of some other aircrafts, such as F-15, F-16A, A-10A, B-1B, SR-71, and Mig-29A. Last year when I went to tour the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, I have taken a picture of F-16, actually which was borrowed from this museum I visited this time. But I am not sure whether they are the same one or not. The picture of SR-71 is very blur, then I won’t upload here. It is very easy to recognize the tank killer, A-10A.

Fig. 7 McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Fig. 8 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Fig. 9 Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II

Fig. 10 Rockwell B-1B Lancer

I was surprise to see Mig-29A, a former Soviet Union two engine light fighter in the museum. In Jun 1989, a Mig-29 crashed while doing a high-performance aerobatic routine at the Paris Air Show. The most impressive thing is that the pilot was saved by the great rocket ejector since the chute didn’t open due to the low elevation since the fighter fell into two pieces and then hit on the ground3.

Fig. 11 Mikoyan MiG-29

The 30 minute tour could never satisfy me at all. Before I left the museum, I talked to an assistant in the Cold War Gallery and explained the reason why I had such a quick tour. Also, I told him that sometime later I will make a long visit to the biggest military aviation museum in the world.

References:

1. National Museum of the United States Air Force(official website).

2. National Museum of the United States Air Force(wikipedia).

3. MIG-29 Crashes at Paris Air Show Pilot Ejects From Soviet Fighter Plane Before Jet Explodes.