in Flying, Nflying
As part of driving across the southern states back to CA, we were in Tucson. The museum is indeed in Pima, next to Tucson, and more an Air Museum than a Space Museum, but the Air Museum bit is quite good. It's a distant second to the national museum of the airforce in Dayton, OH, but it's still worth a good 6-7H. It would be worth more time if all the planes outside had better descriptions, or working QR links (most of them pointed to a non working website, which was a shame).
I have 3 big picture galleries here:
While in Tucson, and after vistiing the Tucson Titan Missile Museum the previous afternoon, I was there bright and early, 30mn before they opened at 09:00 :)
A good portions of the displays are in 5 different hangars:
Some hangars had a mix of things:
Interesting pieces were japanese planes and a pilot guided cruise missile trainer:
I had never seen this portable helicopter. For some reason, it never became popular, I wonder why :)
More planes and helis:
a D21 drone, meant to be launched from the A12, the first version of the SR21
Of course, a sizeable portion of the collection is outdoors, which most of the year, is in somewhat unberable heat, but thankfully in november, it was only mid 80's. Normally you can get a narrated tour in a tram, but during covid, they were cancelled, so I just went on foot. Unfortunately a lot of description plaques were missing, or pointed to unreachable web pages :-(
interestingly, there were severals warthogs flying outside that day
unconventional propellor bomber that was improved with small jet engines
even some french planes
There were a few airliners, that felt a bit out of place:
They did have some really cool plane paintings:
Normally, the museum also has a tour of the graveyard in a bus, the huge amount of planes that are sitting around the airport, some decomissioned and dismantled, while others are technically ready to be re-used if needed. Unfortunately, again, with covid, that tour has been cancelled, and I heard it might not come back.
So, I hired an uber to drive me close to some of the fences around the area, and I jumped out in a few places to take some pictures:
This is a better idea of what it looks like from the sky:
So that was it. It wasn't a complete visit since I wasn't really able to see the graveyard from inside, or get a good description of the outdoor planes in the museum (they were missing plaques and had non working QR codes), but it was the best that could be done during covid times, and it was still quite enjoyable :) It's definitely a unique collection.