New England Air Museum
My recent aviation adventures include a trip to the New England Air Museum this past weekend! The Aviation Explorer group that I recently joined, held a meeting at the NEAM this past Saturday. My boyfriend and I both had a fantastic time! First we had a little “breifing” and we went over our plans for the day. Then we were off. Our first stop was a P-47. This massive, scary, intimidating, WWII fighter/bomber plane. My mentor described everything from how there were “gun cameras” that went off when the guns were shot and how it had a Pratt & Whitney engine. We went on to see this huge Nike Ajax missile that was once stationed in the hills of Connecticut. My mentor said the missiles would serve as an Air Defense system during the Cold War. When doing my nightly research at home, I found out that this took place between 1955 and 1971. And it turns out that there was even one in Ansonia, CT but it’s now a horse farm. I know exactly where it is and it’s near a place I visit often! I was so excited I’m going to go find the “site” now, even though the missile is gone :(. That same hilltop was also once home to an airport!! I’m still too excited over here. Here’s a link to the Nike Site in Ansonia! (Nike Ajax picture courtesy of NEAM.org)
Anyways, I also learned about a huge tornado that hit the museum and damaged 23 of the restored aircraft! I never even knew Connecticut had that type of tornado! That was so crazy to see those pictures. We also took a venture inside the resoration hangar. We met a man who was in the middle of restoring an A-26. I always wondered what an “A” stood for, and turns out it was “attack”! I can sleep tonight now! I also discovered that the NEAM is also in the midst of restoring an F104 Starfighter (a jet I have never heard of) but it was pretty cool! They actually had to put bumpers around the edges of the wings/airfoil things because the edges were so sharp you could cut yourself! It was so intriguing that my boyfriend and I want to go up there and start restoring planes! Too bad it’s like 1.25 hours from where I live.
Overall it was a very enjoyable and educational day. I learned that there used to be a lot of flying boats due to a shortage of runways, taxiways, and just airports. My mentor said airfields were not able to accomodate aircraft that size. So obviously, it was more convienent to land on a huge body of water! I also learned about a crane like helicopter that can lift air conditioning systems on top of buildings! Incredible stuff at this air museum!! I absolutely loved how almost every minute we heard the rumbling of some huge airliner flying overhead. Or how cool it was to hear what was going on in the control tower, as it was broadcast through a loud speaker system. We ended our great tour with a stop at the colossal B-29 “Jack’s Hack” and the flight simulators. It was so nice to make another trip back to the museum, since I hadn’t gone since 2006 or 2007! I could busy myself there for hours and hours…