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A Trip To The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (w/pics)  
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 8956 times:

I wouldn't usually do this for a museum visit but since the Udvar-Hazy is a world class museum I thought a report would be welcome on here. Wasn't quite sure which forum was best for this, but since some people have put their spotting trips in here I thought it seemed most at home here.

Having visited the excellent National Air & Space Museum on National Mall in Washington DC back in September 2003 (click for pictures) it was brought to my attention that in December of that year the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center was opening close to Washington Dulles airport. This was to be home to a new generation of aircraft that the Smithsonian had originally had been unable to display due to lack of an adequate facility. Indeed on my flight back to London I had seen the Boeing 367-80, the Air France Concorde and Boeing 307 Stratoliner parked out on the apron awaiting the completion of the hangar for their storage.


Air France Concorde F-BVFA, Air France Concorde and Boeing 307 Stratoliner (Apologies for bad photo, my old camera didn't have a good zoom!)

I planned to make a number of trips that involved flying into Washington Dulles airport in the following year whilst I finished University and I was very keen on making a quick stopover at the Museum.

It had been over two years since the opening of the museum and countless passings of the museum on Route 28 en route to Hampton Roads area, before last week my girlfriend and I finally made the decision to go. A hotel was booked so we could also make a visit to Washington itself on Sunday.

Saturday morning came and we left Richmond in good time to see the whole museum. The drive was uneventful apart from the very last bit where the road up the museum goes right under the end of the approach for runway 01R which you can see in this picture, which was taken as I landed on 01L a few months ago.

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/5237/dsc021206wv.jpg
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

I was expecting the museum to be fairly quiet but this was far from what came about in the end. It appeared as though thousands of Girl Scouts were on some kind of field trip.

It was difficult to know where to start but downstairs seemed the most obvious and is it happened was where a lot of World War I aircraft were on display. Well I think they were, they looked pretty old!

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/1883/dsc026194ps.jpg
The early years of aviation

http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/7305/dsc026221co.jpg
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

There was no set pattern or gallery system, at all, although aircraft tended to be grouped into those of similar background. A natural pathway for us followed the wall of the museum and this meant we got to see a collection of different engines (which was a bit lost on me!) and Korean War Aviation which was down by the large hangar door. I tried to glimpse around the corner to see Dulles itself but a maze of trees blocked the view.

http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/9249/dsc026250wc.jpg
Engine collection

We made our way down the back wall past a lot of German World War II military stuff to what appeared to be more civil related aircraft. Grouped here were the Boeing 367-80 (the 707 prototype for the numpties like me!), the Air France Concorde and Boeing 307 Stratoliner. All of which I'd seen at Dulles parked on the ramp a few years ago.

The amount of aircraft was incredible, not only were they on the floor level but half way to the ceiling, three quarters of the way to the ceiling and right up hanging off the ceiling. Everywhere you looked there was something with wings!

http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/2934/dsc026432uv.jpg
Overview of the Aviation hangar

In the civil aviation area was a collection of models of various aircraft, primarily those of defunct airlines and around this a number of smaller, almost experimental aircraft. The aircraft dated from Junkers Ju-52 and previous right through to the Air France Concorde. An elevator and staircase offered better views of the Concorde and rest of the hangar and it certainly puts the place into perspective when seen from above.

[img]http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/1078/dsc026625ac.jpg[/i]
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 'Enola Gay'

We decided it was a good time to head to the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. This was dominated by the Space Shuttle Enterprise and a few other bits and bobs around it.

http://img392.imageshack.us/img392/7086/dsc026548st.jpg
Space Shuttle Enterprise

To be honest I'm not that big into space exploration and that kind of thing so a lot of it didn't mean much to me. However, there was an astronaut on call! Dr. Tom Jones, who was an astronaut from 1991-2002 (I think) that was signing his new book and he gave a couple of speeches over the day. Listening to his recollections and background in the Air Force was very interesting although when it came to answering questions from the audience the Girl Scouts got priority and we left as the poor guy was left to fend off a barrage of infantile questions  Wink

http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/7824/dsc026572zy.jpg
Dr. Tom Jones - former astronaut on hand to answer questions

We paused briefly for coffee and as it was getting on to early afternoon thought it was time to go up the observation tower for views of Dulles and approaching aircraft. There was a short line that only took a couple of minutes to reach the front of and we were up seven floors in no time. Being between 01R and 01L we had great 360 degree views of the approaching aircraft which seemed to be predominantly UA heavies on 1R and smaller stuff on 1L. From up high though you could see the aircraft turning onto approach and see them fly right by the window and touchdown. Having not been in a control tower before it was rather interesting! If you visit the Udvar-Hazy this is a must although the entrance is quite well hidden so you could easily miss it!

http://img487.imageshack.us/img487/3821/dsc026687fw.jpg
Austrian Airlines A330 landing on 01R


United 747 landing on 01R at Washington Dulles (Apologies for the screaming kids in the background and lack of zoom!)

