Trip Report #3- Smithsonian, part 1

February 19, 2008 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Military, Travel | 2 Comments

It’s been brought to my attention that I never finished my series of posts on my trip to DC. Mea Culpa. Life got in the way (if you count bad winter weather, the flu and a trip to the ER as life). My last post ended as we were finishing getting ready for the second day in DC.

As I’m sure you noticed from that post, I wasn’t exactly surrounded by people all fired up to get going quickly or early in the morning. We did eventually manage to leave the hotel. My brother and SIL had agreed on a destination- the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and programmed a nearby location likely to have parking into their GPS. By the time we found a parking space, it was close to lunchtime. So, we ended up taking a break to get a meal before walking to the museum.

As we made our way to the museum, I did the “tourist” thing and snapped a few pictures. The first ones were of a motorcade (I already wrote a little bit about this experience here). I also managed to get decent shots of the Capitol and the Washington Monument. It was a cloudy hazy day so they aren’t perfectly clear, but they aren’t bad either.


Not long after taking these pictures, we were inside the museum. One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned here is that my brother has a “special” sense of humor. By special I mean that often he is the only one who finds his jokes funny unless he is in a large group of engineers and/or computer geeks. The scene that presented itself to us as we entered the building was the inspiration for some truly “special” jokes from him.

This picture was actually taken from the second floor, but it shows the atrium-like area where we entered the museum. All of the planes hanging from the ceiling were covered in plastic. It was a very strange sight. Apparently they were in the midst of repairing the sprinklers and fire alarm system. The museum had covered the planes with plastic to protect them “just in case” the sprinklers accidentally went off during testing. My brother made a “joke” about planes not being able to get wet to the volunteer explaining the situation to us. He undoubtedly has had good customer service training as my brother didn’t get the type of response his joke deserved.

It was interesting walking around the historical displays upstairs. I managed to get some good photos of the planes. Like this one:

(Right click and select “View Image” to enlarge)

This plane is the Curtiss RC3-2 Racer (note the US Army designation on the tale of the plane). I also was able to get a decent picture of the FokkerT-2.

(Same procedure to enlarge if interested)

This plane was the first plane to fly non-stop coast to coast. Interestingly enough, it is also a US Army plane. The museum’s website has this to say about the Fokker T-2:

Under the auspices of the U.S. Army Air Service, the Fokker T-2 made the first nonstop U.S. transcontinental flight in 1923. Two failed attempts at a west-to-east crossing were followed by a successful east-to-west flight when Air Service Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready took off from Long Island, New York, on May 2 and landed at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, on May 3, slightly more than 26 hours and 50 minutes later.

Upon reading this, my first thought was “Slightly more than 26 hours and 50 minutes? Just to go across the country?” Air travel sure has changed since 1923 and I for one am glad that it has! My second thought had to do with the plane itself. You see, this plane is clearly marked as an ARMY plane as well. I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s hard for naval aviators like Lex to explain this to kids, especially to their own!

I have pictures of one more aircraft from the museum, but I’m saving that for another post. I found out some interesting information about it, so I am saving it for another blog entry. I’ll try not to make my two readers wait another week for the next installment in my travelogue.  With any luck, life won’t get in the way again.



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  1. I can’t stand to fly anyway, but I would never make it across the country if it took that long!

    Great shots, and I loved that museum. So what happened the next day?

  2. The next day I was back at home!

    I am posting the next installment soon. You’ll probably read it before you see this reply though :)

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