Today I took the family to the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air and Space annex near Dulles. What a day! Unfortunately, neither my camera nor I are up to the challenge of great photography, so you’ll have to take what you can get here at my blog. I really don’t Flickr, but don’t worry — I’ve picked the best photos, which is to say the almost-mediocre ones, for highlights.
We were greeted at the entrance by sculptor John Safer’s 2003 sculpture “Ascent”:
I’ve been to some aviation museums before, but nothing beats the amazing assortment of planes, spacecraft, helicopters, and other paraphernalia at this place. The museum itself is a huge hangar abutted by an observation tower and some conference offices. In it you could get almost close enough to touch this, Eleya’s personal favorite:
(Sorry about the symmetry; I watched too many Kubrick films as a young man.) That plane is the very one that broke the air speed record on its last flight, at the conclusion of which the pilots handed it over to the Smithsonian. How does one do that, anyway? Do you toss the valet the keys? More importantly, how much do you tip?
Notice the manic grin in the next shot as I get next to one of my childhood obsessions:
There was a lot to do there, since they have a couple cool simulators, an IMAX theater, and classrooms. Evie may have decided on a career in sales — here she is being tested on comportment as McDonnell-Douglas’ newest salesgirl:
Finally, we visited the observation tower and watched a few planes land at Dulles — our vantage point was much more striking than the somewhat closer views you get at the terminal. Here are Eleya and the kids looking out at the landscape:
To justify whoring my blog on the Fedora Planet, here’s some computer pr0n — check out those blinkenlights! (Believe it or not, this system was just retired in 1990. Keep that in mind next time you’re belly-aching about your two-year-old ThinkPad!
And finally, for Mr. Blizzard’s benefit, some engine pr0n: