Sean's USAF Museum Excursions


I look at pictures all day
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24 January 2006
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I'll likely be heading to the USAF Museum in November, figured I'd let you guys in on it. Let me know if you have any photo requests; due to when the trip is scheduled I won't be able to hit the restoration facility unfortunately, but I do plan on spending the whole day at the Museum and the Annex. Looking forward to seeing the new F-22A and MiG-29 displays that have been added since my last visit.
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I went to the museum to get pics for the F-106 tailhook but they all turned out black. If you google phil juvet, then
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Sorry 'bout that.Not easy for the nearly blind. My pics were black, but go to Phil Juvet site and select aircraft detail photos,then select F-106. There are some good pics of the tailhook, but probabll not in the detail you need. I will attempt to attach a few pics I have obtained from sites long forgotten by me.


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Would it be possible to check on accessibility of the research archives? It has been a number of years since going there and sometimes a first person report is a lot more valuable than E-mail replies.

Thanks in advance,

Artie Bob
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Oddly, I have not accessed the research area at NASM, but I'm going to give it a shot. If I don't get what is needed, SOC might have better luck on his visit.
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My wife took some pics using the same camera I used 3 weeks ago. They're not all that good. Only two are within the 768kbs criteria. I'll send them and if they're deemed worth it, I'll have to figure out how to resize the rest of them (isn't that pathetic?) There are nine pics remaining--all over 800 kbs.

I contacted a friend of mine who just retired form volunteering at the Technical Order office at NASM. He says he recalled seeing a TCTO which would install the tailhook on the F-106. It was in a stack of boxes yet to be filed and amongst a two year backlog when he left. He keeps trying to get me to volunteer in his place. He also informed me that there was only one person in the research area (also a volunteer) which is why you have to have an appointment of sorts to access their files. I wont volunteer for the research area unless my life is threatened.


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OK, that trip fell completely through, sorry about that. Here's the (totally massive) upside: in about a week and a half I'll be living, for the next few years at least, around an hour from the museum.

Willing to go and take obscure detail shots? Yes.

Willing to go hit up the research archives for assorted weird projects? Yes.

Due to where I'll be located (near Indianapolis) and my total lack of ability to find gainful employment, I have decided to start back to school in the fall for my PhD. In the interim I'll be spending most of my time working on my blog site, and trying to resist the urge to go visit the USAF Museum once a week simply to stare at the awesomeness that is, of course, the YF-23. So, get your ideas/wants/requests/etc lined up and listed here, because I am going to be spending a TON of time at the museum in the very near future.

And yes, I really am heading out that way, and really will be there for a few years, so there won't be any "what happened to..." issues this time around. Again, aplologies for totally forgetting about the requests I'd gotten the last time I thought I was going. And, if there are any amusing places to go visit that I think of while I'm in the midwest, I'll let you guys all know.
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SOC said:
that is, of course, the YF-23

Sean, then I'm completely sure what coulple of dozens forum members will ask you to do...=)
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Well, any pictures/drawings you may find in the archives of the interior of the XB-42 would be welcome. I have a few I was able to recently acquire through the AAHS. Preferably the version with the single canopy.

I've also been looking for interior pics/drawings of the XR-12 Rainbow, the Douglas B-7, and the YRB-49.

Of course, flight manuals and test flight data of any of those planes would be useful as well. I keep meaning to go to the USAF museum and do some research myself, but I'm not sure what that entails and how to set it up or what to expect.
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I'll be heading to the museum tomorrow for a walkaround and photo shoot of anything new and interesting. No archives or restoration trip this time, I haven't had enough time (or a stable enough address) to write the archive people for access. That'll definitely be the next trip. Post whatever you want here, like Sundog did above, and I'll keep track of this thread.
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Sean, if possible -

YF-23 (extremely interested in panel lines and rivets in area betveen intake and weapon bay and BL etched suck panel, marked on attached scetch)
Tacit Blue

Thank you anyway!


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That's easy enough. I'll probably fill a whole 2GB card with just the YF-23. BoP, TACIT BLUE-anything in particular different from what I sent you already?
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SOC said:
That's easy enough. I'll probably fill a whole 2GB card with just the YF-23. BoP, TACIT BLUE-anything in particular different from what I sent you already?

Just walk around and shoot, shoot 'em till the card is full)))
Pretty sure that BoP will be less job as it hanging and give you few angles to shoot from. Of course, its complicated and barely seen panel lines pattern at bottom is interesting stuff.
Tacit Blue - landing gears, wingtips and interesting place at fuselage/wing intersection, exhaust (hardly seen), V-tails and its interesting wingtips, cockpit...
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Alright, I'm about to head off and clean the camera for tomorrow's trip. Here's what I have on my plan:

YF-23A (general views and detail shots)
TACIT BLUE (detail shots)
BoP (detail shots)
X-40 (general and detail shots)
AIM-4/26 (general and detail shots)
MiG-29 (general and detail shots)
XV-3 (general and detail shots)
Avrocar (general and detail shots)

Stuff in bold represents the most amusing exhibits that have been added since the last time I visited. Might get other exhibits, might not. I've got 6GB of memory going with me, but no tripod, so shooting in the Cold War gallery may be a little problematic due to asinine lighting and a non-IS lens (only my telephoto is IS currently). If you want something else, either wait until next time (which will definitely be combined with a restoration division tour and possibly an archives visit) or let me know what you want. I might have it already, I've got a ton of photos.
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Yes looking forward to the BoP photos.
All the photos I took in the cold war gallery were bad, it would be difficult without a tripod.
Light conditions are indeed a challenge.
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Got the Avrocar, got the MiG-29, got the BoP. Didn't get the rest, as when I went in for the 1345 roll call for the ride to the Annex, I was told that they had closed off the R&D side as they were moving things around. That figures! This has happened to me before with the Cold War hangar. Anyway, I'll sort the photos and post a list of everything I shot. I'll be going back in 3-4 weeks, so the rest of the aircraft will have to wait until then.
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SOC said:
I was told that they had closed off the R&D side as they were moving things around.

