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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Trading (Air and) Space Museums 

My folks are in town this weekend, which means we got to visit the new National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center out near Washington Dulles International Airport. My father is a big airplane buff, so we've been putting off visiting the new museum until he came to town.

It is HUGE and packed full of planes, ranging from a few World War I era planes up through the space shuttle and a lot of World War II era planes from all combatants.

In a lot of ways, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all these planes crammed into one space, but it also is amazing to look down into the cockpit of the Enola Gay or up into the engines of an SR-71A Blackbird.

At the same time, there are so many planes crammed into all the available space, that it is hard to appreciate any one individual plane. Plus looking up into so many of these machines from ground level gives such a limited perspective on them that it's easy to get lost in little details -- the curves of the wings, details of the landing gear, decals or nose art, etc.

We only spent about two hours there before Evelin and my mom were feeling a bit tired and hungry (and the only on-site food service was boxed lunches from Subway), so we headed out for the day, but I'm sure I could spend a good bit more time there, especially once they finish restoration of Space Shuttle Enterprise and can open up the entire Space Age room/wing. (Hopefully that will also let them free up a little more space in the main hanger, either adding more planes or giving some of them a little less tight of spacing ...)

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