Saturday, August 23, 2014

Carolinas Aviation Museum

A friend texted me first thing this morning to let me know that a local aviation museum was offering free admission for the day. I was excited to take advantage of a free event that I knew would offer lots of interesting subject matter for us to see. Jesse did not share my enthusiasm, but he agreed to join us. There were commercial and military planes and helicopters on exhibit. Some were more interactive than others, but all were interesting.

The picture below is of a helicopter used during the Vietnam War. As I've gotten older I find myself blindsided by moments where I am flooded with thoughts of my father. It's almost an out of body experience where I think, "Oh, I wonder if Dad took helicopters into Vietnam. I'll have to ask him about it later."  I haven't had that luxury for sixteen years, which makes me mourn the fact that I will never have a relationship with him as an adult.

Back to reality...
Jackson was able to sit in the pilot's seat of two different planes. This 2-passenger plane was used to train future pilots. The museum staff member was quick to provide information about the plane.

The other interactive exhibit was actually just the cockpit of a plane. Another boy smaller than Jackson sat on the right side. It reminded me of driver's ed because both of the steering wheels moved together. We unfortunately figured this out when Jackson moved his controls and the other controls kept hitting the little boy in the face.  Oops! Jackson would have happily spent more time in the pilot's seat if there wasn't a growing line behind us.

The biggest claim to fame of this museum is that it houses the "Miracle on the Hudson" where Captain Sully was able to safely land the plane in the Hudson River. (You can watch a flight simulation of Flight 1549 here.)

The only time we let James, Amelia, and Maddie out of the stroller is when they were allowed to play in the emergency inflatable slide that served as a life raft for the passengers. 

Here's a picture of the damaged tail of the plane. I wish I had taken a picture of the placard because I really don't know what exactly this is, but I know it should be connected to the rest of the plane!

Because the museum lacked air conditioning, the outdoor exhibits felt quite pleasant in comparison thanks to the occasional breeze. The big boys walked up the stairs as if they were about to board the plane. Jackson wanted to open the door, which was inaccessible. I'm sure he'll have the opportunity to do so one day.

After learning about Flight 1549, Jack was quite concerned about dead geese and kept inquiring about the geese with every plane we saw.

I've taken the kids to an airport overlook park to watch planes land and take-off a few times. However, the museum parking lot provides a much better view with much less volume than the overlook park. You can't see the runway or the planes taxiing, but there are perfectly clear shots of the massive planes taking off.

The best part is that there are huge open fields. The triplets were getting antsy from being confined in their strollers for so long. We let them eat their lunch in the grass. (Random fact: At 13 months old, the trio had their first peanut butter and jelly sandwich today.)

Since there wasn't any shade in the grass Jackson found a secluded concrete tunnel to rest inside.

My happy boy...

We had a really fun morning. Events like this make me especially grateful that we live in a large city that has a variety of fun, free activities for us to do together as a family!


  1. I had no idea your dad was in Vietnam. Not sure how I missed that huge detail.