Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tucson, AZ (2/20/2017)

The Pima Air & Space Museum s one of the premier attractions in Tucson, but I had never gone there until this trip.  There are hundreds of airplanes on display both inside the huge building and lined up around the several acres of grounds.  There is also the famous "boneyard" where decommissioned planes are stored.  Unfortunately, the "boneyard" was closed the day I was there.  However, I saw plenty of planes of all ages, purposes and descriptions.  I took lots of photos, but will only share a small number of them.

Here are a few of the experimental planes, most of which I had never heard of.  Some of them were only flown a few times.  The first one is called the "Bumble Bee" and is only 9 feet long.  It has a maximum speed of 180 mph, but a range of only 20 miles....an exciting 20 miles.

This amphibian, designed for the Navy,  was scrapped after testing revealed major structural flaws.
This gyrocopter was designedf with the objective of being easy to fly and to take off from a residential driveway.  It proved to be easy enough to fly, but required almost as much runway as any other plane, so it was never successful.
Many planes displayed are Air Force bombers, fighters or cargo planes some dating back to World War II.

Some military  planes were designed for reconnaissance, radar duty or spy missions, including an unmanned drone..

Former Air Force One planes were on hand, including the one used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960s.
My favorite of all was the B-17 Flying Fortress that did such an incredible job during World War II.  Hundreds of these planes flew bombing missions over Germany, destroying much of the enemy's capability for producing war equipment.  They endured heavy flak and fighter attacks, and many were lost.  Only one of the original planes survived the war, serving 59 missions.  The one on display was housed in its own separate building, and deservedly so.


  1. Stan:
    I remember going to the Museum on one of my trips to the IBM plant out there. I was into my private flying days at the time and it was quite impressive. My favorite was the SR-71 Blackbird depicted in photo 12. It was the fastest and highest flying airplane ever built. I also remember all of the flying action going into and out of Davis Monthan AFB. In particular one day I observed a high-speed fighter taking off, a loud bang and black smoke along with a large piece of metal falling to earth. There was black smoke still coming off the plane which had slowed considerably and was turning back to the base.
    Thanks for the memories!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Chas. The Blackbird is so big, the building kept me from getting far enough away to get the entire plane in the shot. It is a special bit of aircraft.