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grandfather and grandson walking in front of exhibit display at the national museum of the united states air force in dayton

The Air Force Museum is Fly

This Dayton museum is plane awesome!

National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton

The Air Force Museum is Fly

By Jesse Ghiorzi

Posted On: Sep 14, 2022

I'm not sorry for the pun, not at all. The National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton – adjacent to Wright-Patterson AFB – is undoubtedly one of the greatest, most interesting museums I have visited. To start with, its size is massive and imposing. It covers four huge buildings and a missile silo

variety of planes on display inside the national museum of the united states air force museum in dayton ohio

As soon as you walk in and see plane after plane after plane, you realize the size is necessary. Much credit to the staff tasked with planning and placing the hundreds of displays and planes that adorn the ceiling, walls, and ground.

family at the national museum of the united states air force in dayton ohio

The museum appeals to fans of aviation, history, politics, war, science, technology, armed forces, and more. It has something for everyone -- even if you just want to look at cool stuff! The museum draws all types of interests and knowledge levels, from those who think "whoa, that looks fast" to the experts talking about the technology jump from WWI to the Korean War - the Air Force Museum is a place for everyone, at every age, to enjoy.

We started with the Wright brothers in the Early Years exhibit, learning about the "first everything" in flight. I could have spent half a day there, but we had a lot to get through. There were planes all over the place – replicas, originals, prototypes, domestic, and international. With thousands of pieces, it's tough to narrow down the most remarkable. For example, the former world's largest tire (circa 1940s) was wild to stand next to.

closeup of air force one plane at the national museum of the united states air force in dayton ohio

For our visit to the Presidential and R&D Galleries, we joined my college roommate (a Captain in the USAF stationed at Wright Patterson AFB) and his family. We spent nearly an hour in the Presidential area alone, walking through the Air Force Ones, learning about the history and navigating our way through a bevy of unique technical advancements in the R&D area.

Walking down the same airplane aisles on AF1 as the six presidents it served – W. Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, Carter, Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy – was a highlight of the trip. Seeing the area where JFK's casket once lay and being inches from the location where LBJ was sworn in on the runway at Dallas-Love Field was a heavy moment.

At the end of the day, it just was a blast posing for pictures at the top of the steps and doing my best presidential wave impression.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is open nearly every day of the year from 9 AM – 5 PM; so there's plenty of time to get there. Plus it's free! There really is no excuse not to go! Until your visit, click through the museum's virtual tour.

For more museums and historic attractions, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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