|NE Air Museum|
I was in Windsor Locks, near Hartford CT, for business and noticed on the map that there was an air museum near by. I finished the work that took me to this corner of the country and as WWII bomber pilots were want to say "The trip to the target is for Uncle Sam, the trip home is for me," I decided that a quick visit to the museum was on the cards. The Museum is well signposted, even from the highway leading to the Bradley Airport. I tracked around the airfield, down the back, passed the fire fighters and the new ATC tower and found a pleasant new museum complex tucked away amid the trees. This is the New England Air Museum.
Several of the larger aircraft can be seen immediately in a fenced off compound, though to get in the compound you go through the main entrance and pay the piper. It's a $7 charge for us that are too old to be called children, too young to be called old. The staff seemed jovial and had a large tourist trap room which was moderately supplied with momentos to remember your visit by.
The museum consists of two large display hangars, and external compound and a restoration hangar and outbuildings. The main display hangars are clean, and full of aviation interest.
I was part way round the first hangar when I came across a display dedicated to Kaman, he of helicopter fame. I found out that he set up his first workshop here at Bradley Airfield, long before it became an International Airport. The museum has a nice display marking the progress of Kaman, and several of his helicopters.
The museum has a large selection of jet age aircraft, including a recent A-10. An F105 Thunderchief meets you on the way into the first hangar, though I think the most interesting item here is not an aircraft at all; it the AGM-28, Hound dog, missile that used to arm B-52's, and was capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. It is a sleek looking bringer of doom. Piston engined warplanes are not to be forgotten though, and nice examples of a Vought FU4 Corsair and Grumman F6F Hellcat are nicely placed.
In the second hangar, which is well lit, is the Civilian display. Here, the scene is dominated by an impressive flying boat called Excambrian (with an impressive history, too). In a corner a beautiful Gee Bee Racer can be seen.
The hangars are literally stuffed with aircraft. Someone more dedicated than I could spend hours reading all the plaques, and receive a significant aviation education in the process. But I wanted to get out and see the external aircraft.
15 or 16 aircraft stand around a large field, in the middle is a B-47 Stratojet. The aircraft are not in the best state of preservation, but being visible is still better than being hidden in hangars the public could not have access to. The B-47 looks somewhat the worse for wear, from of all things a Tornado that hit the museum in 1972.
When I get round to actually doing some checking I will work out what the unknown images are of, in the meantime just take a look.
The thumbnails can be clicked to look at the larger versions, the size of the big image should be shown in the tooltip/fly over help.
|© Copyright A. Maclean 2004|
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