|US Space Shuttle Enterprise, OV-101|
|Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center|
This I believe is the gem of the Smithsonian museums. It is tucked away at the Washington Dulles International Airport. This is where the Smithsonian keeps its really big aircraft, the ones that can't be put on display at the National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall in Washington DC.
Walking into the center you feel small in the vast space that houses aircraft large and small. As you enter the center you are on the second floor. At the end of the entrance is an open deck that looks down on the first floor of the Boing Aviation Hanger . One of the first historic aircraft you will find is the SR-71 Blackbird. She sits alongside another, older aircraft, one that changed the way war is fought. Here you will find and old B-29 Super Fortress Enola Gay. She was the first aircraft to drop a nuclear bomb in wartime (the other B-29, the Bockscar" which dropped the second bomb, is at the The National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton Ohio).
|B-29 Super Fortress "Enola Gay"|
|B-29 Super Fortress "Bockscar"|
To me the most important aircraft was located in the James S. McDonnell Space Hanger. Here the Enterprise sat in all her glory the center piece of the hanger. Joseph and I spent countless hours over the last few years we lived in Virginia. We explored every nook and cranny of the museum and took plenty of photos. My favorite is one of Joseph in my arms, standing in front of her. Every time we went there, I would think of my father and wish that he were still here, to enjoy this special moment with me and his grandson.
Should you find yourself in Washington, DC on vacation you should make time at the end of your trip to see this museum. Get to the airport early (about 8 hours before your flight) and catch the shuttle over the the museum. It will be a great way to end your vacation.
The Udvar-Hazy Center is Father approved and a must see.
|James S. Mcdonnell Space Hanger|