Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum, operated by the not-for-profit Arizona Aerospace Foundation (AAF), is the largest privately funded aviation and aerospace museum in the world and the third largest aviation museum in the U.S.
Established on May 8,1976, the museum displays more than 300 of the most
significant aircraft in the history of flight.
Admission includes the 390th Memorial Museum, an independent military museum, and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, another AAF operation, located on the grounds.

In addition, the museum features more than 125,000 artifacts including a moon rock and numerous exhibits located in five hangers.
(four-plus football fields of indoor space) over 80 acres.
The museum operates the exclusive tour of the U.S. government’s and 
military’s only “Boneyard” aka AMARG (309th Aerospace Regeneration and Maintenance Group) on the adjacent Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
showcasing 4,000+ planes on 2,600 acres.
I took the above from the Pima Air & Space Museum's homepage rather than try and explain who they are and what they do.  I've been to the museum a number of times and have always enjoyed the tour.  Grant is fascinated by WWII aircraft and military equipment and I've been saving this tour towards the end of his visit.  Gerry had a hair appointment and left me in charge of the expedition.
We wound up spending almost 3 hours at the museum and still didn't see everything there.  It was 92 degrees and we tried to stay in air conditioned comfort, but some of the neater planes were outside.  I took almost 100 photos and have managed to cut them back to around 15 or so.  If you don't like airplanes, then you can quit reading now.  
Aerial view of Pima Air & Space Museum


Grant & the Bumblebee

Manufacturer BEDE

Markings: From the James Bond film Octopussy, 1983


Air Force Thunderbird plane


The last of a small family of aircraft built by Lockheed's famous Skunk Works, the SR-71 is one of the most recognized aircraft ever built. Design of what would become the Blackbird began in 1958 with a request from the CIA for an aircraft to replace the Lockheed U-2. The aircraft the CIA got was a single seat, twin engine, delta-winged design called the A-12. Even though the other versions of the Blackbird were known publicly the existence of the A-12 remained secret until 1982. The type made its first flight from the Groom Lake, Nevada test site in April 1962. Further development resulted in three different 2 seat versions; the YF-12 interceptor, the M-12 which carried the D-21 drone, and the SR-71 strategic reconnaissance aircraft. Slightly larger than the A-12 and with a longer range the first SR-71 flew in December 1964. In total 50 aircraft in the Blackbird Family were built with 30 of them being SR-71s. It is hard to overstate the technological achievement represented by the Blackbird. It holds world speed and altitude records and is the only manned, jet-powered aircraft to routinely exceed Mach 3.
A brief list of some of the records held by the Blackbird: July 28, 1976 -World absolute speed record - 2,193 mph July 28, 1976 - World absolute record for sustained altitude - 85,069 feet September 1, 1974 - New York to London - 1 hour 55 minutes 42 seconds March 6, 1990 - Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. - 1 hour 4 minutes 2 seconds


  • Wingspan: 55 ft 7 in
  • Length: 107 ft 2 in
  • Height: 16 ft 6 in
  • Weight: 140,000 lbs (loaded)
  • Max. Speed: 2,193 mph (Mach)
  • Service Ceiling: 85,000 ft +
  • Range: 3,200 miles
  • Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney J-58 turbojets 34,000 lbs thrust each
  • Crew: 2

Newly reconstructed seaplane

Grant as a fighter pilot




It was a surprise to see this TWA plane out in the open area.  We flew TWA many years ago when they were prop planes and later jets.

 Imagine my surprise when Gerry and I found our long lost luggage from a flight we took many years ago.  I wonder if the clothes would still fit us.  Naw, afraid not.

Presidential Air Force One plane from President Eisenhower's era.


After three hours of walking and taking pictures, I was a little worn out and ready for dinner.  Gerry was finished with her hair appointment at the same time that I called her and said we were finished.  Well, at least I was finished.  Grant was in the gift shop picking up some postcards and pins, including one for me.  He is a very thoughtful kid and fun to be around.  It was an early to bed night for Grant as it finally caught up to him.
That was our day, how was yours? 

1 comment:

  1. The most special part of this visit is the time spent with your Grandson. That has got to be such a wonderful feeling. Grant makes a great fighter pilot. Not sure I could handle three hours of airplanes but I know Jim sure could.