A visit to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Part 4
This is the last batch of photos from my November visit. Two pleasant surprises occurred on this one. The first was happening to be there on the day the Blue Angels were doing their practice session for their final show of the year at Jacksonville NAS, which was only a few days away. Getting to see the team up close without the benefit of your average airshow crowd was amazing to say the least. Several times, they were over our heads low enough to see the rivets on the bottom of the airplanes. The practice sessions throughout the year are open to the public, the schedule being posted on the museum’s website.
The second surprise happened while walking back from the flightline after the show. The museum’s restoration shops are close by, and as I was passing, an airplane in the hangar caught my eye, so I wandered over to look at it. It was a Temco TT-1 Pinto. While snapping a picture, a gentleman walked up and we struck up a conversation. He was surprised I knew what a Pinto was, which led to his inviting me over the fence for a quick tour of the shops! He is one of the mechanics working in the shop. Inside were an SBD Dauntless and a Birdcage Corsair, both off the bottom of Lake Michigan. The F6F was salvaged from San Diego Bay and is awaiting a new right wing. The T-38 at the far end of the hangar came from one of the Aggressor squadrons in Nevada and has since been completed and put on display. After going through the shop, we made a quick trip to the flight line, which was cut a bit short because the security people were trying to shut it down after the show. I have to apologize again – being an aircraft mechanic / geek, my need to have hands on the airplanes in there pretty much overrode the need to take pictures! As an aside – the SBD, Hellcat and Corsair all had panels that were left in the original paint installed somewhere on the airplane so you could see what they looked like. I thought it was a nice touch. My friend told me all the airplanes on the flight line had flown in. It’s tough to see them sitting out there rotting, so I hope someone has plans for another hangar to get them all inside.
I visited the museum again a week ago and will post those pics when I get home, as well as those I took on a couple of other visits I made. Enjoy!
47 additional images. Click to enlarge.