National Museum of the USAF: Part 1: WWII Military Airplanes (Winter 2013)

National Museum of the USAF - Front Entrance
National Museum of the USAF – Front Entrance

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located in Dayton, Ohio.

Memorial
Memorial

In my opinion, the location of this museum is little off the bitten tourist track, but anyway, if you are aviation enthusiast – you will find the way to Dayton Ohio! Some folks ask why Dayton Ohio? Here, more than a century ago, the Wright brothers began to experiment with the idea of powered flight!

National Museum of the USAF, Dayton Ohio
National Museum of the USAF, Dayton Ohio

So, I found my way to the National Museum of the USAF during one of my work trips, and I did set aside few hours in the afternoon to enjoy myself looking at this magnificent aircraft collection. In this three piece blog, I will try to give a glimpse of the wonderful collection! I decided to organize my posts into three parts: WWII, Cold War, and Modern Aircraft. I know that categorizing them that way is not perfect but I like it that way!

Therefore, without any further delay, let’s start to talk about some planes! The first airframe is the North American P-51D Mustang – in my opinion, the most “sexy” aircraft in the National Museum of the USAF (it is only my opinion!)

North American P-51D Mustang
North American P-51D Mustang

Mustang was initially developed in early 1940 for the British Air Force and only after delivery of first Mustangs to British, few of the initial planes were redirected to the American units. This fantastic plane was designed and was used as long-range escort for the bomber formations but also as ground attack aircraft.

North American P-51D Mustang
North American P-51D Mustang

P-51D offered extreme maneuverability and excellent speed, allowing the allied pilots to beat the Germans and Japanese, and protect the bomber formations.

North American P-51D Mustang
North American P-51D Mustang

Mustangs were also used in the Koran conflict under the changed designation of F-51D.

Douglas C-47D is another aircraft which was made in the United States and changed the history of the aviation. “Gooney Bird” was transformed from the Douglas DC-3 commercial airliner in early 1940, and first orders from the US Army Air Corp (there was not USAF yet – it was created on 18 September 1947 :)) came in. C-47 performed

Douglas C-47D
Douglas C-47D

the heavy lifting for the Allies on all fronts and was used as transport, paratroop delivery platform, ambulance and towing platform for military gliders (Waco CG-4A glider below).

Waco CG-4A glider
Waco CG-4A glider

The efficient and dependable design of C-47 was appreciated by more than 50 countries who used and still use some variants of this platform today. During WW II more than 10,000 C-47 and its variants were produced in the United States, but many more were made in other countries with or without the official license.

One more aircraft which distinguished itself during WW II was Republic P-47D Thunderbolt. More than 15,000 different variants of this airframe were built, and it was used as long-range escort fighter and ground attack platform in all theaters of WW II

Republic P-47D (bubble canopy version)
Republic P-47D (bubble canopy version)

National Museum of the USAF has in its collection few German planes which were used by the Luftwaffe during WW II. I selected two fighter planes: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 – in my opinion, the two most famous German fighters. Messerschmitt Bf 109 saw action in almost all theaters of WW II, Pacific Theater excluded. More than 33,000 were produced, and Bf 109 was still flying until 1965 in Spain, proving the flexibility of its design.

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10

Second air platform is the Focke-Wulf Fw 190D. It was used by German Luftwaffe on

Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9
Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9

in almost all theaters, similarly to the Bf 109.

I am attaching large gallery with some additional photos – please enjoy!

 

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