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Random Photo TR: Nat'l Air & Space Museum annex


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I've been inactive for what seems like forever, so I thought I'd make my return to TPR with a Random Photo TR of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly VA. This museum is for all the exhibits and artifacts "too big for the main museum on the National Mall," as the Smithsonian describes it. For you movie buffs, this is the filming location of the scenes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" in which geriatric Decepticon-turned-Autobot JetFire first awakens. The story continues in the captions!


The SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, the first aircraft seen (other than the stunt plane hanging above the lobby) as visitors enter the museum.


"Earth? Terrible name for a planet. Might as well call it dirt. Planet Dirt!" This Blackbird was the plane that transformed into JetFire in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.


When she was retired and donated to the Smithsonian in the '80s, this plane flew from Los Angeles to the Washington DC area, a distance of about 2,500 miles, in 1 hour, 4 minutes. It took me about that long to drive the 43 miles from home to this museum. How's that for perspective?


Floor level view.


View from the catwalk above and behind the tail and engines.


For you aficionados of REALLY obscure movie trivia, this is the plane Sam, Mikaela, Simmons, and Leo hid under when JetFire first woke up and transformed into robot mode.


Jetfire's film prop landing gear door.


Model mockup of JetFire in Decepticon livery.


Decepticon insignia.


These are the hangar doors that JetFire burst through after unsuccessfully commanding them to open.


The ACTUAL view outside the hangar doors. Not a whole lot of desert out there.


A Gen1 Optimus Prime.


The Allspark Shard film prop.


Agent Simmons' Sector 7 ID prop from the first film. Look close...that's John Turturro's picture.


Simmons' "do what I want and get away with it" badge.


Simmons' aviator costume from the JetFire awakening scene of Revenge of the Fallen.


The toy version of Autobot Wheelie.


Connor learns a little about flying. This 1973 Cessna 150 is set up to allow visitors to learn and try out the various controls.



Yup. Typical early '70s. It even has an ashtray in the door.


This is the back seat. Two passengers and their luggage are supposed to fit here. This is the advantage of flying commercial...not MUCH more room, but more room nonetheless.


Entering the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, home of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her final flight was launched Feb. 24, 2011, exactly 2 years 2 days before this photo was taken. She spent a cumulative total of exactly one year (365 days) in space, and touched down for the final time on March 9, 2011.


Discovery was the 3rd orbiter to fly to become operational, following Columbia and Challenger (4th if one includes the first orbiter Enterprise, which never flew in space), and the first to be retired.


Connor gives us perspective on the sheer size of Discovery.




Discovery's engines, or in typical TPR parlance, her ass.




The circular structure in the foreground is an instrument unit from the Saturn V program.


A model of the Mother Ship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I'm not sure if it's a movie prop or not.


Best. Mailbox. Ever.


A phone booth shaped like a Mercury capsule. This originally lived and operated at Kennedy Space Center.


Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that essentially ended WWII by dropping the first atomic bomb ever used against an enemy, over Hiroshima Japan. As a combat veteran, it was intensely humbling for me to see this aircraft up close and personal.



The nose cone of an Air France Concorde, the fastest passenger aircraft ever built.



It's surprising just how narrow this is.


A Boeing 707, Boeing's first jet airliner and first foray into commercial aviation.



The Excalibur III, a P-51 Mustang modified for various record-breaking speed flights.




The rotorcraft display at one end of the hangar. This display had a wide range of bizarre looking helicopters.


The x-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the development platform which would eventually become the now-grounded F-35 Lightning II.


Prior to Sept. 22, 2006, if you were flying an enemy aircraft, this is NOT what you wanted to see in your rear view mirror. The F-14 Tomcat, one of the most successful aircraft in US Military history. Nowadays the only F-14s in service belong to Iran, having been sold to them in 1976 when we had friendly diplomatic relations with the government of Iran.


Another view of the Tomcat.


For you Riptide fans out there, the UH-34D, the military version of Nick Ryder's "Screaming Mimi."


The green SUV facing out, dead center, is my truck Serenity, as seen from the 160 foot tall observation deck in the Donald D. Engen tower.


Just north of the museum is Dulles International Airport. Barely visible (thanks rainy day) beyond the trees are the two main north-south runways.


The felt hat worn by downed CIA U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers on the day of his release from a Soviet prison, Feb. 10, 1962.


This lunchbox was in the gift shop. DO WANT!!!


Like any theme park, this nearly empty parking lot is a beautiful sight here too. There was a roughly equal number of cars on the other side of the lot, just off-frame to the right.


On the way home I noticed the city planners in Dulles VA are Star Trek fans.


Connor learns about CGI filmmaking. The video was the JetFire awakening scene, filmed here, with the animatic version of JetFire rendered into the video. In some shots, you can see the real SR-71 still in the shot behind JetFire, and others you can see it fade out. This is at the end because I somehow managed to skip it in the initial upload.

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