Saturday, April 08, 2017

College Park Aviation Museum

Day two of Spring Break and wasting not a minute. I paid my first visit to the College Park Aviation Museum. It's built on the site of the first commercial airport in the nation--who knew? Between 1908 and 1915 it was ground zero for aviations transformation from a novelty to a budding industry. It's well marked which is good, because it's also well hidden off behind a series of light industrial and repair facilities down a side street the narrows like driving backward through a pirate's Spyglass until it simply becomes a driveway. The museum is still adjoined to the College Park airport, but judging from the single runway, it's strickly private single engine planes that use it.

While I've long know about this museum's existence, I've never met anyone who's ever been to it. I'm glad I didn't let that detour me. Even though it's not very big by local standards, it's full of beautiful vintage aircraft and lots of interesting history.

A replica of the Wright Brothers first plain is suspended over the lobby.    
The other brother is a freakishly detailed animatronic who comes to life with a touch of a button and then tells you their story while polishing his propeller--apparently it was all the rage back then!  But seriously, every part of this robot moves in ways that are very natural...from the other side of the museum, you could believe he was really a person.    
This is the Wright B, the first commercially produced airplane. Several where kept here in the years 1909 to 1912...and then technology moved on.
Do read of this gentleman's accomplishment achieved in that flying contraption featured in the previous image--Holy smokes! I got dizzy looking over the mezzanine!
Below the Curtiss JN-4D (affectionately known as the "Flying Jenny", and above that the Curtiss Pusher. You can see how in a very short period of time how the airplane went from looking like an over-sized kite to its modern/contemporary form.

The Monocoup 110
This is the Berliner Helicopter. A bi-winged model built in 1924, some versions were actually tri-winged!

I could not figure out who this is, but he's certainly a nice break from just planes.
Notice the Diorama table.  All images to come are from it.

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