Sunday, January 27, 2013

26 October 2012 Pima Air Musuem on to Benson

Ali was due in around noon so I had the morning free. I grabbed a shuttle ride to the airport with my luggage and rented a car. I had noticed an ad for the Pima Air Museum before I left Ohio and was determined to visit there this morning. The Museum has an SR71 Blackbird and a guppy on display. The sleek Blackbird was an amazing work of technology, and I was lucky to see it for a rare fly by in my youth. I was excited at a chance to see it up close. The guppy may just be the ugliest plane ever produced.
I hadn't really looked to see what other planes were on display I just knew the museum was large and a lot of displays were outdoors in the desert. Once on the grounds I found a military version of the Constellation with the nose marking Columbine. This plane was the first of three Constellations to bear the name Columbine. They were named after the state flower of Colorado by President Eisenhower's wife. This Columbine I was the plane used by General Eisenhower between 1950 and 1952.

The next surprise was the sight of the last propellor-driven Air Force One. This plane was used by both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson before being replaced by a KC135, the military version of the Boeing 707. It's amazing to think President Kennedy flew in this plane.

Freedom One was a look-alike to Air Force One and was used as a VIP transport. The Air Force One from that era is located in Dayton at the Air Force Museum along with President Eisenhower's transport Columbine III.

The Guppy is one amazingly ugly plane. It looks like some bad comic book rendition of a plane.

Some of the names are amazing. This is a rear view of the Peacemaker.

The last production B58 Hustler sits on the desert as a relic of the cold war. It's sole purpose was to carry a nuclear bomb in the pod below its body.

There are three B-52's sitting on the desert. The sheer size of these machines can be measured by the trucks in the near background.

These blue angel and thunderbird jets were long retired before I saw my first Cleveland Air Show with F4 Phantoms being used by the two acrobat teams.

Taildraggers were not the safest planes, but they look so much more graceful and elegant. These are a throw back to a different time in aviation.

I got to see a lot of planes in a few hours at the museum. Besides the guppy, I got to see the Blackbird, but it was inside and crowded so the visual was not so exciting. On the good side, Ali's plane was early. We grabbed a few caches in the Tucson area before heading to Benson and our stop for the evening. One of the caches was alongside the road by the aircraft boneyard. With over 4000 planes, the ground is filled for as far as the eye can see.

Ali makes a find on a tree climber at a Tucson park.

We had time on the way to Benson for a stop in the desert for a few finds.

We struck out on the caches we hunted in Benson. We were lucky to spot the first and only ice cream on the trip. The ice cream was average, but the service was good. Our dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant made for a nice first evening.

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