Monday, June 02, 2008
Instead of sitting around in Baltimore waiting for the con to start, I headed out on Friday to lovely Chantilly, VA, to see the Steven F. Utvar-Hazy Center.
Which will probably ring no bells with you, until I state that it's part of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. In fact it's the part that contains the 80% of the Smithsonian's collection that won't fit into the museum in D.C.!
So I entered the huge hangar-like structure and gazed down at the floor below me, and I said, "Holy crap! That's a P-61!" And then I looked a little to my right, and I said, "Holy crap! That's an SR-71 Blackbird!"
My dialog grew very repetitious at this point, so I'll just skip the rest.
(Can you tell I used to build model aeroplanes as a child?)
I was with Greg Bear, who not only built model aeroplanes as a child but still builds them, so the two of us were in total Geek Heaven. We completely spazzed as we feasted our eyes upon the Corsair, and the Tomahawk, and the Northrop N-1M flying wing, and the P-38, and the Concorde, the insane-looking Dornier Do-335, the gorgeous Arado 234, the weird manned little autogyro kite that the Germans designed to be towed behind U-Boats, the submarine-launched Aichi M6A, the Wright Flyer (a replica built by someone with an unusual design sense, as it's heavily chromed, with red velvet seat cushions), the Nieuport 28 with its hat-in-the-ring insignia, the Spad 13, the Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer, all the strange little between-the-wars craft, the Double Eagle II, the MiGs 15 and 21, the Tomcat and the Sabrejet, and even the F-35, which isn't even in service with the Air Force yet.
Not to mention the Enola Gay, very large and shiny, and the Enterprise, which is off in a hangar of its own along with a lot of capsules and missiles.
Which brings me to this week's contest. (My last contest didn't work out, since nobody [including me] can seem to scare up a copy of Implied Spaces.) So here goes:
Can any of you Aero Geeks identify the aircraft in the photo above? It's an obscure one, but then the Smithsonian specializes in obscure.