I do not blog much from my personal experiences, but I wanted to share this great museum.
My family and I went to the Minnesota Air National Guard Museum on May 9th, it is open to the public only 2 times a month or less. They have lots of planes and aviation items to look at. I do not know much about military aviation, but even if you are not into that sort of thing… It is a great experience for everyone!
We started at this big plane, a C130 A-model that was built in 1958. The gentlemen sitting inside the cockpit told us lots of great things about the plane and that they had to redo some of the items. It was once delegated to a scrap heap but the Air National Guard said they would have it and it was brought up to flying condition before resting here. The gentlemen had flown a plane similar to the one we were in. It was huge!! I couldn’t even fit it in the camera frame.
We moved on to the next planes, there was a fighter jet that you could sit in. It was an F4 Phantom! It was amazing sitting in this plane. The pilot came over and started telling me lots of interesting things about this aircraft and that he flew this similar plane in the Vietnam War! There were two kinds of F4 fighter jets. There is one that only takes recon and surveillance photos. Then there is the fighter/bomber version. The one with the cameras in it is so interesting. This particular F4 has 7 cameras inside the jet. The camera shutter is not fast enough for the jet so they sped the film speed up to compensate for the jet speed to a point where it can be read. Crazy!
We moved onto a newer model fighter jet F16. Very different from the last model. Instead of having the controls on the sides, they have everything right in front of them on the HUD (heads up display) so they can keep their heads forward while they are flying. When the pilots talk about the planes.. they do not call it the f16 or f.. what not. They call this one Block 57, depending on the make of the plane. This pilot told me lots of great facts as to how it flies. Lots of information that is too much to tell in a blog. You have to go and experience it for yourself.
We moved on to inside the museum, where they have all the different helmets, planes, gears and models of planes they used in the different wars. There was a helicopter we could sit in and experience how the troop were transported. The seats are removable so if they needed to put a wounded soldier in the helicopter they could put the gurney right inside. Typically they had no doors on the helicopter, so that they were always ready to use their guns so they did not have to open any of the doors.
The guns were very fascinating as well. The volunteer explained that the guns used in the 20’s and 30’s were much smaller and only shot 300 per minute. For the planes back then, that is all they could hold for such a small plane. Then when aircraft were built much bigger (gun on the right), those guns shot 500 per minute and the bullets was much larger. They wanted something that could shoot much quicker and faster so they went back to the civil war days… They designed the barrels like to old guns they use to use. They got less hot and they were much quicker to shoot. This Gatling gun shot 900 – 1000 rounds a sec!! WOW that is fast!! The bullets were huge.
We looked at the simulators and a newer model of the C130 I typed about earlier. Wow!! What a big difference from the first plane, lots more room and everything was more confined to the top of the plane. It was amazing what technological advancements do.
Lastly, we went to go look at a C-97G STRATOFREIGHTER. It was huge! My son, husband and I looked so tiny next to it. You have to see it to know what I am talking about.
It was a great family experience and I am so glad I went. So much knowledge that all of these pilots have and how nice it is to have them share this with the people who come and see these planes. Please go and see these wonderful planes and definitely sit in the planes if you can. What a great experience that you may never get to have again. Here are some dates that they have open to the public…
May 23 – June 20 – July 18
Go to their website for more of the open events. Enjoy it!! I know I did! http://mnangmuseum.org/