Friday, May 13, 2011

USAF Museum Series: Part 11

Late last month, before we went up and had some fun in the Cub, my friend Rob and I spent the afternoon at the USAF Museum. We had the opportunity to see something new, the Restoration Hangars. They are located on the active base and you have to sign up in advance for the guided tours.

Tour participants meet in the auditorium in the main museum, then take a bus over to the Restoration Hangars. There you split into small groups of no more than 6-8 people and spend a couple hours with your own guide. As with all the other exhibits at the museum, it's completely free - although I'd pay decent money for such a quality tour!

We're both glad we finally had the time because the tour was wonderful. The museum has a paid and volunteer staff of incredibly skilled people constantly at work restoring various airplanes. Right now they have some very famous aircraft over there - including the B-17 Memphis Belle, which you will see in the next post in this series.

New metal wing ribs and the wooden forms used to build them

Helicopter inside the main hangar

Part of the machine shop

Sperry ball turrets - one for a B-17, the other for a B-24

Looking inside a ball turret - can you imagine 6+ hours in there?

Building a replica rudder for a Curtiss A-25A Shrike

A-25A Shrike replica rudder spar - just incredible workmanship

A novel use for used mattresses!

MiG-21 under restoration

This MiG-23 is waiting patiently for its turn under the rivet gun

MiG-25 sans wings (they're still looking for a pair)

This MiG-25 was found buried under the sand in Iraq!

Sukhoi SU-22M4, a re-branded SU-17 that was exported to Middle Eastern nations

X-32A, Boeing's prototype for the Joint Strike Fighter program

The museum got a shuttle! (sarcasm - I'm still bitter about this)

As always, just a reminder that you can access any of the posts in this series by clicking on the USAF Museum tag in the navigation bar to the right or at the bottom of the posts.


  1. GReat photos in an excellent series. I'm looking forward to the following posts.