Sunday at the Air Museum
My dad wanted to go to the air museum this weekend. If you ask me, the air museum is the perfect place for someone who hates flying, like me.
The truth of it is that I have been to the New England Air Museum before. At least twice, actually. The first time that I actually remember was a long time ago. Sometime before 1979, since I (vaguely) remember going there before a tornado hit it in 1979. I have been there at least once since the tornado.
Still, it does not seem like the type of place that someone who will not get on a plane would go to. At least, not anymore. The last time I was on a plane was in 1991, flying back from London. Since then, I have concluded that only three people could possibly get me on a plane again: God, Jesus, and Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot for US Airways Flight 1549.
Still, Father’s Day is next week, and my dad did want to go.
I think the draw for him was that they were having a couple of planes in for demonstrations presented by the Commemorative Air Force.
For the weekend, the museum played host to the Fifi, the last remaining B-29 Flying Fortress that still flies. In addition to the World War 2 bomber, there was also a P-51 Mustang at part of the active exhibit.
Now, I’m okay with planes, as long as I’m not in them. Still, it was pretty cool to see these two functioning pieces of history. Even as someone who does not like flying, there is a certain amount
of wonder in seeing them flying, even if only to land.
The real appeal actually was seeing history, and seeing people’s reactions to it. One man drove in from Massachusetts with his son to see the bomber. It turned out that he served on one during World War 2. I watched as he and his son recreated a photo of his younger self in front of the bomber he served on.
Part of the weekend events included being able to sit in the cockpit of the bomber and even go on a short flight. I was edgy enough just being around the planes. I doubt I could have gone inside one. I was even getting nervous when I slipped into the open bomb bay doors and looked inside. There was no way I would ever be able to ride in one.
Still, even with my fear of flying (or, rather, my fear of crashing), I felt a sense of wonder, looking at these planes, and the ones at the museum proper. The first men who looked to conquer the skies were as much the courageous explorers as the men sailed the oceans looking for new lands. Even seeing my dad looking at these artifacts of the airborne era made me think that maybe the idea of flying is not such a scary thing after all.
“I flew in one of these, and one of these,” he told me, looking at a deHavilland U-6A and a Hiller OH-23G. I looked at the Hiller, with its bubble cockpit and a body that looked more like a bunch of pipes rather than an actual helicopter.
On second thought, there is still only three people who could get me to fly again.
- Last B-29 aloft (newsobserver.com)
Posted on June 11, 2012, in Observation, Opinion, Personal and tagged B-29 Superfortress, Commemorative Air Force, Fifi, New England Air Museum, North American P-51 Mustang, observation, Opinion, personal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.