One of the major attractions at Pensacola is the Air Museum at the air base. This is also the home of the world famous BLUE ANGELS, the Navy precision air team.
This is the F something at the entrance. This is an awesome museum and anyone who has been in Naval Aviation (like you, Sam) should visit this for sure. There were a lot of veterans taking pictures of the rosters of their ship or flight squadron. The condition of the planes is amazing, everyone polished to a fare-thee-well.
There is too much to see that I can do it justice in a blog. As I said, the planes are in awesome condition, truly spectacular!!
Kyle Tempesta…..future pilot????
Me, standing in front of a Navy T-2, very similar to the Air Force T-33 that I flew from Maxwell AFB on July 19, 1995. A major high poing in my life.
Keaton and Kyle standing in front of the Blue Angels formation. When Helen and I were last here, the museum was a shell of what it is now and this display was under construction.
Two future aeronauts in a flight simulator. Apparently, the loops, rolls, and inverted flight didn’t set well with Keaton. In fact, with one couple in the simulator we could hear the woman screaming and she looked a little worse for wear when they were through.
There was an IMAX theater and we elected to see thye show called “RESCUE”. Having a friend who was “hands-on” rescue I expected to see some rescue of downed pilots and planes that missed the carrier. Instead, the movie was about the rescue mission to Haiti after the awful earthquake there. It was interesting and all, but not what I expected. We had lunch at the café inside the museum and we were surprised at the quality of the food. Helen and I opted for a “Pacific Salad” that was delicious. Keaton had the “Barrel Roll” sandwich and said it was the best sandwich he ever had.
After lunch, the boys wanted to continue to see more of the exhibits and that was fine with us. The fact was that I also wanted to take another tour myself.
Helen had some interest in one restored plane. The Navy was searching for a downed helicopter when they found an airframe with a yellow strip with “MARINE” on it. During WW II, the pilot was unable to switch to another fuel tank and the plane went down the pilot was saved. The remains of the plane were taken to San Diego where the young pilot was now a Brigadier General and I’m sure he had some clout in having the plane restored. Sixty percent of the aluminum had to be replaced and a replacement new engine was obtained from Pratt and Whitney. However, the rubber tires and other rubbed parts are original. Instruments had to be newly fabricated and all this took four years to restore.
All the restorations in the museum are magnificent. The T-2, looks like the plane I flew in 1965, but you can be sure that the planes at Maxwell AFB did not shine like the one on display.
Just one more thing, when we were here many years ago, some fellow was giving us an unofficial tour. He pointed to one plane that had just arrived, telling us that he had no idea what it was. It was an F-4 Phantom which was widely used in Viet Nam, but this Navy bloke didn’t have a clue. I know that the F-4 was a twin engine, very heavy plane and think that perhaps it was used only by the Air Force. I don’y know for sure right now, but I’ll check later. I do know that I looked all over the museum and did not see it.