Pima Air & Space Museum

About the Museum:

The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the world’s most prevalent aerospace exhibits. This institution receives no money from the government or the local Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Actually, the museum is completely financed by admission, tours, the museum restaurant, and the exhibit’s gift shop.

 

History:

The museum is the home to the leading aircraft storage and conservation facilities in the world! This facility has earned such nicknames as “The Boneyard” and the “Graveyard of Planes.” With only a mere 48 planes, this institution opened to the public back in May of 1976. Today, the museum is home to over 300 aircraft and over 125,000 unusual artifacts. With it’s 6 different exhibit hangars, the museum sits on over 80 acres of land. Including all of the storage of military and government planes, the total land reaches over 2,600 acres.

Exhibits and Attractions:

Visitors can pay $6 for an all day tram ticket or can spend hours exploring all that is offered by foot. Guests can join the free walking tours led by museum docents. The Pima Air & Space Museum is home to aircraft like a B-24 Bomber from WWII that was attained in 1969, the well persevered B-17 that has a building specially built around it, and even the plane that carried Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from 1961-1969. Aside from the aircraft on display inside and outside the buildings, there are also areas in the museum dedicated to honoring WWII veterans (primarily airmen) by featuring their names, ranks, names and pictures pictures of bombers they were on, and whether or not they were shot down by enemy fire. Plus, there is a section of the museum dedicated to the history of space exploration, covering events and artifacts pertaining to things such as the space race, to the moon landings, and to the space shuttle program.

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Must-See Aircraft:

  • Aero Spacelines Super Guppy: It is a large, wide-bodied cargo plane that was used for hauling outsize cargo components. It was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, the first of the Guppy aircraft produced by company Aero Spacelines. Five were built in two variants, both of which were casually referred to as the "Super Guppy". The Super Guppy is the only airplane in the world capable of carrying a complete S-IVB stage, the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. The Super Guppy performed this role several times during the Apollo Program's run.
  • Boeing B-52 Stratofortress: It is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-driven strategic bomber. It was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades throughout the years it has been in service, which will likely continue up until the 2050s. It has been operated by the United States Air Force  since the 1950s. The plane is able to carry up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling. It has been used most prominently during the Vietnam War.
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress: It is a four-engine, propeller-powered heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during WWII and the Korean War. Named to allude to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing but also successfully conducted low-altitude night incendiary bombing, and dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which contributed to the end of WWII.
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner: This is a long-haul, mid-size, wide-body, twin-engine commercial jetliner made by the Boeing corporation. Its variants seat between 242 to 330 passengers in typical two-class seating configurations. It is the first jetliner with an airframe mainly made of composite materials. It was designed to be 20% more fuel-efficient than the Boeing 767, which it was intended to succeed. The plane's distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, raked-wingtips  and noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles.
  • Boeing C-137 Stratoliner: It is a VIP transport aircraft designed from the Boeing 707 jetliner used by the United States Air Force. Other nations also bought both new and used 707s for military service, primarily as VIP or tanker transports. Plus, the 707 served as the basis for several specialized versions, such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The designation C-18 covers several later variants based on the 707-320B/C series. The C-137 should not be confused with the similar-looking Boeing C-135 Stratolifter. Despite sharing a common design, the two aircraft have different fuselages.
  • Lockheed Constellation ("Connie"): It is a four-engine, propeller-powered airliner built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at Burbank, California. The company built 856 planes in numerous models—all sharing the triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. Most were driven by four 18-cylinder Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclones. The plane was used as a civil airliner and as military and civilian air transport, flying in the Berlin and the Biafran airlifts. The Constellation series was the first pressurized-cabin civil airliner series to go into widespread use. Its pressurized cabin enabled large numbers of commercial passengers to fly well above most bad weather for the first time, greatly improving the general safety and convenience of air travel. Three of them served as the presidential aircraft for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird": It is a long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson created may of the design's innovative concepts. During missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to beat threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and evade the missile. The shape of the SR-71 was based on the A-12 which was one of the first aircraft to be designed with a reduced radar cross-section. The plane served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built, with 12 were lost in accidents. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including "Blackbird" and "Habu". Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record which was previously held by the related Lockheed YF-12.

General Information:

 

The museum is located at 6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 and is open 7 days a week (besides Christmas and Thanksgiving Day). Hours of operation are from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. with last call at 4 P.M. $16.50 adults (13+), $13.75 seniors (65+), $13.50 groups of 20+ and military: $10.00 children 5-12, children 4 and under are free. Pima County residents are $13.25 (13+). Tram tours of the museum grounds are $6.00. Boneyard/AMARG Tour is $20.00 and requires advance reservation.

 

Sources:

“Visit Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson: Expedia.” Expedia.com, https://www.expedia.com/Pima-Air-And-Space-Museum-Tucson.d6142845.Vacation-Attraction.

“Pima Air and Space Museum.” Pima Air and Space Museum - Pima County, https://webcms.pima.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=195795.

“Pima Air & Space Museum - Tucson, Arizona - Pima Air and Space Museum - Tucson, Arizona.” Pima Air and Space Museum, http://www.pimaair.org/.

“Pima Air & Space Museum.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Nov. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pima_Air_&_Space_Museum.

“Encyclopedia.” Plane, https://www.plane-encyclopedia.com/.

Pima Air and Space Museum. www.visittucson.org/listings/Pima-Air-Space-Museum/22275/?...0.