Inger and Jeff Latreille
So Many Planes, So Little Time
~Wednesday, February 9, 2022~
After taking a few moments to plan out the rest of our time here in Tucson, we decided we were overdue for a museum tour. The Pima Air & Space Museum fit the bill and a bonus………they allow dogs, even inside. About a 30-minute drive from our campground, you certainly can’t miss this 80-acre indoor/outdoor museum filled with over 400 historical aircraft. It is one of the largest non-government funded aviation air and space museums in the world and has been open to the public for 45 years.
Because the hangars shut down 30 minutes prior to closing, we decided to start with those and do the outside tour the second half of our visit. Once we got our trusty map, we were off to Hangar 1, the largest of the 4 and built in 1982. In total, there is 250,000 square feet of hangar space in which to tour. The first hangar has an emphasis on pop-culture and iconic airplanes such as sea and reconnaissance planes, and highlights women in aviation and the great paper airplane project. This hangar is so large, you could spend the entire day in just this one building. The number of planes was incredible.
Even Sadie found the tour interesting, especially the planes with propellers where she wanted to sniff and get a closer look
at them for some reason. And of course she’d never turn down any attention she was given by a visitor. You could certainly identify the aviation aficionados there, checking out every detail of an engine, inspecting the wings of a jet or sharing old flying stories with their buddies.
The second hangar highlighted WWII aircraft, and photographs/artifacts illustrating contributions by black aviators. The third hangar presented aircraft from the Pacific Theater of WWII, training aircraft and Kamikaze aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army and Japanese Air Force as well as their flight gear and uniforms. The fourth hangar, which was completed in 1994, contained weapons, vehicles, and actual combat veteran aircraft from WWII.
A large number of the museum’s aircraft are displayed outside and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect to see them all……mid 70’s and no wind!! I can’t say that we’ve ever been under the belly of a 747, until today.
It’s a little different than simply boarding one. Next to the 747 were abandoned aircraft used as canvases for art, called the Boneyard Project. And recently the museum has acquired 77 acres for the construction of the Tucson Military Vehicle Museum, housing mostly land vehicles.
In the end, the only thing we didn’t get to see was the Space Gallery. We just spent too much time in the first building, having to rush a little toward the end. Definitely a worthwhile stop, even if you are not an enthusiast. But for those of you that are, the museum offers a live stream of the grounds at https://pimaair.org/exhibits-and-aircraft/live-stream/.
Back at the “ranch”, we enjoyed an evening of phone calls with our peeps, watching Olympic highlights and cooking. As always, it was great catching up with my BFF. I sure hope we can work out a time for her to meet us on the road in 2022. While we were tuned into the Olympics, witnessing Americans Chloe Kim and Nathan Chen win GOLD!!, Jeff was making a gold medal worthy dinner called Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Tomato & Burrata. Lately, I’ve been saving some amazing looking dishes on Instagram. We each take a stab at them. But if we feel they’re an 8 to a 10, I’ll type up the recipe to our liking (Instagram directions are not always the best), so that we can eventually put them in our binder. If it’s not binder worthy, we don’t save the recipe. Oh, and yes, the gnocchi got a 10!! 🌟