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!

The Museum recently completed a major enlargement and has a large, new hanger featuring some very unique craft. The large flying boat above is the largest seaplane ever used by the Navy and is huge as you can tell by comparing the people in the picture with the plane.

This shows a small portion of the hanger. The red aircraft in the upper left of the picture was used in the Antarctica, but was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The fact that the plane now looks new gives great testimony to the capability of the restoration folks!

1 comment:

squawmama said...

Best Air Museum around!!! GREAT photos!
Have fun & Travel safe