Presume they move it to more illumined place in request of one of SPF members ;)
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Actually, the R&D hangar is probably the easiest to shoot in. If it's sunny outside, a lot of light gets in through the hangar doors, and it's not internally lit retardedly like the Cold War hangar is.
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Right, I'll be trying this again on Sunday. My plan so far is to head right over to the R&D hangar and shoot the YF-23, TACIT BLUE, and the X-40. I'll give them a call on Saturday to see if they're going to have it closed or not, and if so, I'll have to put it off (again). But hopefully not. As before, let me know if there's anything in particular you want a photo or twenty of. My plan right now is to hit the R&D hangar as early as possible. Then I'll either wander around shooting other targets, or possibly even head home for the day. So if you do want something, make sure and let me know, as I should have a lot of spare time to spend out there if I plan it right (and get up early enough in the AM to get there and signed up for an R&D tour before 1400).

For those of you not paying full attention, here's the museum's website, which has a list of all of the aircraft on display in the various areas:

I still intend to do the restoration tour thing, and an archives trip, but the former has to be convenient to my schedule and the latter takes time to get approved, so they're still in the future. But hopefully, this weekend I'll finally be able to go and shoot the YF-23A!
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Sean - do they still have that X-30 NASP large scale model on display (in 1994 it was proudly displayed at the entry hall)?
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Don't think so, but I'll ask around and look to see if I can find it stuck in a corner somewhere.
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I thought I had taken a photo of the X-30 mockup in the past, here at Le Bourget in 1989.


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Oh yeah! I remember that one! Those were the days, when there still was a US Pavillion... and there seemed to be a bright future ahead! (and remember, the F-117A had been revealed only weeks before by the press!)
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Oh, nice! That's the early NASP mockup!
Meantime, USAFM had 1/10 scale model of final spatula-nose convergent configuration
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flateric said:
Sean - do they still have that X-30 NASP large scale model on display (in 1994 it was proudly displayed at the entry hall)?

According to it is located at U.S. Space Camp program facility in Huntsville, Alabama. (Click on the "Birds Eye" image for larger view.) Don't know if that's currently the case, though.
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And, a bit late, but thanks for posting this picture, I didn't know there was a large scale model of the original NASP configuration also. If anyone finds any pictures of this model from other angles I would be very pleased to see them. The duPont baseline vehicle looks very nice, too bad it was technologically a non-starter.

Machdiamond said:
I thought I had taken a photo of the X-30 mockup in the past, here at Le Bourget in 1989.
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They don't have the NASP model anymore, but I did get in today and shot almost 200 photos of the YF-23. I didn't get to the BOP, they sounded the "get back on the bus" alarm while I was underneath the YF-23 shooting up into the main landing gear housings. But I have an asinine number of photos of every conceivable detail now!
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Here be some shots. Both intake BL screens, the starboard intake and engine inlet trunk, the aircraft itself from off the nose, a shot that belongs on a book cover (I feed my ego regularly) of the jet below the XB-70A, and two shots I thought were amusing as they are from weird angles (really high above the rear end, and underneath the jet between the main gear looking roped off exhibits is great).


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The above are cropped and severely shrunk. I shot 'em with an EOS 30D in full resolution and had to really slice and dice to get them down below 512KB. If anyone wants any of these, send me a message. I've got numerous shots of probably every relevant detail. My idea of "detail" is as follows: marked-up tailfins, landing gear, airframe components (nose, cockpit, etc), inside anything open like the gear bays, and any sort of amusing or interesting protuberance, fairing, panel, or opening. If I don't respond right away don't become irate, I'm out of town until Tuesday night. I clearly have web access, but do have things to do out here instead of my standard sit at the computer for a few hours a day.
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SOC, this is WONDERFUL!!!
Are you going to have a dedicated gallery on Flickr or elsewhere for these? Considering the number of them, they certainly deserve it... Of course, a coffee table book full to the brim with F-23 photos would be a must... do you have contacts with any publisher?
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20 years later, she's still a beauty out of this world
but restoration team was given too much matt paint I suppose - almost all tiny panel lines are gone)))
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So which one of the three is the full scale mock up? two in a museums and one outside the Northrop plant.

! Blooming nice pics by the way, and I'll PM you for a few of them if thats ok.
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just one in museum for now
PAV-2 is at Northrop El Segundo plant
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Correct, PAV-2 was at a museum in Hawthorne, CA, the Western Museum of Flight, but was repatriated by the Northrop guys down the street and restored. There is a mockup around collecting dust, it's the RCS pole model and it is sitting outdoors northeast of the RATSCAT RCS range in New Mexico. That is amusing because it is assumed that Northrop used the Tejon Ranch range for ATF RCS testing.

Ian-send me a PM with your e-mail and I'll contact you tomorrow evening when I've figured out how to best distribute the entire lot.

Stargazer-nope, no publishers around here, but I do have gigabytes on top of gigabytes of photos that I've taken over the years...
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Edit: nevermind, that file hosting site didn't work.
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OK, who knows where I can host a 259MB .zip file?
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