I took a day to visit the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport recently, a place I've had on my list for some time now. After riding out the effects of a really bad cold and flu-like symptoms for days, I really needed to get out and do something.
Like many museums, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is chocked full of interesting things to see and learn about and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there. It's a great place to take the family or simply hang out on your own.
A little advice to my photography friends, should you choose to visit. Take a zoom lens (18-200mm range) and be prepared to shoot some abstracts as there are so many great aircraft, satellites and other aviation related items on display that few clear shots of any particular subject are available. Nonetheless, you'll find that both you and your camera will be quite busy throughout the day. Also, no tripods.
One of those clear shot subjects was the F-100D Super Sabre, which I found in a nice uncluttered corner. This Vietnam war era jet did not appear on the floor plan map, leading me to think it may have been a fairly recent addition to the display. All display items are first processed through the Restoration Hangar.
A little background on this jet; it came into service in 1957 and flew 6,159 missions over a 21-year career, including service in the Cuban Missile Crisis. That's a pretty stout record for this amazing machine and a testament to the pilots and crews who flew and maintained it.
The name "Snooper" is stenciled on the fuselage. I wonder if that's a reference to the long nose of this plane.
I took a series of photographs as I worked my way around the old war vet. Below is an image from the other front side.
I have always enjoyed aircraft art, seen painted or stenciled on planes of all sorts. These images and logos always have a story behind them that stirs the imagination.
Below the jet, directly under the cockpit area is a plaque with red dice on it. They are set to equal "7", a number that must be rolled on the first throw to be a winner. I don't know the story behind this but I would guess that it signifies that you had better strike your target on the first go. :-)
We'll round out the look at the Super Sabre with this view from the rear.
The only thing missing from this view is that massive jet engine exhaust flame.
I would have loved to have gotten a look into the cockpit of this powerful machine but visitors are kept at a distance from these historic artifacts, and for good reason.
Before closing, you should know that there are many things to do here at Air and Space Dulles, as this is often called. The James S. McDonnell Space Hangar and the Boeing Aviation Hangar will easily keep you occupied for the better part of the day. There is also the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower with views of Dulles airport and an IMAX Theater within the museum. So if you're in the Northern Virginia area, Chantilly in particular, and have 4 or 5 hours to fill, this place will make for a memorable occasion.
I'll be sharing some other images and memories of the trip in future post.
Thanks so much for visiting!