Day Two: Air and Space Museum

Category: San Diego 2014 Published: Sunday, 23 March 2014 Written by Evilmatt

So to have a change from planes and boats today I went to the air and space museum for planes rockets and the odd car :D

First I had to get there the san diego air and space museum is located in a place called Balboa Park it's just about two miles from my hotel but I felt after yesterday I didn't fancy walking all that way. Instead I picked up a day pass for the light rail and the busses. They use a Clipper/Oyster card like system with a smart card you pay two bucks for and then can load up with tickets. It was pretty cheap less than ten dollars for two day pass (I figured I might want it tomorrow) and then I was off on the light rail. That took me part of the way there and the bus took me the rest. 

Balboa park is a nice park that is also packed with museums I passed two just getting to the air and space museum. It also has the san diego zoo which I think I might visit tomorrow. I got to the museum and bought a ticket they had a special exhibition of Ripley's Believe it or not. I'm not that familiar with Robert L Ripley but the exhibit has a brief introduction. 

Ripley was a cartoonist who wrote "Ripley's Believe it or not" a cartoon that detailed weird and wonderful subjects that Ripley discovered on his travels around the world. He collected the bizare and interesting items from all around the world and then detailed things in his cartoon, radio show, and a TV show he also founded various Odditoriums where he exhibited various pieces from his collections. He was immensely popular in his day and received huge amounts of mail of odd things for his various publications and he claimed "prove every statement he made," because he worked with a team of researchers. 

The exhibition has all sorts of odd things there was no theme beyond the weird nature of the items. They has a wooden replica of a sports car that was actually a boat, a picture of space shuttle made out of keyboard keys, a shrunken head, a jade rickshaw, a train made out of bottle caps, a replica of a roller coaster, and a load of other stuff. It was interesting but it felt a little out of place in an air and space museum it had nothing to do with either of those things.

After that was the museum proper it vaguely followed the history of flight starting with the wright brothers and simple biplanes up to the state of the art jets and space travel. There were a lot of fascinating planes to look at there were quite a few replicas especially some of the earlier ones. They did have some interesting ww2 era planes including a real if non airworthy Spitfire a Japanese zero and a mustang.

They also had a few odd pieces like a replica of the Horten Ho 229v3 which is sometimes refereed to as the nazi stealth fighter because of it flying wing design. This replica was built by Northrup-Grumman to test the stealth capabilities of the 229 by building a replica to match the originals radar properties. They tested the design and found that it had some reduction in radar cross section 40% that of the bf 109 with the British Chain-Home radar early warning system. They concluded that if deployed en-mass this aircraft could have changed the course of the war.

Next they had some of the more modern planes jet based like an A4 skyhawk and a F/A 18 -A done up with the Blue Angels colours (which I think is essentially the red arrows for americans) they also had out in the courtyard in the center (the museum is a sort of ring shape) a F4 Phantom, a Mig 17, and a Bell AH-1E Cobra helicopter. 

For the space aspect they had a Apollo 9 Command Module and several replicas of the mercury space craft and some parts from the atlas rockets.

Out front they had two interesting planes a Lockhead A12 the precursor to the blackbird and a Convair Seadart which was a unique prototype seaplane that rode on two hydro ski's for takeoff. It's the only seaplane to have exceeded the speed of sound.

It's a fun little museum with some interesting exhibits. 

After that I headed back taking the bus back to the hotel. I had a bit of lunch an afternoon nap then had some dinner for a relaxed end of the day.

Tomorrow is my last full day here I might go to the zoo or another museum I'll see how I feel.

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