4-13-2011 Virginia Aviation Museum
On a road trip this spring we stopped at the Virginia Aviation Museum at the Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. The museum has 36 exhibit aircraft ranging from a 1917 Spad to an SR-71. Although there are a few military aircraft, most of the exhibits are General Aviation (GA) aircraft. The museum volunteers were very knowledgeable of the exhibit aircraft. One volunteer walked the exhibits with us, explaining the history of the type and the detailed history of the particular aircraft on display. A few of the aircraft are quite rare, such as the Vultee, which is the only remaining aircraft of the type. The museum has an interesting web site (www.vam.smv.org) with a detailed page for each aircraft.
There were a few notable exhibits. Below is a JN4-D "Jenny". This beautifully restored aircraft was twice flown by is owners (1987 and 1989) from Richmond to Oshkosh (Air Venture) where they won the Antique Grand Champion award.
When Adm. Richard Byrd explored the Antartic, he used this Fairchild FC-2W2 on skis. This aircraft can carry a significant payload, and has folding wings making it easy to transport via ship. (displayed with the starboard wing folded). Interestingly, this aircraft was used on Byrd's 1930 expedition, was stored in a "hanger" of ice blocks for 4 years, then dug out and used again during Byrd's 1934 expedition.
The Vultee on display, originally owned by publisher William Randolph Hearst, boasts a 1000 hp engine. (Imagine a 1000hp, single engine land). The aircraft is the same type that first crossed the Atlantic Ocean in both directions.
Below are more pictures we took during our tour. If you are in the Richmond area, and have a couple of hours to spend, the aviation museum is well worth the time. Click the thumbnails for larger views.