Tuesday, March 24

Road Trip to Study Airplanes & Air Shows

Say you're driving down the road and see the tail-end of a plane sticking out of a building....wouldn't this just make you want to stop and see what's up?  I mean...really...   Today we're visiting the Southwest Airlines Museum & flying at an air show! 

This is the Flight Museum, sponsored by and dedicated to Southwest Airlines, over at the Dallas Lovefield Airport.  Check out the museum here!

There's a training aircraft right smack in the middle of the museum, where you'll learn about the four forces of flight.  Also, the various instrument panels are designed to teach you the basics of instrument flight reading.  It's at an elementary child's level...both educationally and height-wise.
There are several different rooms dedicated to various eras of flight, including :  the Wright Brothers, ancient flight (think DaVinci), the World Wars, Vietnam, space exploration, and the future of flight.  We were so engrossed that we didn't take many pictures, but the family enjoyed learning how to spot various WWII aircraft and read aerial maps.

The strangest plane we saw was this V-173 Flying Pancake.  It's just a strange-looking beast, but it was designed with a purpose.....just like each of us was designed with a purpose!
After 'checking in,' we boarded the airplane for a private flight!  Unlike most post-911 flights, you can actually check out the cockpit on this flight!  Most of the seats are removed and have been replaced with information on how the Boeing is constructed and the history of the jet.  However, there are still a few spots left to rest in.

We stumbled upon an air show nearby and decided to stay.  Naturally, our aviation-enthusiast keeps his jumpsuit on his at all times!

One of his dream jobs is to be the pilot on an air ambulance, so our very first stop on the pad was at that particular helicopter, where he peppered the pilots with questions!
A few more helicopters on our tour of the various machines, and we were able to climb aboard the air ambulance, too!  The Highway Patrol chopper pilot even explained how they track folks from the air.  Now...wasn't that nice of him?  Good to know, too!  😉
I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the boys to go skydiving with me...and then we saw how much the skydiving cost and decided that we would all go later.  So...helicopter rides instead!!

The helicopter flight gave us a new, bird's eye view of the city.  Since it was such a gorgeous day, the pilot had taken the doors off the chopper, which was a bit unsettling to brother (in the front seat), but he adjusted quickly.  It was just bee-you-tee-ful up there!!
Mid-morning, we took a break from the excitement and claimed a little piece of grass to call our own for the next hour or so of aviation aerobatics!  The National Anthem was sung as our American flag was brought down to earth by one of the skydivers!!
While we waited for the stunt show itself to get revved up, he looked around at the glider for sale, and we watched the veteran pilots do some formation flying.  Airplanes here, airplanes there, airplanes airplanes everywhere!!!  Seriously...these stunt pilots had some awesome moves!  

First up was Kate Kyer, one of my personal aviation heroes.  If you can't get to an air show to see her work, then look it up on YouTube.  When you think about how hard this type of flying is on the body, it makes her performance even more transfixing!  The pictures don't really do it justice...  
One of the highlights of his day was getting to meet the stunt pilot we had just seen zipping around in the sky!  He had lots of questions, and the guy was incredibly patient and sweet.

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