WWII at the Air and Space Museum

There are so many different things to see at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Every room brings you face to face with a piece of aviation history. From the Wright Brothers to NASA and everything in between.

In this room highlighting some planes from World War II, you find what many people consider one of the best fighters of that era, the North American P-51D Mustang (bottom).  Its combination of speed, range, maneuverability, and firepower gave it great versatility. Its use in all major theaters of the war included long-range high-altitude escort, strafing, and photo reconnaissance.

Above it is the Macchi C.202 Folgore (Lightning), the most effective Italian fighter used in quantity during World War II. The Folgore’s performance and maneuverability were excellent; however, its armament was inferior to other contemporary fighters.
 

The North American P-51D Mustang and Macchi C.202 Folgore (Lightning) can be found at the Air and Space Museum. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

The First Washington Monument

To commemorate the centennial of Washington’s birth in 1832, Congress commissioned Horation Greenough to create a statue to be displayed in the Capitol Rotunda. As soon as the marble statue arrived in the capital city in 1841, however, it attracted controversy and criticism. Greenough had modeled his figure of Washington on a classical Greek statue of Zeus, but many Americans found the sight of a half-naked Washington offensive, even comical. After the statue was relocated to the east lawn of the Capitol in 1843, some joked that Washington was desperately reaching for his clothes, on exhibit at the Patent Office several blocks to the north. In 1908 Greenough’s statue finally came in from the cold: Congress transferred it to the Smithsonian. It remained at the Castle until 1964, when it was moved to the new Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History). The marble Washington has held court on the second floor ever since.      – reprinted from LEGACIES 
 

 

Upperdeck at Union Station

There are many buildings in Washington D.C. with unique design and styling. A great one to visit is Union Station. The original building sits atop a multi-level underground metro system with trains and subways going in all directions. On the ground level in the original building, there is a large raised deck on one end where travelers can find a bite to eat while waiting for their next connection.

 

On the ground level of Union Station, there is a large raised deck on one end where travelers can find a bite to eat while waiting for their next connection. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Presidential Retreat

When the President is not at the White House, he can sometimes be found at the country retreat, Camp David. Also known as known as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont, it is located in wooded hills about 62 miles north-northwest of Washington, DC. 

But even while away, a president needs an office. This office is from President George Bush that was moved to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. Though looking a bit dated by today’s standard, I’m sure it was top-notch in its day.
 

This office from Camp David for President George Bush that was moved to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

A Grand Staircase

I’ve mentioned before that the Library of Congress is one of my favorite buildings to visit. It’s not that there is a lot of exhibits to see or things to do, but the architecture and artwork is a feast for the eyes. At every turn there is a view to impress visitors of all ages. If I return at some point, I need to block time to set my camera down and appreciate it in person more than my last visit. Yes, I would like to photograph more angles, more closeups and such, but I hope to “take it in” more than my last visit.

This is one of the staircases off the main atrium of the Jefferson Building. Here are a few other images from the Library of Congress.
 

This is one of the beautiful staircases off the main atrium of the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

 

The Dome in the Woods

Walking around Washington D.C. is quite the experience. Everywhere you turn are beautiful buildings and history around every corner. Walking toward Union Station, I turned back to look at the Capitol, where we had been earlier that afternoon. You could just see the dome through the trees. 
 

Waling around Washington D.C. is quite the experience. Everywhere you turn are beautiful buildings and history around every corner. Walking toward Union Station, I turned back to look at the Capitol, where we had been earlier that afternoon. You could just see the dome through the trees. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Bede BD-5B

The BD-5 is a small, single-seat, homebuilt “kit” aircraft by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s. It has a small, streamlined fuselage holding its semi-reclined pilot under a large canopy, with the mid-engine and propeller mounted immediately to the rear of the cockpit. The BD-5 sold over 5,000 kits or plans.

Only a few hundred BD-5 kits were completed and many of these are still being flown today. There was even a version with a jet engine, like the BD-5J from the James Bond movie Octopuss, now on display in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona.

I remember seeing these in magazines as a kid, so it was a treat to view this one sitting under the wing of the Boeing 307 Stratoliner. Both aircraft can be found at the Boeing Aviation Hanger at the Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum.
  

The BD-5 is a small, single-seat, homebuilt kit aircraft by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s. It has a small, streamlined fuselage holding its semi-reclined pilot under a large canopy, with the mid-engine and propeller mounted immediately to the rear of the cockpit. The BD-5 sold over 5,000 kits or plans. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.