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US Air Force Museum

WWII Air Power Gallery
Early Years Gallery
Cold War Era
Modern Flight
Assorted Exhibits

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Bockscar Boeing B-29 Superfortress at the United States Air Force Museum
Click here for a panorama of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Shoo Shoo Baby at the US Air Force Musuem

You can visit the US Air Force Museum (or the National Museum of the USAF as it is now called) in Dayton, Ohio (on the grounds of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base). It has to be the most exciting aviation or military museum I've ever visited, and I've visited a few. There is so much to see, and several different hangars house the following exhibits:

Air Power Gallery - WWII era aircraft. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress Boxcar that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki is in this gallery
Early Years Gallery - Biplanes from pre to post WWI, early metal aircraft from the 20s and 30s
Cold War Gallery - Aircraft of the cold war from 50s through today's stealth aircraft. The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber and Convair B-36 Peacemaker are the most spectacular aircraft in this hangar
Modern Flight Gallery - Korea and Vietnam era aircraft with a sprinkling of later planes. The standout aircraft in this gallery is the Vietnam Era Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. There is some overlapping of jet age aircraft types in the galleries

The US Air Force Museum also has sections dedicated to Space and Missiles, the Aviation Hall of Fame, the outdoor aviation park, a WWII era nissen hut and control tower, Presidential Aircraft (located off site on the Air Force Base via shuttle bus), various smaller exhibits, and an IMAX Theater.

I think they recommended you allow 4 hours for the National Museum of the United States Air Force. If you just walk through and don't stop to see or read anything I think that's about right. I spent 3 days at the museum and still didn't see everything, but I did spend a lot of time taking photographs. There are an awful lot of aircraft and aviation related exhibits to see. I had planned on spending two days but midway through the second I realized it was not enough. There are a number of things I didn't have time to see, like the nissan hut and control tower and also the Presidential Aircraft. Just one IMAX feature was over an hour. I'd give it 2 days if you are really into aviation. More if you want to shoot a lot of photographs, and if you do you MUST bring a tripod (they are permitted and will VASTLY improve your results)! Flash is allowed but the distances are too great for even lighting. Also the lighting is too marginal for hand held shooting, even if braced. I had to shoot as slow as a full second for some of the darker exhibits. There is a decent cafeteria on site so there's no need to leave during the day. Most everything is handicapped accessible and the admission is free. The museum is on the outskirts of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, and if you're lucky you might see a C-5 Galaxy or some other cool military jet do a take off, landing, or fly by. I've tried to give a feel of what the museum is like in these pages, but there is plenty more that I didn't include or even see. I hope you enjoy these pages, or better yet make the trip out to Dayton!

Click here for panorama of the view as you first enter the WWII Air Power Gallery with the B-29 BOCKSCAR