Air & Space Museum Near Dulles Airport · · PAGE 297.
April 9, 2009: The museum tour
continues on the main floor with this view of the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer designed
and built by the Burt Rutan team at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California. It is
the only custom-built, experimental jet airplane to have flown around the world on two
separate occasions, on one fill-up of fuel. It had one takeoff, one landing in
Kansas with a full trip around the world eastbound, un-refueled, with only one man aboard
- - Steve Fossett. The following year, Steve used this same airplane and flew from
the Shuttle Landing site at Cape Canaveral, Florida with a full load of fuel. This
time the goal was to fly around the world, with the added mission of crossing the Atlantic
Ocean TWICE. The landing on that second trip was in Europe. I also featured
this airplane in this web site on PAGE 154 when it was first
exhibited at Oshkosh in 2005.
I kept this next photo at full size to be sure you could read about the first
Northrop flying wing built in the USA.
Here is the actual airplane on the ground floor of the main hall, directly in
front of the P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter.
This side view gives a better idea of the size of this flying wing. The
Japanese "Betty" bomber is in the background in this photo.
The SR-71 "Black Bird" is hard to see in this light and that was the
intent of the design, as well as being the fastest air-breathing jet airplane revealed by
the US government. Since this aircraft type is retired, what has replaced it?
Here is the business end of the F-105 "Thunder Chief" also known as
the "Thud" when it was in service during the Viet Nam War.
The Chance-Vought Corsair was the premier US Navy and Marine Corps fighter near
the end of the second world war. The Japanese called it "Whistling Death"
due to the sound it made in flight. The Black Bird becomes more visible from this
higher vantage point.
The Curtiss P-40 was used by the "Flying Tigers", a group of American
mercenary pilots defending China against the Japanese air force before the war officially
began for the United States on December 7, 1941. This was the type of American
fighter plane that also defended the Hawaiian Islands during the Japanese sneak attack on
Pearl Harbor. Only a few were able to get airborne to face the Japanese attackers on
that tragic day.
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