Monday, August 17, 2009

Visiting The Malmstrom AFB Museum - Great Falls

Naturally, if there is an aviation museum, Rick is going to find it and fortunately, there was a great one in Great Falls, MT. Located at Malmstrom AFB, the Museum has some very unique and interesting aircraft and exhibits. There is no cost to see the museum, just drop by the Base Visitor Center for check in and then you will be allowed to walk the very short distance to the museum. The first aircraft you see is this F101 Voodoo that was based here.

The aircraft displays are in excellent shape as this B-25 shows. This aircraft actually flew in the Pacific theater during World War II. Also, note the staff car from the same period to the right. Malmstrom AFB has had an important past and was opened during WWII to help ferry aircraft to Alaska for delivery to the Soviet Union for use against the Germans.

After the war, the base was used to house tanker aircraft such as this KC 97G which is huge! This was used during the Strategic Air Command period of the late 50's and 60's.

The focus of the base changed to Missile Defense as the Minuteman missile was deployed (and remains deployed to this day). In the museum building, early versions of the control system are displayed including this incredible IBM Core Memory unit from the 50's. This unit is about 6' high and uses vacuum tubes to store 4k (yes -- k!) of memory!

Hoe about this -- the first "hard disk" unit! Actually, this IBM Magnetic Drum unit can store a whopping 150K of data -- that is 150,000 bits! Geez, my watch stores far more than this. Remarkably, this equipment ran the entire defense system at the time. I imagine my notebook computer will look as primitive in 50 years as well!

1 comment:

squawmama said...

Wow that looked great... didn't even know thathat was there. Ralph would have loved that too! Great Pictures and captions...

Have Fun & Travel Safe