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Udvar-Hazy Center

This is one of the best museums that I have ever visited.  If you like airplanes you must of course visit the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.  But then you really have to take a side trip to the Udvar-Hazy Center, located a few miles from Dulles International Airport.  Plan on spending at least half a day here. If you decide to attend the Imax movies you could be there forever or at least until they close. http://www.si.edu/Events/Calendar/?trumbaEmbed=filter3%3D_17035_&filterfield3%3D11223

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This wonderful museum was opened in 2003.   It has two huge hangars: the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, where thousands of aviation and space artifacts are displayed. You will be able to see the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird and the B-29 Super-fortress Enola Gay.  There is a huge collection of WWII planes as well as the Air France Concord and one of my favorites, .DSC00008 DSC00112

The Sky Baby, the world’s smallest plane.

The Blackbird SR-71 (Above the Sky Baby) flew from Washington DC to Los Angeles, Ca and back to Washington DC in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds.  This happened in 1990. Its 2 pilots were Lt. Col Ed Yeilding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida.

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We really lucked out because  Astronaut, Dr. Donald Thomas spoke for about 45 minutes about his flight in 1995 when one week before launch, a woodpecker attacked the external fuel tank attached to the Discovery Shuttle and poked 250 holes in it.  Of course the flight was postposed for about a month. Newspapers had a ball making fun of the situation.DSC00086

You can read all about Dr. Thomas’  4 flights in the Discovery Shuttle in his new book, Orbit of Discovery which was published this year.

I do apologize about posting so many photos but I just couldn’t decide which ones to leave out.  I probably took about 50 during my visit.DSC00142

This plane dates from 1940.  It is the N-IM created by Jack Northrop.

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This plane is the Boeing P-26A peashooter.  The fighter design became standard during WWII.

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This is a tracking and Date Relay Satellite.  When put into orbit, they provide nearly continuous contact with space crafts in low east orbit. They also transmit signals from the Hubble Space Telescope to Earth.