Saturday, October 11, 2008

It could have been worse...

...when photographer D. and I went down to San Diego this morning to cover a story. The story itself both irritated and depressed me, as I knew it would, but after getting more than our fill of that, we both realized that we were only a few steps from the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

I had never been in the place, though I've been outside it many times. I love aircraft -- more, even, than I despise what we were there to see -- so we went in.

It was wonderful.

Never mind that there was a big "Star Trek" exhibition going on. I don't care. But there were museum volunteers everywhere, and we stopped to talk to one elderly gentleman who was a World War II vet and was explaining some photographs he had there. I looked at one, and it stirred memories. "Is that a PBY?" I asked. "My father flew one in submarine patrols out of Coronado [just a few miles away] during the early part of the war."

He, too, had flown PBYs and we had a wonderful chat. He was stationed in the Eastern Pacific giving aerial support to the Marines. Thus, he knew how many cases of beer a PBY could carry -- a closely held military secret -- and we had a nice talk.

I mentioned that I regretted not having seen a real PBY, and he pointed toward the building's rotunda area.

We walked in and, lo and behold, there was a Consolidated PBY (built in San Diego)...



Nearby, a 1928 Ford Trimotor, once known as the "Tin Goose." I've flown in one (no, I'm not that old; it was only four years ago)...



Also in this area, a MIG-17, the second-generation Soviet jet fighter...



And a McDonnell-Douglas F-4J/5 Phantom II (built in Long Beach, near where I live at present)*...



Naturally, one of the most prominent displays is of San Diego's first truly famous aircraft, the Ryan monoplane that Charles Lidbergh used to become the first man to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in 1927. This is a replica of the original (created with the aid of some of the men who built the "real" one), and is fully flyable...



There will be more pictures. The place fascinated me, made me feel the trip was worth taking, and we didn't leave until the museum was ready to close for the day....

* The fountain and pool seen in a couple of shots here are a clue to the building's history. It was built by the Ford Motor Company in 1935 as part of San Diego's California Pacific International Exposition to showcase the company's cars. The pool, if seen from above and at a slight distance, replicates the famous art-deco "V8" badge many Ford cars of the period carried.

8 comments:

Puuzlepeace said...

What a wonderful boost for your psyche! Glad you got to connect over your father's history, I'm sure it shows he's thinking of you.

John0 said...

I need to check that place out
We probably crossed paths. I was north of town on a secret mission between 630 am and 1030 am

Birdie said...

isn't that place great? I have been there a few times, of course, so I don't bother any more (besides, the entrance fee is ridiculous).

My old dance group that I always visit when home is located just a few buildings away across from the hospitality houses.

Kim said...

Wow! Great photos Scrib.

Anonymous said...

And we share a love of airplanes, too. What a guy!

The San Diego museum is fantastic, I agree. Another good one is the Museum of Flight in Seattle, probably the best of 'em all (my opinion). One I haven't seen that I would love to is the Udvar Hazy (sp?) at Washington Dulles airport.

Your pics were, as usual, excellent. Thanks for the tour. :)

S

sugarcane said...

I'm glad you had such a good time there. I'm guessing you probably needed some time free of all the daily stressors of life.

DAL said...

I love planes. The more I'm looking than riding in, the more I love 'em. Nice shots, Scribbs.

joan said...

What fun! Great pictures. A couple of my uncles were WWII pilots. The last one passed away this year.

Nice to see all these old planes preserved.