This amazing museum has one of the largest assembly of aircraft anywhere in USA. There are over 500 planes beginning with the earliest attempts up to the latest jets used to train the current Navy pilots. The history of naval aviation is traced by the aircraft examples and intriguing stories of heros and their accomplishments. This base is also the home of the Blue Angels – the world famous Navy demonstration team who train in the skies off the coast here much of the year. They do however relocated in the winter to a base in Southern California so we did not see them during our stay here. We plan to arrange that next fall on our return from the West.
We exhausted ourselves the first visit but we enjoyed a guided tour conducted by a retired naval aviator that was very informative and gave us a great foundation for viewing the exhibits on a second visit. There are two large buildings filled with exhibits and an area called the bone yard where more than 300 planes are parked. The museum conducts a tour of that area via trolley car. IMAX theater movies and flight simulators add to the experience. We did several simulations such as experiencing a landing on a carrier flight deck and a Blue Angels flight demo – great fun – don’t miss them!
Several of the aircraft have been recovered from Lake Michigan where they were used as training aircraft during WWII. That story was fascinating and a valuable insight into war preparedness. The Women in Naval Aviation exhibit was particularly interesting – from women in administrative roles to the first female fighter pilots flights suits – clearly women have been an integral part of the history of flight in the USA. We plan to make a third visit to see the bone yard and an IMAX movie before we depart this area. This is a well organized museum if you do a tour and get some explanation – otherwise it would be overwhelming and intimidating. The museum is free to all but loves your contribution. It relys on foundation and fund rain get for support and receives minimal tax dollars for support.
Photographs of our visits will follow this posting.