Though I would have liked to show more solidarity with Native Americans everywhere – including approximately 12.5% of my wife (who is in town…yay!) – by visiting NMAI, I instead travelled west of the city to Chantilly to celebrate my Columbus Day at the Udvar-Hazy Center. I was told it’s like a huge room of model airplanes all suspended in action poses ready for battle, with one significant difference: they are not models. They are all real and they were all up in the air, wires-unattached, pilots aboard and under their own power, at some point in each of their pasts.
So needless to say, I reverted to a time when I had no job and could just run around and explore and do whatever I wanted (hold it…hmmmm!?!?). I don’t really know exactly what it is about things that have propellers and jets and blast off, but I guess they capture the spirit of innovation and discovery really well. It’s just exciting to see how mankind developed these amazing technologies and to see a chronology of our discoveries and accomplishments in this area. Simply getting us off the ground seems like a minor miracle in any regard but to see the extent to which this has become possible over a relatively short period of time, it’s really mind-blowing. It definitely made me feel conflicted about NASA’s current diminished state.
We saw the stealth bomber, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, saw an IMAX about the new Boeing 787 and went in a flight simulator (three barrel rolls…woohoo!) and a whole lot more all under one very impressive roof.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my advisors works at the Air and Space Museum, so technically this was research(!). I am very excited to dive into more of their audio archives once their move is completed as I think this era of discovery could provide some great material for a piece.
If you are ever in the area, go there for an entire day. You will not be disappointed!