National Air & Space Museum

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Also known as Dulles Air & Space Museum

Located in Chantilly, Virginia


(This is so much to see and learn about in this museum.  I had to remove some of the pictures and focus on the ones presented below in order not to overload your brain.  I still need to add some comments to some of the photos.)

As soon as you walk into the museum it is

planes, planes and more planes.


Whether known as the Warhawk, Tomahawk, or Kittyhawk, the Curtiss P-40 proved to be a successful, versatile fighter during the first half of World War II.

 This airplane is painted in the colors and markings of the Corsair Sun Setter, a Marine close-support fighter assigned to the USS Essex in July 1944.

Kittyhawk, Corsair and Thunderbird

No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated globally in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71, the world's fastest jet-propelled aircraft. The Blackbird's performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War.


 N3N-3 Yellow Peril in the upper right corner.

This N3N-3 was transferred from Cherry Point to Annapolis in 1946, where it served as a seaplane trainer. It was restored and displayed at the Naval Academy Museum before being transferred here.



Me 163 B-1a


The MiG-21 was the Soviet Union's first truly modern, second-generation jet fighter. Testing began in 1956, and the first version entered service in 1960 as the MiG-21F-13. Soviet designers developed a unique "tailed delta" configuration with a very thin delta wing, which gave the aircraft maneuverability, high speed, good medium-altitude performance, and adequate takeoff and landing characteristics.
America's first swept-wing jet fighter, the F-86 Sabre joined the ranks of great fighter aircraft during combat operations high above the Yalu River in Korea.

This F-86A saw combat against MiG-15s during the Korean War. It flew most of its missions from Kimpo Air Base near Seoul and bears the markings of the 4th Fighter Wing, the first F-86 unit in Korea.

Arch rival to the U.S. F-86 in Korea, the MiG-15 shocked the West with its capabilities.

The MiG-15 featured the first production swept wing, pressurized cockpit, and ejection seat on a Soviet aircraft.
Lockheed Martin


Joint Strike Fighter




The F8U Crusader was the first carrier-based jet fighter to exceed 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) per hour. Its variable-incidence wing, which could elevate up to seven degrees in the front while rotating about its rear spar, helped improve the aircraft's flight characteristics at slow speeds and increase pilot visibility for takeoff and landing.
The F-14D(R) Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, variable sweep-wing, two-place strike fighter manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation.
Joint Strike Fighter

Generator and popped-wing on F-8 Crusader
Back of F-14 Tomcat

swept wing

As part of the Apollo program, a number of so-called "boilerplate" (bp) command modules were constructed to undergo various tests and to serve as training vehicles for astronauts and other mission crew members.

Mercury Capsule 15B

Freedom 7 II 

James S. McDonnell

Space Hangar

The first Space Shuttle orbiter, "Enterprise," is a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and tests on the ground; it is not equipped for spaceflight.

In 1985, NASA transferred "Enterprise" to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

Aluminum airframe and body with some fiberglass features; payload bay doors are graphite epoxy composite; thermal tiles are simulated (polyurethane foam) except for test samples of actual tiles and thermal blankets.




Close-up of heat-protection tiles

Nose gear



Dornier Do 335

A-1 Pfeil ("Arrow")

Country of Origin: Germany

Physical Description:
Twin engine, pusher / puller, fighter / bomber; grey/green, green; late World War II development



Nearly five hundred J1N1 aircraft, including prototypes, escort, reconnaissance, and night fighters were built during World War II. A sizeable number were also used as Kamikaze aircraft in the Pacific. The few that survived the war were scrapped by the Allies.

This J1N1 is the last remaining in the world. It was transported from Japan to the U.S. where it was flight tested by the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1946. The Gekko then flew to storage at Park Ridge, IL, and was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution. The restoration of this aircraft, completed in 1983, took more than four years and 17,000 man-hours to accomplish.


Kugisho MXY7

Ohka Model 22

Near the end of World War II, Vice Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the Japanese navy form special groups of men and aircraft to attack the American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines. The Japanese used the word Tokko-tai (Special Attack) to describe these units. To the Allies, they became known as the kamikaze. By war's end, some 5,000 pilots died making Tokko attacks.
Horten craftsmen built this Horten III h, Werk Nr. 31, in 1944 at Göttingen. Uncertainty surrounds the subtype designation 'h,' but the glider probably first flew as a two-place Horten III g, and then Reimar modified it into a single-seat glider, installed special test apparatus, and changed the designation to 'III h. During September 1944, Josef Eggert of Zimmer Unter den Burg, a small town near Rottweil, Germany, flew the unmodified III g 20 times and amassed 14 hours and 17 minutes of total flight time.

Boeing's B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments.

On August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-45-MO dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Bockscar (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions.





The first supersonic airliner to enter service, the Concorde flew thousands of passengers across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound for over 25 years. Designed and built by Aérospatiale of France and the British Aviation Corporation, the graceful Concorde was a stunning technological achievement that could not overcome serious economic problems.


In 1976 Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Carrying up to 100 passengers in great comfort, the Concorde catered to first class passengers for whom speed was critical. It could cross the Atlantic in fewer than four hours - half the time of a conventional jet airliner. However its high operating costs resulted in very high fares that limited the number of passengers who could afford to fly it.

In 1989, Air France signed a letter of agreement to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum upon the aircraft's retirement. On June 12, 2003, Air France honored that agreement, donating Concorde F-BVFA to the Museum upon the completion of its last flight. This aircraft was the first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.



