Monday, October 07, 2013

Rainy Day, Nothing to Do, Let's Check Out Warbirds

This vehicle is almost, but not quite, as fast as a Speed Four.
Better armed, though.
The weather this weekend was not conducive to riding. Well, let me rephrase that: my rain gear sucks and I didn't care to get soaked and cold this weekend, so the bike stayed parked.

Which left me with idle hands.

Well, I've already discovered that going window shopping is a very bad activity for me. Going to look at motorcycles would have just been risking my finances. So instead, I decided to grab my brother Noodles and go look at airplanes.

It's funny how challenging it can be to find an aviation museum when you need one, but we came across the details for the Commemorative Air Force museum at Fleming Field in South St. Paul. We went, expecting a museum with a few well-preserved airplanes safely tucked into bed behind velvet ropes.

What we found was a working hangar with airplanes that are currently flying on a regular basis. Airplanes a curious biker can climb right into, if so inclined. Airplanes a biker could even get a ride in, with a little advance notice.

Well, neither of us were expecting such an opportunity, so we just had to make do with climbing all over and into the airplanes.

The volunteers were happy to see us and show us around, though they were all curious how we had heard about them. Apparently there had been a recent article in the newspaper about them, so the prior weekend they had been very, very busy. Otherwise they barely get any visitors. Which is a shame, because how many air museums let you climb into the cockpit of a B-25J bomber?

The museum has limited hours, but is absolutely worth a visit if you happen to be in the area on a Saturday.

9 comments:

Richard M said...

Thank you for the suggestion. We'll be in St. Paul in a couple of months visiting my wife's youngest son in college so there may be time for a little exploring.

Steve Johnson said...

Cool. I've never been big on airplane museums because they won't let you in them. Sounds like this is an awesome place.

bob skoot said...

Lucky:

I think it would be neat to be able to climb into the plane and look around. and maybe also go down into that gun turret. As you say, most of the time you are only allowed to look and not touch

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

mq01 said...

its sooooooo much fun to get hands on like that! you'll have to go back and try one on for size...meaning fly, of course.

Trobairitz said...

Awesome. A great way to spend the day when you can't ride.

I love going to see old airplanes. Most museums around here are all look no touch.

Charlie6 said...

An aircraft museum that encourages you to crawl around the inside of their aircraft? Outstanding!

Tina Walker said...

So fricken cool Lucky!

I actually sat in the cockpit of the Spruce Goose, if you remember what that was. They had it on display in Long Beach many years ago.

Sounds like a very cool place.

Smooches,
Sash

Canajun said...

Sounds like a place I could spend some serious time. Good find!

Lucky said...

RichardM - If you've got time, give me a shout and we can meet up for coffee while you're here.

Steve Johnson - It's pretty cool. I've found that often fly-ins are more fun than museums (although I still like museums) because the planes are all right there, you can walk right up and take a good hard look at them. It's like going to a car show.

Bob Skoot - Noodles climbed into both of the turrets (nose and tail) and thoroughly enjoyed it, though he also said he'd hate to have to do that every day.

mq01 - I love getting hands on! Yes, I'm already counting my pennies to see if I can afford a flight. Or three.

Trobairitz - Well, the next time you visit the middle coast, you'll have to check this place out. Have you been to the airplane museum in Tillamook? I visited it, but I arrived too late and they were closed already.

Charlie6 - Yeah! It's pretty awesome when one of the volunteers says "go ahead and climb up in it."

Tina Walker - Yeah, I know about the Spruce Goose. Cool! I think I heard it's in Oregon now, though I'm not positive about that.

Canajun - I'm amazed that they aren't busier with visitors than they are. I think if the word gets out, things will pick up there.