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Unusual California museum

..is anything normal in California Anymore anyways ?

A few weeks ago I met up with a friend at Moffet Field in Sunnyvale California.

I tought to share on imodeler some of the unusual artefacts one can see there

This place may be on your bucket list on places to visit if you come to the Golden Sate !

Formerly operated by the US navy for anti-submarine Patrols , now by NASA Ames whom leases 1000 Acres to a Google Subsidiary ( planetary Ventures ) whom operates as its private airfield and where they conduct driverless car tests.

It has the worlds largest freestanding structures, hangars one, Two and three which were built to House the USS Makon airship and others.

The Airship technology did not get a long lease on life even though contrary to the Zeppelins they were filled with non explosive Helium ($!) as opposed to Hydrogen.

After the accident and loss of both the Macon and Akron that idea was abandoned and the airfield was named after Moffet whom went down with the Acron. He was a most important person that shaped Navy air, rather than leaving the air arm to the Air Force exclusively. That in itself is a hugely important fact that may have given the US the edge in WW2 Oceanic Theatres

Enjoy the photos with comments. All left to say is that Hangar one had it’s cladding removed to remove hazardous materials resulting in being able to view the steel Structure and trusses. It will take Millions and Millions to repair and re-clad it. Paid by Google ( they can afford it !)

the Moffet field Museum is Extremely well run run by volunteers. There are several aircraft and restaurations ongoing. Unfortunately the California sun in beating the collection up. Indoors the museum is totally amazing. It displaying artefacts, uniforms , photos of navy Air .One could spend hours there Pouring over the numerous cases including lots of models and a miniature railroad that was built by Bored Pilots on standby !

Tip. The golf course is open to the Public and has a simple restaurant. A throw back to simpler days far away from the madness and traffic of nearby Silicon Valley.

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.


21 responses

  1. Great photos Bernard,
    I heard about U-2 testing on a carrier, would not have believed it if I did not see the videos.
    That dirigible hanger is a great visual effect.
    Thanks for posting.

  2. An awesome place to be, Bernard @bernardbedeur
    Had to look up the video for a U2 carrier landing as well.
    Never thought that it could be possible.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi John. Yes, for sure Moffet field Is Simply An amazing place. I tried to go to the NASA windtunnel. But was politely told to leave by armed security guards. The place where they tested the Mars descenders’ super sonic parachute. Not for the public !

  3. Great post @bernardbedeur good to see a fellow countryman over there, letting us enjoy these marvels of engineering!

  4. What a great visit, my friend @bernardbedeur! The exhibits themselves are amazing, I got to read the stories of Akron and Macon!
    Everything in this museum is beautifully strange!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. I've "driven" past that location when I've visited SF. IIRC, that is where I encountered some of the worst traffic in the SF area.

    It's too bad because I missed out on an interesting engineering marvel

    • I hear you Dan. It took a Very Long and circuitous way to get home to the North Bay after that visit because of The insane traffic.

      One can attribute this Situation Partly to the success of high-tech Company’s attracting lots of people to work in this world and revolutionising Society in the process.

      At least google is paying for the upkeep Of the airfield and reducing NASA’s maintenance budget by tens of millions of dollars annually !

      I hope you can get there again and plan a visit in.

      Thanks for appreciating the post.

  6. Fascinating article Bernard, the history of America's development and use of rigid airships is quite fascinating. Four were built, Los Angeles, Macon, Akron, and Shenandoah. Only the Los Angeles would be retired the rest were destroyed in crashes due to weather. The Shenandoah would come down in SE Ohio, lots of photographs were taken of the crash scene. The hanger and construction site for the Akron still exists in Akron, Ohio, and though it's not open to the public it can be viewed from the highway. More info and history on that structure can be viewed below. Really nice article, thanks for posting

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodyear_Airdock

    • Thank you Tom. One can not enter Hangar one either due to safety concerns but you can get right up to it behind a fence. I hope they work on re-cladding it again soon. Leaving these structures open to the weather is never a good idea.

      Thanks for filling in the info on the other airships. I have been fascinated by them

      For years. Docking something large like this in the wind just does not work to where you want to go. That said the idea is not dead yet and some day we may be able to see them again used for what they can do. Move heavy and large outsized objects.

  7. Thanks for the virtual tour, Bernard. Cool retro technology.
    The NASM at Dulles has a Curitss F9C-2 that was literally attached to the Macon...
    Hope you don't mind me adding a pic to your post:

  8. Thank you very much for this posting Bernard. I live 45 minutes away and always wondered what was going on at Moffet Field these days so I will make sure I get my butt over there.

    Just so you all know, a quick 15 minute drive north of Moffet on 101 is the Hiller Aviation Museum on the Bay side of the freeway in San Carlos. This is a real gem. Hiller used to make helicopters but the museum is really about the development of flight with lots of great interactive displays, bi-planes etc and of course a few helicopters. Very kid friendly.

    One can hit both Moffet and Hiller easily in one swoop.

    https://www.hiller.org/

    • Thank you Eric for appreciating. I did visit the Hiller museum on an open cockpit day many years ago and hope to get back there sometime soon.

      It’s an outstanding place with rare planes engines and more. There was a visiting Grumman flying Boat. A Mig 15, Can’t remember them all, but there also was the Soviet ground attack equivalent to the US Warthog. Can’t remember the name ...

      Tha greater Bay Area has numerous collections on old airfields. All are on my list to go see , take photos and try to incorporate that into the hundred or so models I would like to build!

      Thank you.

  9. Encapsulating Hangar 1 was never a viable option.

  10. Thank you for the clarification John. I deleted that Suggestion. Come to think of it, when overhead and sluffing off, encapsulating Hazardous materials would not be viable. You must know.
    I have been on projects when vast sums of money were spent not encapsulating , when logically feasible, that this came up for me.
    Thank you.

  11. Thanks for the cool photos, Bernard (@bernardbedeur). I flew into Moffett a couple of times when I was flying C-141s in the 70s and 80s, but never had a chance to look around.

    • Hi George.
      Moffet was kind of a place of mystery of sorts. Visible from the road or inside with restrictions.
      I loved the C-141 . Saw many during Red Bean. we were supposed to be Airdropped with the 509 th. In Italy but That did not happen unfortunately. A jet exit must have been really exiting!
      Thank you for appreciating .

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