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EAA Staff at the National Museum of the USAF
March 23, 2016 - When the Wright Brothers flew their aircraft for the first time, it forever linked their home town of Dayton, Ohio, to aviation. Dayton is home to many historic aviation sites that comprise the National Aviation Heritage Area (see our story, In the Footsteps of Giants for more) but one would be hard pressed to find one more jaw-dropping than the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the country’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. The museum is home to some crown jewels in USAF history like the famous B-17 Memphis Belle and Medal of Honor recipient Bernard Fischer’s Douglas A-1 Skyraider.
The already massive museum is currently in the process of expanding to a fourth building. This new building will house their collection of presidential aircraft, the research and development “X-planes,” as well as a number of large transports that commemorate the global reach mission of the USAF. Aircraft like President John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One will be displayed near the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter Hanoi Taxi, the aircraft that flew the first load of POWs out of Vietnam. The research and development side of the building will present such rarities as the Douglas X-3 Stiletto, Northrop’s other-worldly Tacit Blue, and the enormous and sole remaining North American XB-70 Valkyrie, a Mach 3-plus bomber prototype that first flew in 1964 and serves as the museum’s flagship. When all is said and done, more than 70 aircraft will be on display in the new galleries.
On March 19, our Membership Services team was given a behind-the-scenes look as the new building is coming together. Joining them was our museum programs representative and former membership staffer Chris Henry. Henry, a former docent at the NMUSAF, now heads up the docent program at our EAA AirVenture Museum, and his colleagues were pleased that he was able to share his expertise on their tour.