Clipper Flying Cloud


On December 23, 1986, Voyager completed the first nonstop, non-refueled flight around the world. Voyager, a unique aircraft constructed almost entirely of lightweight graphite-honeycomb composite materials and laden with fuel, lifted from Edwards AFB, California at 8:01:44 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, on Dec. 14 1986, and returned 9 days later at 8:05:28 a.m., Pacific Standard Time on Dec. 23, 1986. For their record-breaking flight, the pilots, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, the designer, Burt Rutan, and the crew chief, Bruce Evans, earned the Collier Trophy, aviation's most prestigious award.



Pedal-powered aircraft


Designed by Robert Fulton Jr., the Airphibian in 1950 became the first roadable aircraft approved by the Civil Aviation Administration. It could fly to an airport and then, after disengaging wings, tail, and propeller, become a car. Other roadable aircraft, such as Waldo Waterman's Arrow/Aerobile and William Stout's Skycar (both in the Museum's collection), had been built but none earned certification.







In the mid-1950s, Hiller constructed a series of innovative Flying Platforms for an Army-Navy program as a one-man flying vehicle that the pilot could control with minimal training. The pilot simply leaned in the desired direction and the platform would follow. The platforms, which utilized the aerodynamic advantages of the ducted fan, were incapable of tumbling, because if the pilot leaned over too far, the platform would pitch up and slow down.



With the Laser 200, Leo Loudenslager won an unprecedented seven U.S. National Aerobatic Championship titles between 1975 and '82, as well as the 1980 World Champion title. The airplane originated as a Stephens Akro, a sleed aeroback design, but by 1975 Loudenslager had completely modified the airplane with a new forward fuselage, wings, tail, and cockpit. The Laser 200 emerged as a lighter, stronger, and more powerful aircraft, enabling Loudenslager to perform sharper and more difficult maneuvers.

Loudenslager's legacy is evident in the tumbling and twisting but precise routines flown by current champions and airshow pilots. The Laser 200 heavily influenced the look and performance of the next generation of aerobatic aircraft, including the Extra, which dominated competition throughout the 1990s.



The F-105 was designed as a supersonic, single-seat, fighter-bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons or heavy bomb loads at supersonic speeds. The F-105D variant was an all-weather fighter-bomber version, fitted with mono-pulse and Doppler radar for night or bad weather operations. The original weapons bay, designed for nuclear stores, was sealed and fitted with additional fuel tanks. Bombs were carried on multiple weapons racks on the centerline of the fuselage, and on wing pylons. The aircraft was fitted with a retractable in-flight refueling probe. The first F-105D flew on 9 June 1959 and 610 F-105Ds were eventually built.


Plane nearest Enola Gay

Aichi chief engineer, Toshio Ozaki, designed the M6A1 Seiran to fulfill the requirement for a bomber that could operate exclusively from a submarine. Japanese war planners devised the idea as a means for striking directly at the United States mainland and other important strategic targets, like the Panama Canal, that lay thousands of kilometers from Japan. To support Seiran operations, the Japanese developed a fleet of submarine aircraft carriers to bring the aircraft within striking distance. No Seiran ever saw combat, but the Seiran/submarine weapons system represents an ingenious blend of aviation and marine technology.



The MiG-21 was the Soviet Union's first truly modern, second-generation jet fighter. Testing began in 1956, and the first version entered service in 1960 as the MiG-21F-13. Soviet designers developed a unique "tailed delta" configuration with a very thin delta wing, which gave the aircraft maneuverability, high speed, good medium-altitude performance, and adequate takeoff and landing characteristics.


The Navy's experience in the Korean War showed the need for a new long-range strike aircraft with high subsonic performance at very low altitude--an aircraft that could penetrate enemy defenses and find and destroy small targets in any weather. The Grumman A-6 Intruder was designed with these needs in mind. The Intruder first flew in 1960 and was delivered to the Navy in 1963 and the Marine Corps in 1964.

The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and the air forces of 12 other nations have flown the multi-role Phantom II. In this aircraft, then a Navy F-4J, on June 21, 1972, Cmdr. S. C. Flynn and his radar intercept officer, Lt. W. H. John, spotted three enemy MiG fighters off the coast of Vietnam and shot down one MiG-21 with a Sidewinder air-to-air missile. This Phantom also flew combat air patrols and bombing missions during the Linebacker II bombing campaign that same year.

This aircraft is the first X-35 ever built. It was originally the X-35A and was modified to include the lift-fan engine for testing of the STOVL concept. Among its many test records, this aircraft was the first in history to achieve a short takeoff, level supersonic dash, and vertical landing in a single flight. It is also the first aircraft to fly using a shaft-driven lift-fan propulsion system. The X-35B flight test program was one of the shortest, most effective in history, lasting from June 23, 2001 to August 6, 2001.

Very useful maps to point out the names of each plane.

John K. "Jack" Northrop's dream of a flying wing became a reality on July 3, 1940, when his N-1M (Northrop Model 1 Mockup) first flew. One of the world's preeminent aircraft designers and creator of the Lockheed Vega and Northrop Alpha, Northrop had experimented with flying wings for over a decade, believing they would have less drag and greater efficiency than conventional designs. His 1929 flying wing, while successful, had twin tail booms and a conventional tail. In the N-1M he created a true flying wing.


Part of a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) plane as viewed from above.


Various mountable machine guns



  Dulles Air & Space Museum  
  Smithsonian Air & Space Museum  

One video review is available


Dulles Air & Space Museum




This page was last enhanced on Sunday, September 18, 2011