Some adventures take weeks or months of planning. Some are just thought up over dinner with friends. My buddy Jay and I had been talking about a day trip somewhere to see an aviation museum or event. So after he made a flight to D.C. for work he asked me about the Dulles NASM and was it worth the trip to see it. A resounding yes from me put the trip planning in motion. He had only toured downtown D.C. and wanted to go back to see the museum. About two weeks ago our schedules looked like they would allow a day trip to Dulles on July 2nd. I took a day off work and he sorted out the passes on the airline. My excitement to be his tour guide in "Americas Hangar" and his flight privileges would make the trip come together.
My wife helped me pack up my gear for the day and sent me out the door when Jay pulled up at 5:15am. Do all adventures have to start so early in the morning?! We launched out of DFW on a 6:55am flight to IAD. It even worked out to takes some open seat in first class! That helped make up for the early morning departure! The flight landed at Dulles at about 10:45am. With only our back packs to carry we walked right out of the terminal to catch the bus around to the museum. It was nice to have a bus that makes the round trip from the terminal to the museum about every 45 minutes to an hour. An easy way to make the trip to the museum!
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is aptly named Americas Hangar. This museum has some of the most historic aircraft in aviation history and they are all housed in one BIG hangar! My wife and I had just made the trip to see this museum last September but I couldnt wait to bust through the door and start blasting Jay with historic facts about the aircraft inside. Just as I watched my wifes face when we walked in... I watched Jays face as we entered the main hall looking for the "OH WOW" face! Aviations history as far as the eye can see. Talk about aviation sensory overload!
Jay and I had from about 11:30am until 5:30pm to give the place a good looking over. This was my third visit. The first being the grand opening in December of 2003, the second as I mentioned was last September. This visit they had added to the displays a few jets and a couple gliders. If you love aviation this is THE museum to visit. Pieces from every aviation era are there in one hangar. This is about the time I run out of words to describe the facility. Monocoupe, Mustang, Thunderbolt, Super Fortress, Concorde, Blackbird... so much history!
Take a look at the pictures here. They best tell the story of what we saw!
We took pictures, gawked at airplanes, took more pictures, more gawking, ate lunch, more walking and more pictures. Visited the gift shop. A few more pictures. Rested our feet and looked at our new aviation book purchases. At about 5:30 we wandered outside to catch the bus. A quick bus ride back to the terminal at IAD and the day started to catch up to me. My eyes were burning from waking up early. A quick dinner and we boarded the flight back to DFW. It was a lot to fit into one day but we both commented on the flight home how we thought it was worth the trip. A fast trip... but worth it. Modern air travel took us there and back. Excitement fueled us for the day. The search for more historic aircraft will have us planning more trips just like this one!