VE Day +70 Part 2

By Mark

As Roger wrote in the last blog the hazy weather over the mall didn’t make for the best aircraft shots.  

Start of the "Missing Man" finale formation.  P-40, Corsair, Avenger, and a Mustang

Start of the "Missing Man" finale formation.  P-40, Corsair, Avenger, and a Mustang

Luckily for us, the organizers wanted to give the public a chance to see the aircraft up close and personal so they were going to fly in to Dulles Airport and be on the tarmac right outside the Udvar-Hazy museum.  Having seen the traffic jams for family day before, I made everyone get up early and we headed down to Dulles.  As we drove from home, we noticed that it was a little misty, but the weather guessers assured everyone that the cloud cover would all be gone by 10, when the aircraft were scheduled to start landing.  We arrived and the place was already pretty full of people.  There were many WW2 Vets there with their families among the crowd.  I got to chat with an 8th AF B-17 pilot who flew with the 344th.

B-17G

B-17G

He was spry and feisty.  I’m pretty certain he was not unlike the reenactor by the tents outside.  

Everyone trooped through the hanger to get the required safety briefing before we would be allowed outside and then, well to put it bluntly the weathermen were just wrong.  The clouds and rain hung around and the ceiling never lifted enough for the extremely valuable aircraft to make it in.  All was not lost though as the museum continues to be an amazing place.  One of the things that struck me in talking to that pilot was that he had seen aviation transform from these wood and fabric biplanes

Nieuport from WW1 flown by the American "Hat in the Ring" squadron

Nieuport from WW1 flown by the American "Hat in the Ring" squadron

all the way to watching the Space Shuttle retire from service. 

Space Shuttle Discovery--39 trips to orbit and back

Space Shuttle Discovery--39 trips to orbit and back

I took advantage of the opportunity to use my 14-24 wide angle lens to do something I’ve wanted to capture ever the museum first opened.   Capturing both the size of the facility itself and just how big some of the aircraft really are has always been difficult.  Standing on the various walkways above the main floor provides great vantage points.   I’ve gotten parts of the F4U Corsair hanging in the entrance before, but never the whole thing. 

F4U Corsair--My uncle was shot down in one of these over Korea.

F4U Corsair--My uncle was shot down in one of these over Korea.

From above the Enola Gay you can look one direction and see the World War 2 aircraft.

When you turn around though and look the other way, you get to see the evolution of how aircraft have evolved and transformed civilian travel.  

From an early Boeing airliner to the Concorde Super Sonic Transport in the distance, it makes you hopeful what progress we will continue to see in our lifetimes.  You can spend hours and hours and hours in the museum.  I've been there lots and have yet to see every thing.  Just gives me something to shoot for.