Wednesday, October 26, 2011

National Navel Aviation Museum - Pensacola

On my last trip to Pensacola, I visited the National Naval Aviation Museum. It was so memorable, I wanted to revisit it here in my blog.

The first thing you should know, it's on an active military base and there are ID checks and base passes to deal with. A little intimidating but not much of a hassle. The base is huge and the pass only covers the museum. Best not to stray off course. 

I've been to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC before and was not expecting to be wowed by this museum. I was very wrong.

I remember making model airplanes as a kid and hanging them from strings in my bedroom. Same concept here only they use actual planes. The museum is enormous and loaded with planes from the entire history of naval aviation. Not just planes but a hydrogen bomb, anti-aircraft gun, and many other related items as well. This is not the kind of place where you have to stand behind the ropes. You can touch the planes, crank the anti-aircraft gun around, and squeeze into the cockpit of fighter jets and helicopters. I nearly needed air rescue to pry myself out of the fighter jet. I'm guessing there is not a lot of call for 6' 4" fighter pilots.

The museum even has a space capsule. It is hard to imagine the courage it took to sit in it with the door closed let alone ride it all the way to space and back.

Click the link above and take a look at the planes in inventory. You will get a good idea of the scale of this museum and why it's a must visit when you are in the area. 


  1. Naval?? LOOOOOVE that first shot! Very 'If I could turn back time' ...

    I've never been THAT interested in aviation history - until I visited a couple of EXCELLENT OZ museums! Now I find it fascinating - especially trying to work out how a normal sized person would fit into the bomber turret ... But 6'4"?? You got NO chance!

    But I guess you know that ...

  2. @Red - It never occurred to me how small you need to be just to get into most of these machines. The AA gun was a perfect fit though. Funny how I was the only one who tried it out. I'm pretty sure it was ok. I just had to step over the little rope that was around it.