Welcome to the Birthplace of Aviation

Whenever anyone visits my parents’ house in Ohio, we inevitably always end up going to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. And that is exactly what I did over Thanksgiving weekend by taking my cousin to the museum. I have to admit, at first, I wasn’t that excited since the first and the only time I’ve been there was when my family and I first moved to the area from Cleveland. Sadly enough, the only thing I really remember is the IMAX theater there.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I revisited the museum. I even forgot that the admission was free! (thank you, federal government, for making museums accessible to the public). The museum not only expanded the main exhibits but also added new exhibits along the way. Both are good news for the museum as that means A) there is a steady flow of visitors, and B) it is well funded.

World War II Gallery

To give you a brief overview of the main exhibits, they are presented in a timeline from the birth of modern aviation in early 20th century through the present day, highlighting major wars fought during each period represented: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and so on.

Aside from the war galleries, other galleries include a presidential gallery with its historic collection of aircraft, such as the Boeing VC-137C SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000 that is commonly known as “Air Force One” — used by former Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton — which visitors can take a look inside. There is also a space gallery that has the full replication of a NASA space shuttle and a missile gallery.

The Presidential Gallery

Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, the museum was pretty crowded with families. There were a couple of interactive sections even a VR transporter, where my cousin and I partook (we made sure that we weren’t stealing spots from kids) in a flight simulation. I was just glad that we were above rookie level when we were done with it (ahem, a shout out to playing video games for our performance).

Given the number of impressive aircraft that were housed in the museum along with all the interesting historical information mixed in here and there, we ran out of time toward the end and had to rush through the modern exhibits. We also wanted to check out the gift shop, hence the time crunch. Overall, I’d say give at least four hours or so if you plan to spend some quality time at the museum.

If for some reason, you happen to be in the Dayton area by chance, I’m happy to say that it is definitely worthwhile to pay a visit to the museum even if you’re not an aviation enthusiast. Learning never gets old, am I right?

To conclude, I salute you Wright Brothers. As Orville Wright said, “If birds can glide for long periods of time, then…why can’t I?” I’m glad that you guys were bonkers enough to think that not only it was actually possible for humans to fly but also made that crazy dream of yours a reality.

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