Friday June 7th 2019
It rained during the first half of the night. By morning the clouds had cleared and a bright sunny sky was overhead. Unfortunately it didn’t last. A cold front approaching from the west brought clouds and cooler temperatures to the area in the afternoon.
Today’s destination was the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden UT. I’ve wanted to visit the museum for some time. I didn’t get an opportunity when I was in the area in 2017, but when I plotted a route through Utah for this year, I had to stop. It is not uncommon for large military bases to have museums. I’ve stopped at several on my travels. They all have similar elements along with a unique character. One common element seems to be the use of the museum for some of the bases ceremonies. Today at the Hill Aerospace Museum they were having a retirement ceremony. It made the parking lot and parts of the museum very crowded.
I don’t think I saw anything significantly different from other aerospace museums. There were probably unique plane variants used to tell a specific story. The two hangers were setup in a chronological order. A variant of the Wright flyer greets you at the entry. It is closely followed by World War I aircraft and memorabilia. World War II gets in share of attention with B-17, B-24 and B-25 bombers. Most of the fighters of the era were also present. A section of the first hanger is also dedicated to the Korean conflict and the transition to jet aircraft.
The second hanger has aircraft from the Vietnam era and a few from the generation that followed it. The F-15, F-16s and A-10 were all near the area being used for the retirement ceremony so I didn’t get a close up view. I moved on from that hanger to the outside display area before the actual retirement ceremony started. A steady line of guests, most in uniform, were coming into the hanger as I was leaving.
The outside display area has aircraft that would take up to much space inside. I saw a C-124 transport, a B-1 bomber, a B-52 bomber, a B-47 bomber, a B-28 bomber as well as a C-130 transport and a KC-135 tanker. Other aircraft were also scattered around the outside display area. While most of the aircraft are buttoned up tight, the C-130 was open for a walk through tour. You could enter via the lowered back gate and exit out the side door in the front.
I enjoyed my trip to the Hill Aerospace Museum. The thing that makes this museum unique is the relationship to Hill Air Force Base. For every aircraft on display the placards describe Hill Air Force Base’s roll in the deployment, maintenance or support of the aircraft. Very few of the older planes were actual operational aircraft. Most of them were resorted from parts of other aircraft, but they’ve managed to make a very complete display.
When I got back to the campground it was almost 3PM. The empty peace and quiet of the week day campground was about to end. Shortly after the official 3PM check in time a steady stream of weekend RVers arrived. The park will be full this weekend.