Down one level in the observation tower was a rather nifty display of ATC, a reconstruction of EWR, but why not have Dulles airport relayed live, albeit with a bit of a delay to censor anything we shouldn't here? That'd have been pretty awesome, channel 9 without having to fly UA  biggrin 

After descending from the tower we thought it would be a good time to join a group tour, they left every 30minutes from beside the SR-71. As I was most interested in the civil aviation stuff we found a tour that had just set off in that very direction. As the tours are free you often get people joining midway through and we were no exception. Due to the size of the place the guides had earpieces and speakers attached to their jackets. As with my tour of the NASM in DC itself I noticed the guides happened to be of the older generation and were extremely knowledgeable. Our particular chap seemed to be very hot on his WWII aircraft and we stood beside Enola Gay for a good ten minutes or so. Despite this chap's wide range of knowledge an early teen decided to question his every word, much to the admonishment of his mother who ushered him away from the group pretty fast  biggrin . We got detailed descriptions of the Junkers Ju-52, Boeing 367-80, Boeing 307 Stratoliner and a little bit about the Concorde before heading towards the SR-71 with a quick stopover at some of the German WWII aircraft.

http://img467.imageshack.us/img467/3745/dsc026460pf.jpg
Boeing 307 Stratoliner

The tour was brought to an end back at the nose of the SR-71 'for fear of getting on a bit' as the guide put it. This was well received by my girlfriend who despite a vague interest in aircraft was tiring after almost four hours! I have to admit I was in a similar state!

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/545/dsc026822cp.jpg
View of Lockheed Sr-71 Blackbird and Space Shuttle Enterprise

Verdict: The Udvar-Hazy center is a must for aviation and space enthusiasts as well as an excellent facility for those with a passing interest. It is an ideal place to spend a few hours on a long layover at Dulles and the amount of legendary aircraft is unsurpassed IMO. Well apart from the NASM in downtown DC perhaps  biggrin 

If anyone wants to see more pictures I have a photo album with around 45 pictures from the Udvar-Hazy Center here. There is no need to register or sign in so have a look!


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCs03 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 413 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8692 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thank you for posting about this amazing place! You have adapted your fine writing style to show us this fine "must see" musuem.

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8621 times:

Thanks  thumbsup 

It appears as always that there is one mistake that missed the proofread and I can't go back and edit the post!

http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/1078/dsc026625ac.jpg
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 'Enola Gay'



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2404 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8583 times:

I was there in November. I really enjoyed it. Nice post.

Long live the 'Enola Gay'!



Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 8384 times:

Your camera work gets better and better after each trip report.

User currently offlineLatinplane From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2713 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 5 days ago) and read 8162 times:

Awesome trip report!!!!


 Smile LatinPlane


User currently offlineJeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1336 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 8001 times:

I visited the Udvar-Hazy center a few months ago and I loved it. I felt that it was such an intimate museum to visit. Plus I also love the old Air and Space museum too.


God bless through Jesus, Jeff
User currently offlineFXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7197 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7933 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Excellent report...anyone plane crazy has made a trip to the Udvar-Havy Center at IAD!  bouncy 

Boeingfever777 in front of Fred Smith's first a/c for FX!



One of my favorite pics I got from the observation deck.



UA 777 arrival from Europe.


User currently offlineStretch 8 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 2568 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 7774 times:

"I'm not that big into space exploration and that kind of thing so a lot of it didn't mean much to me."

Good God man, you need help! I still enjoyed your report!



Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1916 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months ago) and read 7652 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pics! Wow, the museum looks great! Were you able to enter the Concorde at all? I know at the Intrepid a person can now get inside to see the interior a little.

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7568 times:

Quoting Stretch 8 (Reply 8):
"I'm not that big into space exploration and that kind of thing so a lot of it didn't mean much to me."

Good God man, you need help! I still enjoyed your report!

I'm so misunderstood  biggrin 

What I should have said is I wasn't as au fait with what was on display in the Space exploration hangar. It was interesting but found it hard to comment on much of it because I couldn't tell you what it all was!! I was a little better amongst the aviation stuff...



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineFRAspotter From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2347 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7560 times:

Quoting FXramper (Reply 7):
UA 777 arrival from Europe.

In the photo, it looks like a 767. Sorry to be picky, I couldn't help it...  Silly

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
an early teen decided to question his every word,

Who here wants to bet that he was an a.neter???



"Drunks run stop signs. Stoners wait for them to turn green."
User currently offlineFreedomtofly From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 750 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7549 times:

Quoting FRAspotter (Reply 11):
Quoting FXramper (Reply 7):
UA 777 arrival from Europe.

In the photo, it looks like a 767. Sorry to be picky, I couldn't help it...

Haha I was just gunna say that. That's definately a 767, coming from BRU maybe. Anyway nice report as usual, looks like a museum I may want to check out someday soon. Nice pics as well!

Aaron



You are now free to move about the world.
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 938 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7512 times:

What a great addition to the trip reports in this forum! I've always wanted to visit this museum and I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to do so virtually.

Regards.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7324 times:

Quoting FRAspotter (Reply 11):
Who here wants to bet that he was an a.neter???

I think he was a bit retarded to be honest. His head was shaking a lot as he asked all the questions and my girlfriend said he had what looked like a fit when his mother took him away!

Quoting Christao17 (Reply 13):
What a great addition to the trip reports in this forum!

Thanks  Smile Wasn't quite sure if it fitted in with all the flight reports, but the rules didn't say no, and it hasn't been moved yet!



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineBritPilot777 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1075 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7229 times:

Great report!! Must see if I got any friends interested into making a trip to IAD to go to the Museum!!

Quoting FXramper (Reply 7):

UA 777 arrival from Europe.

Looks like a 767 buddy

BP777



Forever Flight
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 45
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7205 times:

Wonderful trip report! Is the observation deck free and open to the public? I'd love to visit this place the next time I'm in northern Virginia!

redngold



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7194 times:

Quoting Redngold (Reply 16):
Is the observation deck free and open to the public?

The museum is free, so is the observation tower and it is open to the public. You have to pay $12 to get your car in though. Not sure how it works if you catch a cab there...



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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