Monday, April 11, 2011

Up up and away.

As a kid I loved all things mechanical; typical DNA-ingrained "boy" stuff I suppose. I enjoyed cars, trucks, airplanes and helicopters. Not too much later I was infatuated with GI-JOE, Air Wolf, Blue Thunder, Transformers and other Japanese anime involving mechs (Voltron, Robotech, Gundam, etc.). When I was in 8th grade, I had the great opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Museum in Florida. I didn't have the pleasure of witnessing a shuttle launch in person, which is on my bucket list, but I still had a great time learning more about what mankind did to achieve the goal of getting to the moon as well as the science and experimentation behind it. I recently had a excursion that reminded me of being a child, hungry for information on flying machines, and got to share in the experience with a few good friends of mine. It was a trip to the Patuxent (Pax) River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, MD.

A southern Maryland visit to a good friend that moved for work, a couple weeks ago, led to an impromptu tour of the Pax River NAS. Before heading home we visited a place where I could take some pictures, the Pax River Naval Air Museum. The weather was cloudy and ended up raining pretty heavily, which unfortunately kept me from getting a good outside shot of the building, but before that happened I was able to get a few images of some of the airplanes I grew up seeing in videogames, movies and anime, which was quite a treat.

After wrapping up our walk-through of the retired aircraft parking lot, outside, we moved indoors to see the rest of the museum. There were flight simulators, model planes & aircraft carriers and more importantly some display cases showing the equipment used during the initial exploration of how much g-force the human body could handle, back in the 1950s. The equipment test pilots and scientists were using at that time (open cockpit rocket propelled sleds on train tracks) to test g-force resistance was nothing short eyebrow raising. The human spirit needed to sacrifice ones life for the sake of progress for future generations is a very powerful thing. Aircraft equipment from 60 years ago was brilliant yet crude in ways, which is typical of all early technology efforts in hindsight, but looking up at what rules the sky today helps you realize how important these baby steps were.

If you find yourself in southern Maryland and would like to check out the Pax Naval Air Museum, get all the information you need here to arrange a visit.

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