Monthly Archives: January 2016

National Motorcycle Museum

Anamosa, Iowa

National Motorcycle Museum
National Motorcycle Museum

This was mainly a service run, as we dropped off materials to the National Motorcycle Museum on our way to Madison.

1920's era Shell Gas Station
A modular Shell Gas Station, circa 1920. Restored and now displayed in the museum.

I was offered a quick walk through, and happily accepted, especially since I was given strict orders to spend some time in the museum, even if I had to steal the car keys in order to manufacture the time.

Board Track Exhibit
Board track exhibit at NMM.

What a phenomenal museum! Well worth the trek over to Anamosa. This place is loaded, and I really do mean loaded, with bikes. This is one extensive collection. I will come back through, and allow myself a full day to explore.

Harley Davidson Poster


Where’s the Red Baron?

Snoopy at APM


Air Power Museum

“Keep The Antiques Flying!
Blakesburg, Iowa

Air Power Museum
Air Power Museum

I made the short drive towards Ottumwa to visit the Air Power Museum earlier this week. Located off Bluegrass Road, 4 miles outside Blakesburg, the APM is a working museum, where the vast majority of their aircraft still fly. Considering it’s the middle of winter, the traffic on Hwy 34 wasn’t exactly daunting, and the museum staff was kind enough to open the building just for my visit.
Great people down there at APM, and it was much appreciated.

Curtiss OX-5
A Curtiss OX-5 engine from 1919

The best time to visit APM would no doubt be during their annual Invitational Fly-In, which occurs over Labor Day Weekends. This year the dates are: August 31 – September 5, 2016. Held for over 40 years, the Fly-In at the Antique Airfield is part convention and part reunion.

1929 Monoprep
1929 Monoprep

Max speed: 99mph; ceiling: 9000 ft; range: 290 miles (@4gph); original cost: $2675

1972 Pietenpol Scout
1972 Pietenpol Scout

Originally named the Sky Scout in 1931, the Bernard Pietenpol built plane was powered by a Model T engine, and updated to a Model A engine the following year. A frame identical to the original Scout, with a Chevrolet Vega engine, became the first replica of the Scout. This is the APM aircraft.

1938 Porterfield CP-40
1938 Porterfield CP-40

Bounsall Prospector
Bounsall Prospector: A homebuilt aircraft

Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp
Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp

The Wasp was Pratt & Whitney’s first engine, designed in the 1920’s. Displacing 1344 cubic inches, the single row, 9 cylinder, air-cooled radial engine appeared in numerous aircraft. It appears here because I just love a big, old radial.


Challenger at 30

28 January 1986

Challenger Series
Photo credit: Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today/via AP

It was 30 years ago today, when the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds into it’s flight over the Kennedy Space Center. All seven U.S. astronauts on board died.

The Challenger Crew
The Challenger Crew, Photo credit:NASA


Wells Fargo Arena

Des Moines, Iowa

Wells Fargo Arena

We took in an AHL game on Tuesday in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Arena. The Iowa Wild was hosting the Chicago Wolves.

Wild vs Wolves
Wild take on Wolves at WFA

With the Iowa Wild being an affiliate of the Minnesota Wild, I did enjoy watching some of the NHL club’s prospects, including: Mike Reilly, Christian Folin, and Jordan Schroeder. Folin would go on to score a goal, while Reilly & Schroeder would tally assists.

The third period would end tied at 3, but the Wolves’ Pat Cannone would score his third goal of the night 41 seconds into the 3 on 3 overtime period. It was the first time I have seen the 3 on 3 OT, but it ended so quick that it was hard to really make an opinion. There’s a lot of open ice out there during the 3 on 3.

WFA: Wild vs Wolves


Self-closing Gate

Gate
An old gate with a primitive, yet very effective, self-closing mechanism.


Strategic Air & Space Museum

Ashland, Nebraska

Atlas
Atlas, in front of the Strategic Air & Space Museum

I have driven across Nebraska several times, but hadn’t stopped by SAS, which lies alongside I-80 just west of Omaha. The Curator and I made the short drive west on Saturday to check the place out. It was thoroughly worth it. The hangers are huge, and the collection extensive. The museum offers an 11am guided tour, and we landed just in time to explore the collection with a wonderful volunteer.

SR-71A "Blackbird"
The first plane one sees upon entering the museum: SR-71A “Blackbird”

Still considered the fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 was a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, whose top speed is still classified today, although it does hold the speed record of the New York to London flight: 1 hr 55 min. It has a cruising speed of 1,320 MPH, ceiling of 80,000+ feet, and a range of 3,000 miles.

B-17G "Flying Fortress"
B-17G Flying Fortress

A heavy bomber introduced in 1935, over 12,000 B-17’s were produced up until 1945, with 4750 of them lost on combat missions. It has a maximum speed of 287 mph at 25,000 feet, and a range of 3400 miles.

A-26B "Invader"
The A-26B “Invader (front) and a B-36J “Peacemaker” (background)

The A-26 “Invader” is a medium attack bomber manufactured between 1941-1945. Maximum speed 373 MPH, cruising speed 284 MPH, service ceiling 30,000 feet, range 1,400 miles with 4,000 pounds of ordnance.

The B-36J “Peacemaker” is a strategic intercontinental bomber, of which 385 were built. With a wingspan of 230′, and a length of 162’1″, the B-36 has a maximum speed of 435 MPH at 36,400 feet, cruising speed of 391 MPH, and a service ceiling of 45,200 feet.

B-25N "Mitchell"
B-25N “Mitchell”

Almost 11,000 B-25 Medium Bombers were manufactured between 1940-1945. The museum’s B-25 had been restored to specifications of the Doolittle Raiders’ bombers. Doolittle led sixteen B-25’s on a bombing raid of Tokyo on 18 April 1942. Launched from the carrier USS Hornet, without fighter escort, the B-25’s were to land in China after bombing Japan. Fifteen of the bombers made it to China but crashed, one flew to the Soviet Union.

HU-16B "Albatross"
The HU-16B “Albatross”

The Grumman Albatross is a utility transport and air/sea rescue amphibian aircraft. Able to land on sea or land, the Albatross has a maximum speed of 270 MPH, a cruising speed of 225 MPH, and a service ceiling of 21,500 feet.
One of my personal favorites, although I’d be completely satisfied with a “Goose”.

B-29TB "Superfortress"
The B-29TB “Superfortress

The B-29 “Superfortress” was the most advanced heavy bomber to see combat in WWII. 99′ long with a wingspan of 141’3″, the B-29 has a maximum speed of 357 MPH, a cruising speed of 220 MPH, and a range of 3,700 miles. Service ceiling is 33,600 feet.

After the tour ended, I had a chance to talk to the volunteer who had just given us the informative tour. We started to talk about places I’ve visited and museums I have wandered into. Now, I consider myself fairly well-traveled, but The Volunteer, who was into his 80’s, had been all over the world and he scolded me a bit for not getting out even more. “What are you going to do? Take it with you? Might as well spend it now and get out and enjoy yourself. What are you waiting for?!
I think it’s the first time in my life that I’ve been told off for not traveling more!
Bless his wonderful heart.

The Strategic Air & Space Museum. Check it out the next time you are zipping across on I-80.

Aircraft specs credit: Strategic Air and Space Museum