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Experience Life as a WWII Fighter Pilot of the USAF Museum’s Air Park

Written by on Friday, April 6th, 2012

Today, we reach the final leg of our two-week-long virtual tour through the historic National Museum of the United States Air Force. We’ve traced the history of the USAF from its humble beginnings, through its pivotal role in WWII, to its massive technological overhaul during the Cold War. With a full appreciation of the history of the USAF, we can head outside to the Outdoor Air Park and gaze upon some of the Air Force’s largest aircraft.

The massive C-141C is the biggest aircraft on display here, though it is still a bit smaller than the B-52D Stratofortress in the WWII exhibit. This variant had enhanced avionic controls over other C-141 models, and this hefty 144,000 lb could more than double its weight in cargo, carrying its load as far as  6,000 miles.

One of the more recognizable WWII cargo aircraft, the C-119J “Flying Boxcar” earned its name due to its somewhat unusual shape. Many C-119s were used to deploy cargo or troops with parachutes, but this C-119J variant was used to retrieve space capsules that had fallen back to Earth in mid-air.

Also on display is a NKC-135A Stratotanker, an aircraft specially designed to accommodate high gross weights for military aerial refueling missions. The KC-135A was such a successful aerial refueler that it became the standard aircraft for nearly all refueling missions. Before retiring to the museum, this specific KC-135A was modified for laser buy tadalafil 10mg testing. During its service, the experiments it hosted used lasers to successfully destroy five AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

Standing in stark contrast to these US aircraft is the Ju 52, a German cargo and bomber aircraft that served the Nazi Luftwaffe. While the Ju 52 or “Iron Annie” was eventually replaced by more advanced bombers, its simple and reliable design made it a favorite transport aircraft among the Germans. In fact, Adolf Hitler himself temporarily used a Ju 52 as his own personal aircraft.

One of the most interesting features of the Air Park is not an aircraft at all, but a building. The museum has a replica Nissen hut, which were widely used during WWII because they could be built quickly and cheaply. Despite the fact that Nissen huts did a notoriously poor job of keeping out the infamous British weather, US airmen often viewed these compact enclosures as oases of comfort and camaraderie.

The grounds also hold a replica WWII AF Control Tower. Similar towers were built throughout Great Britain during WWII to accommodate US and UK aircraft. The lower level level housed dedicated weather specialists, while the upper floor was reserved for  flight controllers who fed pilots vital weather information and flight clearances. Together, the Nissen hut and the Control Tower can give visitors a glimpse of what day-to-day life would have been like for US airmen during WWII.


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