Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Naval Aviation Museum, FL - 04/02/14

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Wednesday – April 2, 2014
National Naval Aviation Museum
Naval Air Station
Pensacola, Florida

We spent a restful night at the 24-hour Walmart located at the intersection of Blue Angels Parkway (FL-173) and Sorrento Ave (FL-292) in Pensacola, Florida. It is another beautiful warm sunny day with the temperature in the mid-seventies.

We arrived at the Naval Air Station at 8:30 a.m. We presented our drivers licenses to the military police at the main gate, and after they had examined them, they waived us on through.

Just a short drive and we arrived at the Naval Aviation Museum at 8:40 a.m. The museum does not open until 9:00 a.m., so we bided our time in our Casita trailer until it opened. Once it opened, we purchased tickets for the one o’clock show of "The Magic of Flight" playing at the IMAX Theater. We then toured the Hangar Bay One museum building.

The Hangar Bay One museum contains 55,000 square feet of new exhibits, displaying aircraft and exhibits of the post-World War II era, including a Lunar Excursion Module, Marine One Presidential Helicopter, Prisoner of War exhibit, Coast Guard aircraft and the Blue Angel 4D Experience. It also contains the actual aircraft President George W. Bush co-piloted, that landed on the aircraft carrier displaying the banner "Mission Accomplished" during the Iraq war.

The entry gate to the spectator viewing area, for the Blue Angels Air Show, opened at 10:30 a.m. We went through at 10:40 a.m. and the viewing stands were already three-quarters full. We had our lawn chairs with us and were positioned three rolls back from the fenced off area running adjacent to the tarmac. This location proved to be an excellent location to view the show.

At 11:30 a.m. the six Blue Angels positioned their F/A-18 Hornet jet aircraft on the runway. Two of them took off together, side by side down the runway, and once they were airborne, pointed their aircraft straight up and disappeared from sight. They were immediately followed by the remaining four aircraft, two abreast, in tight formation, roaring down the runway. Once again, just as the first two did, when they were airborne, they pointed their aircraft straight up and disappeared from view. After they had performed a few breathtaking maneuvers, one of the aircraft broke off from the group of four and landed. Apparently there was a problem with his aircraft. The show continued with the remaining five aircraft. After about fifteen minutes the sixth aircraft took off on the runway and rejoined the group to continue on with the air show. Even though we had seen the same air show yesterday, we were still amazed to witness this thirty-minute spectacular air show these magnificent pilots put on.

Every Wednesday, after the air show, at 12:30 p.m. the Blue Angel pilots gather together in the Naval Aviation Museum to sign autographs. When we arrived there the place was packed with people waiting to see the pilots. Since we had reservations to see the movie, "The Magic of Flight" at 1:00 p.m. in the IMAX Theater, we could not stick around to attend this event.

The movie "The Magic of Flight" in the IMAX Theater puts the viewer inside the cockpit of an F/A-18 Hornet jet aircraft with one of the pilots of the Blue Angels. What a ride! The tremendous G force these pilots must withstand as they put their aircraft through mind-boggling maneuvers is incredible. As the G force increases, blood drains from the brain. This can cause the pilot to lose consciousness unless he counteracts this condition through a repetitive series of intensive jaw exercises, designed to force the blood back into the brain. The film describes the intensive training program a pilot must excel in to become a Blue Angel pilot. It also is a profound tribute to all of our fine men and women Naval Aviators.

We finished our delightful visit to the Naval Aviation Museum and departed there at 2:25 p.m. We arrived at a 24-hour Walmart at 3535 Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Florida at 8:25 p.m. This will be our home for tonight.

Total miles traveled today: 216

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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