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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Air Force Armament Museum near Fort Walton Beach, FL

The Navy's National Aviation Museum is a well known highlight of the Pensacola area.  But while we were visiting nearby Fort Walton Beach a few weeks ago, we passed by a sign for the Air Force Armament Museum.  Just follow this link and Google should take you to the right spot:

If you know your aircraft, that SR-71 Blackbird near the B-52 at the bottom will jump right out at you.  Or if you are just an average citizen of the Minneapolis area, the SR-71 will undoubtedly stir up memories of the A-12 version of the same plane that used to be located at MSP.

Or you might just look at all the planes in that image on Google and say, "I've got to go there!"

When our son, Terry, was here we went back over for a visit on a rainy afternoon.  Visiting armament museums is not high on Linda's list of fun things to do, even on rainy afternoons.

We arrived at the entrance and found it guarded by a GBU-43  -  also known as the "Mother of All Bombs."
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Inside the museum there are exhibits that cover the history of air force weaponry from World War I to the present.  The history of "smart" bombs makes it worth the trip.  They have origins much earlier than I expected to find.


The building is really too small for the amount of material it contains.  It is difficult, for instance, to get close enough to see the Link Trainer.  This is a favorite of mine since I once had a full instrument panel from a Link in my basement.
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If you are just interested in aircraft and not armaments, there are plenty of them here.  There is even a cutaway view of the largest piston engine, produced for the B-36 among others.
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Between the inside and the outside you can get a clear picture of the evolution of jet fighter aircraft from the P-80 through the F-104 and F105.  It is interesting to note the growth in size of a fighter over that time period.

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Notice that the F-80 weighed 8,420 pounds empty while the F-105 started out at 26,855 pounds.


Outside, there are quite a few bombers in addition to the fighter aircraft ranging from a B-17 through B-47, B-57 and B-52.
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If you have an interest in the Korean War, the museum has both an F-86 and a MIG-15 on display outside.  There is a good comparison of the two.
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1 comment:

Jane said...

Hi Tom,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Fort Walton Beach to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)
Jane