The National Air And Space Museum Udvar-Hazy center is an awesome place

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22 Responses to “The National Air And Space Museum Udvar-Hazy center is an awesome place”

  1. Christopher says:

    Clearly the only thing that could make the Udvar-Hazy center in DC better is if a tour guide I once had at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville now worked there. He kept referring to a model of the space shuttle as a “simulated mock-up”.

    I’d want to know whether he’d call an actual space shuttle a “simulated real shuttle” or a “real mock-up”.

    • mappo says:

      The one thing that would make it better would be if it was in DC.  It’s about 40 minutes outside DC in Virginia.

  2. awjt says:

    Seeing the SR-71 was amazing.  But even more amazing, to me, was rounding a corner in an area PACKED with planes, and there she was: the Enola Gay.  That floored me.  My boys had no idea, so I got to explain it all.  It was a great father-sons trip, and such a great museum.

    • mccrum says:

      And it’s soooo big!

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  3. Jim Nelson says:

    Been there a couple of times, and it really is chock full of awesome. Far more WWI – era planes than I’ve ever seen.

    I went with a pack of retired aviation engineers one time, and it was humbling hearing them talk about how they worked on the various planes in the exhibits, or mentioned who had been the designer, or whatnot. Aerospace engineering is a small world – a couple of them knew my dad peripherally…

  4. hhype says:

    I am actually planning a trip for May for my wife and son and me to go to this place.  They have a Space Shuttle!  They have THE Enola Gay, there’s a Concord.  I am pretty excited to go.  Here’s a link to the Space center site - http://airandspace.si.edu/udvarhazy/

  5. Greg Miller says:

    I went there about 8 years ago, and remember coming away with the conclusion that where the main Smithsonian Air and Space museum was designed for the masses, this was designed for the nerds, for those in the industry, in the know. It had all the trivia-worthy craft – the X-35B, the Enola Gay, the Space Shuttle Enterprise. I, as an aerospace engineering undergrad at the time, loved it. So many cool and interesting planes all in one place. 

    But the one that made it for me wasn’t actually on display. Over in the corner, up against the hangar doors, was something under a blue tarp. Something with a rather unique shape and window pattern – SpaceShipOne. So I snapped a couple of pictures of it, and went up to the main desk to ask what it was doing tucked away in a corner under a blue tarp, being ignored by most of the folks there. After some err’s and umm’s they said it was being stored there temporarily while they prepared a home for it at the main Smithsonian. They wished they could show it off, but couldn’t. Weirded me out that they assumed no one would recognize it, and weren’t really making an effort to keep people away from it, just relying on ‘security by obscurity’.

  6. vonbobo says:

    These two locations are my absolute favorite places to be, going there is kind of like a pilgrimage for me. It’s like my Superbowl, or visit to the Louvre, or Cory being at Disney Land I assume. 

    The retro looking sci-fi designs of the rockets and satellites are always a favorite of mine, but the Concorde stole my eyes last visit with those long graceful lines, it’s literally fine art at MACH 2.Their magazine is fantastic as well.

    (For the travelers in the region, I must also recommend the Kansas Cosmosphere as well. They were fortunate to acquire many artifacts from Russia when the Smithsonian didn’t have the room to take it on.. Soyuz capsules are a big draw of course, but they also have smaller pieces like propaganda trophies and posters with that wonderful Soviet space era design.
    http://www.cosmo.org/)  

  7. MTDutch101 says:

     I finally made it there last year, after wanting to go for years. I agree that it does cater a bit more to the real aviation aficionado. I very much enjoyed the missile exhibit, the Enola Gay, and being able to look through the windows into the restoration hangar. Another great aviation stop in that part of the country (more or less) is the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, great collection of flying condition aircraft. The day I went, you could look at everything as close as you wanted (as long as you didn’t touch) and they were flying some of the aircraft.

  8. esquire says:

    I was there a few weeks ago with my 3.5 y.o. who is massively into the space shuttle.  He was over the moon (sorry).  I didn’t realize the Enola Gay was there and got a major case of goosebumps when I realized I was walking right past it.  The sheer number of aircraft in there is stunning, evidenced by the fact that significant pieces (Apollo 11 and the Concorde) are almost afterthoughts – crammed in without much/any fanfare.  It’s a really cool place.

  9. Thomas Parker says:

    great great place, an integral part of our history and heritage, if just not FUN to visit multiple times! like the museum ofhistory and technology in DC. chalked FULL of amazing machines and their impact on the world. 

  10. brucebordner says:

    Here are my shots from just after the real shuttle was installed – http://www.flickr.com/photos/brucebordner/sets/72157629613910706/

    I tried to do a “full tour”, but we never made it to the upper areas…next time for sure!

      It’s an amazing place, and the 14mm lens was fun… It’s very dark, so the lighting is quite dramatic. I just wish I had had more time!

  11. arikol says:

    My wife and I took a trip to DC some years ago and visited the NASM  and the Udvar-Hazy center. My wife is not really that interested in airplanes, but she really enjoyed it and talks about visiting again if we ever go to DC again. It really is that cool, and that historic.  

    Amazing stuff on show there!

  12. jandrese says:

    One thing you rarely see in pictures that I found fascinating was the section on the right side (after you enter) with a history of piston engines in aircraft.  It’s really incredible how primitive the earliest engines were.  They even have one that was installed in a (IIRC) Navy owned Wright Flyer.  The most amazing part about it is that at some point it blew out the crank case and the mechanics literally riveted a plate over the hole and continued to use the engine. 

  13. Anoz says:

    This post only serves to remind me that despite plans to visit this when we went on our trip last year, this was the only Smithsonian museum we missed. Despite my wife’s best efforts, we could not get anyone to take us to this, nor even rent a car (all sold out, for some reason).  No taxi was willing to take us from DC to there. 

    *sigh*

  14. PeaceLove says:

    I love both Air & Space locations but the last time I was at Udvar-Hazy I was unpleasantly struck by how much it seems to glorify the military and its weapons of war. The main Air & Space is much more an epic history of aviation; this one is chock full of war porn.

  15. mikeryz says:

    If you are into airplanes (and not bothered by them having been built/funded/maintained by the military), the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton has about twice as many planes, including Bockscar, a B-36D, an Avro Air Car, a KH-11, tons of retired presidential aircraft, and an R&D hangar full of weird and wonderful prototypes and testbeds. It’s also right next to all the Wright Brothers related sites in Dayton.

    My dad and I left with the general impression that procurement flow used to go something like:
    “Can you build something like this? This would be cool!”
    “Of course we can!”
    “Hmm, this is hard…”
    “OK, how about you build us this instead?”
    “Sounds great”

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