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National Museum of the United States Air Force


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The National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
I was first at the Museum one day while being banished to work in Dayton a month or two back in 1987 or 1988. I don't even think I brought a camera.

I was back in 2000, but all I took was video, because digital video was a new and novel thing. In 2003, I finally took a camera (a Canon G2) and took stills. I should have also taken a tripod... The museum is now about four times the size as it was in the late 80's, but that doesn't mean the place is empty. Hey, you gotta put the new hardware *someplace*... :-)

My latest trip was in 2008, when I was going down to Cincinnati for yet another business trip. This time, I had a G9, and it was going to be its maiden photoshoot. I even remembered to bring a tripod. And once again, the museum had expanded to include a Missile/Space gallery. If you look at their website, they're going to expand yet again with a Space Gallery, complete with Space Shuttle. (Which, I believe, they never got.) It's already an impressive place, and will be more so in the coming years.

They've moved things around since 2003, and relit the Cold War Gallery, and the place looks great. (There is also an outdoor area with more displays, but I still had to get to Cincinatti that night, so I cut the tour short.)

And so long as you're in the area, Kitty Hawk might be the birthplace of aviation, but Dayton, Ohia is the birthplace of the guys that made Kitty Hawk what it is. While I might have less than fond memories of Dayton, I must admit it has some history to it, and many of those places have been preserved.

A final recommendation, if you're into military aviation hardware at all, this is a must see place, complete with an IMAX theater, gift shop and a typical mediocre cafeteria for food. (Well, heck, you're not going there for the cusine, are you?) There's even a portion of the Berlin Wall and what is probably only one of two Trabants in the United States. If you're an aviation buff, it's the history of aviation from Icarus to the F-22 Raptor. And most of it's the real thing...

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Early Years Gallery
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Kettering Hall
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Air Power Gallery
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Modern Flight Gallery
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Cold War Gallery
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Missle Space Gallery
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Memorial Park
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  • 12/30/2012 - Update page (not pictures) to v3.1
  • 07/12/2013 - Finished update to v3.11
  • 08/29/2014 - Update to v3.2