The Space Race~Part 4

17 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

The most amazing aviation museum I visited last year was the “Pima Air & Space Museum and Boneyard in Tucson, Arizona. The museum is amazing, with 150 beautifully restored hangered aircraft, and another 150 static displayed aircraft of all types in their 80 acre outdoor area. That’s also where the U. S. Government has 300 acres of discontinued aircraft of all types (the boneyard) in storage or waiting to be scrapped. What an amazing array of aircraft that is!

1

What makes a lot of these airshows and museums I visit really fun and stand out, is that many of the museum docents dress in period costumes and display a variety of period planes, vehicles and equipment. At one museum I visited, and that really stands out in my memory, is the Fantasy of Flight museum in Polk City, FL. That’s where I met “Rosie the Riveter” & “Penelope the Wing Walker” who were tour guides there and showed me around portions of their museum. What a special treat that is for visitors at that museum!

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As a serendipity on one of my museum trips two years ago, I just happened to be in Albuquerque, NM during the week of their Annual Balloon Fest. Now if you have never attended a balloon fest or seen an IMAX movie of a balloon fest, I want to tell you, that is a spectacle to behold! Hundreds of colorful balloons of all shapes and sizes ascending into a usually beautiful clear blue sky at one time is absolutely spectacular! The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum there in Albuquerque tells the history of how the balloon has evolved, from one of the first methods man used to venture into the sky, and over the centuries, to what the balloon hobby is today.

3

I was reminded of the 1967 song “Up, Up and Away” which starts off with, “Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon…” which DiVoran and I actually did with her folks during one of our many visits to see them in California. It was the occasion of father’s 60th birthday, and her brother invited us to join them for the celebration with a wonderful balloon ride. What a thrill that was! It was very quiet and peaceful.

4

Since I can’t be on the road all the time, I stay close to the aviation community by being a volunteer tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum here in Titusville, FL.   Our small museum has 38 aircraft on display, 7 of which are flyable and 4 which are in one state or another of restoration, plus a vast array of military memorabilia. We even host our own Warbird Airshow every March, which brings a large variety of aircraft to our small TICO Airport & VAC Museum. Each airshow celebrates a different theme and usually includes at least one well-known flying demonstration team like the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angles.

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                                                            —–To Be Continued—–

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