2009 - Day 5
Air Command Warbird Museum
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3 | Day 4 | Day
5 | Day 5 - Part 2
11/17/200 Day 5: VAC Warbird Museum
Tuesday, after the shuttle launch we decided to head up to Titusville
to visit the Valiant
Air Command Warbird Museum. It looked pretty neat on the web
site, and looked pretty small on the google map, so we decided
to stop in. It turned out to be a really awesome museum, and we
got a really great personal tour. The museum is located next to
the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville. Our guide, Erik
Kramer, told us this was one of the busiest helicopter flight
schools in the country, and there was a steady stream of take
off's and landings as we toured the hangers.
started our tour of the main hanger, which was just full of airplanes
from World War 2 to the Vietnam era and beyond. Shortly we met
up with our guide Erik Kramer who did a just masterful job of
telling us all about every single plane in the museum, and about
his background. Erik is a volunteer at the museum, and a former
prisoner of war by the Japanese army in World War 2. His family
owned a plantation in the the Far East and were imprisoned for
not helping the Japanese war effort. He spun a fascinating story
of survival, and was an extremely nice man to talk to.
ME208 was used as a transporter for members of the German military
in World War 2. It is shown in period colors.
guide told us this plane doesn't belong in the museum and should
really be taken out and destroyed :). It is a kit plane, a smaller
scale model of a P51 Mustang. The fighter used by the USA extensively
in World War 2.
plane, the Grumman F4 Wildcat has an amazing history. It was recovered
from the bottom of Lake Michigan, where it was once used in aircraft
carrier take of and landing practice. The plane had to ditch in
the lake. It was recovered from the lake, and restored at the
museum. With the tail number identified, they were able to find
out all the history, and have the pilot who crashed it come visit
for the unveiling of the restored plane. The engine could not
be restored because of the decades of under water corrosion, but
it sits nearby on display. Like many planes used by the Navy at
the time, it is painted blue, and has fold up wings for carrier
we viewed a fully functional B25 Mitchell Bomber. It is in working
condition, as can be seen from the oil pans beneath the engines
to catch any dripping oil. There were actually quite a few of
these oil pans and rags about the museum, as they try hard to
keep as many planes as they can in flight condition.
we walked over to the restoration hanger where we got to see the
C-47 Skytrain Tico Belle being restored. This was truly an amazing
aircraft. Its history includes glider operations for D-Day and
Operation Market Garden at Arnhem, ferrying of supplies for the
battle at Bastogne, and crossing of the Rhine into Germany. She
participated in the Berlin airlift, and was latter transferred
to the Royal Danish Air Force as part of the lend lease program.
In the 80's she was retired and came into ownership of the VAC.
In 2001 she crash landed and is nearing completion of her rebuild.
View the complete history on her VAC
being restored in the hanger is an Avenger aircraft. This plane
is really large, and has folding wings for aircraft carrier service.
Our guide told us that general Motors would sometimes just rivet
up all the electrical access hatches rather than leave them open,
so it is quite a challenge for the men restoring the plane. There
was electrical system restoration work going on at the time we
were there, with lots of schematics out. The guys even had an
old style radio playing nearby, really looked authentic.
planes undergoing restoration included an Vietnam era F4 Phantom.
This T2 Buckeye trainer sat outside on the tarmac at the museum.
we toured the hangers, we could hear the sounds of heavy gunfire
in the distance, which was from a nearby army training facility
in the woods. It was some heavy caliber guns, and added to the
classic World War 2 feeling of the air museum. A nice unexpected
the hanger sat an F105 Thunderchief, F-80/T-33 Shooting Star,
and a Mig-21.
to the hanger we saw the F-86 Sabre jet. Heavily used in the Korean
war, the F-86 scored a 10:1 kill ratio over the russian made Mig-15.
It is a really nice plane, in great condition, and still flying.
F-86 Information page.
the Sabre and Mig jets we viewed some other Vietnam era helicopters
and jets. The UH-1 Huey, and A6 Intruder. We saw the F-101B Voodoo,
and a NASA/DARPA test jet with an odd nose cone for testing different
shaped nose effects on breaking the sound barrier.
saw an actual F-14 Tomcat up close, an F-8 Crusader, A-4 Skyhawk
painted up in the Blue Angels colors, an A-7 Corsair, and lots
of other neat engines and helicopters.
always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available
from my Flickr
photo gallery. Day 5 Part 2 includes our trip to Merritt Island