Fri Mar 18 2011

Behind the scenes tour at Air Force Musuem

Today some members of EAA Chapter 9 went over to Dayton to go on a tour of the restoration area of the Air Force Museum on Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

These ladies (amongst others) conducted the tour.

The light coming in through the windows made this shot rather dark, but here's the Memphis Belle (B-17F)

Some of the guys from our chapter along with our tour guide, Sandra.

Sandra talking about the tail gunner compartment.

When the Memphis Belle was toured around the country for fundraising, many folks scratched their names in the side of the skin.

It's hard to get a sense of scale from this image, but here is the bellcrank and stops for the rudder pivot. Massive casting.

A view outside the waist gunner position.

I had Tom stand next to the wing attach point so you could get a sense of scale of how thick the wing is.

This is the last of the original paint. Apparently, the gal on the side was originally without her swimsuit, but that was later painted on when the plane was returned home.

Clare (bottom right of image with his back to us) told us his dad was in the war, but his crew did all their missions in only 70 days and got to go back home. Apparently they held the record for shortest time over in Europe.

The nose bowl is off, but here you can see the Norden bomb sight.

Data plate on the side of the bomb sight.

Right side of the bomb sight. Looks like all the controls are on this side...apparently if the bombardier was left handed, he'd just have to deal with it.

Four rebuilt engines ready to go on.

Engine on a mattress.

Here's one of the engine nacelles on a wing section.

The ribs were a truss construction. The top and bottom surfaces of the wing were corrugated sheet covered with another layer of sheet.

One of the plaques for the display.

Some info about the Memphis Belle. You can probably read this if you click on the full sized image.

The two ball (belly) turrets from Memphis Belle and Swoose (the other B-17 in the shop) were in a little room between hangars. I'm pretty sure my fat butt wouldn't fit in there.

Controls inside the ball turret.

Top turret from Swoose (I think).

I forget what kind of helicopter Sandra said this was.

There was a MIG-21 being worked on. Looked close to completion.

This is the Swoose (B-17D). I believe this may be going to the Smithsonian.

Hard to believe these things were produced about 1 every hour. How long have I been working on my little RV? Sigh.

Logo on the side.

An image of the C-99 that is awaiting restoration. Apparently it used wings (and tail?) from a B-36. Note the 6 engine pusher configuration.

Boeing's entry for the Joint Strike Fighter was in storage. Doesn't look bad from the back. Ugly as heck from the'll see what I mean.

The engine was out on a test stand.

Boeing Condor behind the wings.

This MIG-25 fuselage was recovered from Iraq after Saddam Hussein buried it in the sand. Apparently the fins were still sticking out of the ground and gave away it's location. They couldn't find the wings unfortunately.

I forget.

Description for the XF-90 in the picture below.

This sad plane had been exposed to several above-ground nuclear blasts for some kind of testing. Some 50 years later it was decontaminated and brought here.

Standing next to the horizontal stabilizer of the C-99. There were sections of this monster in several places, both outside and inside.

Not sure...maybe another MIG?

This aircraft and the next one looked pretty much the same except for the switch from prop to jet engine. On the jet model, they changed the nosebowl from fiberglass to wood because the fiberglass one crumpled under the higher speed. Odd separate cockpit arrangement.

Note the wood nosebowl.

Front view of the Boeing JSF prototype. Told 'ya it was as ugly a sin. I watched the Discovery Channel program on battle of the X-planes. The wing skin is a single piece composite skin. Well, okay...two for the top skin and one for the bottom. The Lockheed version won the competition.

MIG-25 from the right side.

Cruise missile.

Here's the engine from Boeing's X-32A JSF prototype.

The turbine section of the engine was mounted on a test stand. I thought their method of vibration isolation was interesting...just some cable looped through blocks. Bet this was a real pain to assemble...that cable is probably 3/4 inch diameter.