Jay and I went down to visit my sister a few weeks ago. While we were there we decided to go to the Carolinas Aviation Museum located right next to the Charlotte airport.
It was also located right next to the Air National Guard base, too.
It wasn’t humongous, but it was interesting and had a handful of aircraft.
My pictures definitely don’t do these planes justice, so please take a moment to go over to the Carolinas Aviation Museum website to look at the beautiful photos.
One of the nice things about this museum is that they have a few displays that allow the visitors to climb in and get the feeling of actually sitting behind the yoke.
One of these is a Cessna 150L.
It’s a cute little plane. Jay crawled in to see how roomy it felt.
He explained that this is about the size of plane that he would like to build once we have the property for it. He then wanted me to climb in next to him to see how much room we would have. What?! There isn’t room for me, too!
I placed my purse on the seat to demonstrate the size. My purse is not one of the luggage-sized pieces that some women carry around. My behind is WAY wider than my purse. I informed Jay that the only way we would be able to sit in there together is if a) I lost a lot of weight or b) we left the door off and buckled me in really good. My hip hurts now just thinking about being crammed in there with a door.
They also had a cockpit from a Piedmont 727-200 (per Jay) that you could walk into and see the million switches and instruments.
Being a former Flight Engineer (FE), Jay instantly sat down and started going over the FE panel. If you’re unfamiliar with airplanes and what it takes to fly them, this particular one required a pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer. Jay was the FE for the P-3 Orion, so his seat was right between the two pilots and his instrument panel was over his head.
(The picture above was taken at the Air Show on the day that I ruined the way that Jay actually wanted to propose to me. )
In the P-3 you can see that all of the switches are above your head. In the 727 display you can see where most FE panels are located in commercial airliners.
Jay would point out things and ask me if I knew what they were, or would ask me where a certain lever was located. My main concern was, “Where is the cup holder?”
Jay found it. There’s nothing like the combination Cup Holder/Ash Tray to make a long flight go by quickly!
There was another display that allowed you to climb into the seat of a F4 Phantom fighter jet (again, per Jay).
(Kenny Loggins’ song Danger Zone begins to play…)
Interesting Fact of the Day: The F4 Phantom is the world’s largest distributor of MiG parts!
Jay wanted me to get in the jet. The following is the biggest reason why I did not join the Navy…
That’s my “Hunting Bad Guys” face. They might have died from laughter, but not from terror. lol
One of the other interesting displays that they had was a Link Trainer.
This was one of the first flight simulators.
When I saw it, however, all I could think of was the episode of Hogan’s Heroes when they used one to train somebody as part of a plan to get some soldiers back to England. At least, I think that was the episode.
Not only does the museum have aircraft inside, but they also had some displays outside.
They had four or five planes out there, but most of them we can see at the Air Show on Labor Day weekend. Jay was more interested in the fact that this display was practically next to one of the runways for the Charlotte airport.
I asked him if I should get a chair so that he could sit there and watch, but he said no because there were too many airplanes in the way (meaning the static displays). We stood out there for a few minutes so that Jay could enjoy the sound of jet engines spooling up and taking off, then we went back inside.
Somebody must have told the Corsair a joke because he was guffawing when we walked past him.
The Harrier was not amused. It looked like he was having sinus issues as one of his nostrils was plugged up.
The F-14 was ignoring both of them and remembering his glory days.
They had a whole F-4 on display, but he felt bad for his buddy because somebody had stolen his wheel:
The ‘Rescue’ arrow should have been pointed down to where the wheel used to be.
I’ll leave you with a majestic picture of the Skyhawk. He looks like he is just waiting for the signal to take off!
There was another main focal point of the museum that I would like to show you, but I’ll leave that for next time.