Summer at the Smithsonian
Planning a visit to the Museum? We provide some helpful hints.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- Air & Space magazine, July 2012
(Page 2 of 2)
The aircraft are exhibited in groups, including aerobatic, commercial, military, and vertical flight. You’ll see the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest jet. The one on display set a speed record of 2,124 mph in 1990 when it flew from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds.
Speed isn’t just for military aircraft. The Udvar-Hazy Center is also home to the Concorde, the first supersonic airliner, which flew passengers at twice the speed of sound.
Head over to the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, where more than 152 space artifacts are on display, including a model of the Mars Sojourner rover. (The real rover landed on Mars on July 4, 1997, and transmitted images of and data about the planet’s surface until September 27 of that year.)
Before you leave, ride the elevator to the top of the Donald D. Engen observation tower, where you’ll have a 360-degree view of airplanes landing at and taking off from nearby Washington Dulles International Airport. Also inside the tower are exhibits on the U.S. air traffic control system, and the basic features of an airport.
On second thought, to take in everything the Museum has to offer, perhaps you should allow three days.