Tuesday – April 1, 2014
National Naval Aviation Museum
Naval Air Station
We completed a delightful, seven-day stay at the Davis Bayou Campground at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. We departed there at 8:00 a.m., under an overcast sky with the temperature in the low sixties.
Our route this morning took us east on I-10 to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. We arrived there at 10:45 p.m. Perfect timing! The Blue Angels practice every Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. from March through November each year.
We were fortunate to be towing our trailer. RV parking is adjacent to the runway and the Naval parking attendants guided us through the automobile parking lot directly to the RV parking section. We were within two blocks of the entrance to the viewing area adjacent to the runway; automobile traffic was now being parked a mile or so from the viewing area. If you are driving an automobile, the secret is to get there at 8:30 a.m. if you want to secure a parking space close to the Museum.
By the time we reached the viewing area there were several hundred, perhaps thousands, of spectators already there. The viewing stand was already filled to capacity. Next to the viewing stand, people were sitting in their lawn chairs, about 100 rows across and 6 rows deep. The rest of us were standing behind them in one large mass of people.
There are six Blue Angles performing synchronized maneuvers in their F/A-18 Hornet jet aircraft. What an amazing experience, to witness the thirty-minute air show these pilots put on. At the beginning of the show, two aircraft take off together and then the remaining four take off together. Immediately after takeoff, they point their aircraft straight up and fly until they disappear from sight. From that point on, to us spectators, it looks like pure mayhem as these experienced pilots put their aircraft through an amazing display of precision maneuvers that brings roars of approval from the crowd. After they land, they exit the runway and roll down the tarmac in front of the viewing area and wave to the spectators.
The National Aviation Museum features nearly 350,000 square feet of displays and is one of the world’s largest aviation museums. Located within the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida, the Museum boasts more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Naval, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation.
Museum admission is free. It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
National Aviation Museum – Aircraft, Flight Simulators, IMAX Theater
Hangar Bay One – Display of Aircraft of the Vietnam and Modern eras.
We managed to complete a tour of the National Aviation Museum. There are wonderfully restored propeller and jet fighter aircraft on display throughout the museum. There are scale models of aircraft carriers and there is a mockup of a submarine that visitors can walk through. There is so much to see and do. One day does not provide enough time to see everything. We will return tomorrow to see the Blue Angels perform again, visit Hangar Bay One and watch the movie "The Magic of Flight" in the IMAX Theater.
We will spend the night at a 24-hour Walmart located at the intersection of Blue Angels Parkway (FL-173) and Sorrento Ave (FL-292). This Walmart has a large parking lot that a few of us RV’ers and over-the-road trucks will spend the night. We receive a 4G signal with 4 bars signal strength at this location through our T-Mobile service provider.
Total miles traveled today: 127
Tomorrow another adventure begins.