Sunday, May 22, 2011
Pensacola Naval Air Museum -- The Recent Years
The Cubi Bar -- as recreated in the Pensacola Naval Air Museum -- We had a great lunch in the recreated Cubi Bar which was originally in the Philippines When the base was closed, the entire collection of the bar, including the tables, was sent to the Museum and faithfully restored here. This is a great place to go and experience the naval air environment for off duty personnel.
We loved exploring the early aircraft gallery of the museum, and then strolled through the more recent area. This gallery starts with WWII and moves forward. The Skyraider above saw extensive use in Korea and Vietnam and is one big plane!
This is the famous Hellcat from WWII and is one of the best fighters from the war. The Hellcat was more than the equal to the Japanese Zero and helped established air dominance in the Pacific.
One of the biggest functions of this museum, in addition to the display of the planes. is aircraft restoration. We were able to take a tour (also at no charge) of the flightline and the restoration area. This plane, an F4U standing nose down, is now being restored after spending 60 years at the bottom of Lake Michigan where it crashed during a training exercise. The plane is in remarkable good condition and the tour guide said it was due to the cold water at the bottom of the deep lake. Hopefully, we will see it restored in a coming trip.
Of course, the Pensacola Naval Air Base is more than just a museum -- it is also the base of the Blue Angels! This fantastic air show team practices here during the week (unfortunately when we were not going to be there), but the museum shows a number of displays on these great planes.
Of course, Rick was eager to see how he would look as a Blue Angles member! After this picture, I am sure he will get a call soon to join up!