We took a day off to visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon on Wednesday.
It is a huge campus! It took us about 4 hours to walk through it all, without really reading every plaque. I think it was more nostalgic for Darren and I having lived through many of the missions that were on display – familiar with many of the pilot’s names. Darren was raised in the US Air Force, so it was a part of his life also. The boys were more excited about the product than embracing the history of it, so we just let them soak it all in.
The boys really liked this Mars Rover – They were talking about FLL Lego Designs while looking at it. And, by the way, the Regional FLL Tournament for our area was held on the main floor of this building, two of the parents couldn’t go that weekend, so we ended up near OSU in Corvallis, but next year, we’ll black out these dates and jump on it!
Flight Simulators were set up in various parts of the building. Landing shuttles on the moon, landing an airplane, keeping a helicopter centered in the air. I think the Helicopter was the hardest. We were wondering if they are really that hard to fly, or if pilots really don’t keep them completely level all the time.
There were so many flying crafts in the building, from this model that you can still make from a kit – to rockets that have been on the moon – to land rovers that have been on mars. Many are on donation from the Smithsonian Museum. Here is a link to their aircraft types.
One of the most enjoyable parts of field trips for me are when the boys get to interact with the volunteers. Here they call the volunteers Docents. They have a sparkle in their eye as they watch visitors see these great crafts in person. The boys also get to mingle with other visitors, the visitor below was just itching to race someone on the rocket launch – and he was almost as giddy as a 5 year old when Jon agreed to “Play” with him.
He talked to Jon about PSI, and shared with Jon his failed attempts so far, trying to learn which PSI level to use to launch the rocket. You have to hold down the button while the air pressure builds, then see how high it will go. If you are excited to launch, and push the launch button too soon – it only shoots up a foot or so. Jon wanted to try 65, and that didn’t work to get to the top, so they both decided on 75 (out of 100). Listening to this excited conversation between two boys was highly entertaining.
The rockets did make it to the top at 75, and that’s about where the pressure taps out. The went a couple of feet higher than this photograph. Our visitor friend there on the left had the rose-iest cheeks and smile as he continued his walk through the facility. We were walking in opposite directions so we didn’t see him again.
Jon is a Pearl Harbor Baby – Born on December 7th. Every year random people comment on it, and seem to expect this little child to be an expert on the opening day of World War 2. He has gathered quite a bit of information in the last 3 or so years that he caught on that this would be a yearly quiz.
This is a model built from scratch by a Docent named Ron Weil. It is the USS Ward, a Destroyer, the ship that fired the first warshot in WWII.
“At 6:45 a.m., her lookouts spotted a Japanese Type “A” Midget Submarine attempting to follow a U.S. Navy Tug into Pearl Harbor. Not knowing the nationality of the sub, but knowing that it was in the “exclusion zone”, Ward opened fire at 100 yards with her 4” deck gun. The shot missed, sailing over the sub’s conning tower and exploding on the other side. Ward, moving at 25 knots, closed to within 50 yards and fired her No. 3 Port side gun, the shell striking low on the sub’s conning tower. The shell failed to explode but punched a 4” hole near the sub’s waterline (between the conning tower and the hull). The sub went down, and as the Ward passed overhead, she dropped a pattern of depth charges which blew the sub up out of the water before disappearing for good. The main Japanese attack occurred at 7:55 a.m. Ironically, Ward was sunk by a Japanese suicide plane off Okinawa, Dec 7th 1944, exactly 3 years after the Pear Harbor Attack.”
I did get my penny squished in honor of my Live the Adventure friends, who inspire me to invest time in field trips – I am starting a squished penny collection – best souvenir you can collect for 51 cents! I hope to have her turn them into a bracelet for me in time. (Visit her Wear the Adventure Etsy Site!)
I have another reader whose son is working on his pilot’s license, so I picked up a postcard of the Spruce Goose for her boys.
Over all, it was a really enjoyable day!