Lyon Air Museum

So yesterday I went to the Lyon Air Museum along with My dad, mom, Justin, Nicole, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Josiah. The museum is located on the other side of the runway at John Wayne Airport. So it’s actually pretty close to our house.

Going to the museum was something some of people in our family had wanted to do in the past, but we’d never actually gotten around to doing it. The reason we actually went this time was because we found a good deal on tickets, and because the Collings Foundation was there.

The Collings Foundation is a, um, something where people apparently donated to them and they restored some classic airplanes. Or something like that. Anyway, they go around with their different airplanes (They have 21 airplanes in flying condition, I think) and fly them at different airports or something. Among those 21 airplanes, they had 4 of them at the Museum. They had a B24, B25, P51C (Which is a two seater P51), and a B17. All of which would give rides if you paid about $400. Or, if you wanted to do the P51, it was $2200 for a 30 minute flight and $3200 for a 1 hour flight. Of course, you actually get to control the airplane yourself, so that’s definitely really cool.

Anyway, not only did they fly, but in between flights, they let us poor folk get in the airplanes. So I actually got to get inside a B17 and a B24. I even handled the Browning M2 machine guns, which weren’t fire able though… D: That aside, we also saw the “Fuddy Duddy” which is the B17 the Dwight D. Eisenhower flew in. Yes, there were two B17s there yesterday. And both of them were in flying condition too. There are only 13 B17s left in the world that are still in flying condition, and two of them were there yesterday.

We also got to see some other airplanes (That were also in flying condition, but were being displayed) such as the A-26. We also saw a C-47, which was a transport plane. There were also some other airplanes that I either can’t remember what they were called, or aren’t worth mentioning compared to the others. 😀

They had some vehicles as well. One of which was Hitler’s personal armored car that he would ride around in. The car itself weighed about 11,000 pounds. They had some other fancy cars there too. General Lyon actually has a collection of over 130 cars or vehicles or whatever.

They also had a Norden bombsight, which was a tachometric bombsight used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and the United States Navy during World War II, and the United States Air Force in the Korean and the Vietnam Wars to aid the crew of bomber aircraft in dropping bombs accurately. Key to the operation of the Norden were two features; an analog computer that constantly calculated the bomb’s trajectory based on current flight conditions, and a linkage to the bomber’s autopilot that let it react quickly and accurately to changes in the wind or other effects.

Together, these features allowed for unprecedented accuracy in day bombing from high altitudes; in testing the Norden demonstrated a circular error probable (CEP) of 23 metres (75 ft), an astonishing performance for the era. This accuracy allowed direct attacks on ships, factories, and other point targets. Both the Navy and the AAF saw this as a means to achieve war aims through high-altitude bombing, without resorting to area bombing, as proposed by European forces. To achieve these aims, the Norden was granted the utmost secrecy well into the war, and was part of a then-unprecedented production effort on the same scale as the Manhattan Project. Carl L. Norden, Inc. ranked 46th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[1]

In practice it was not possible to achieve this level of accuracy in combat conditions, with the average CEP in 1943 being 370 metres (1,200 ft). Both the Navy and Air Forces had to give up on the idea of pinpoint attacks during the war. The Navy turned to dive bombing and skip bombing to attack ships, while the Air Forces developed the lead bomber concept to improve accuracy. Nevertheless, the Norden’s reputation as a pin-point device lived on, due in no small part to Norden’s own advertising of the device after secrecy was reduced during the war.

The Norden saw some use in the post-World War II era, especially during the Korean War. Post-war uses were greatly reduced due to the introduction of radar-based systems, but the need for accurate daytime attacks kept it in service for some time. The last combat use of the Norden was in the US Navy’s VO-67 squadron, which used them to drop sensors onto the Ho Chi Minh Trail as late as 1967. The Norden remains one of the best known bombsights of all time.

I totally didn’t just copy that from the Wikipedia or anything. 😛

Anyway. That concludes my report on the Lyon Air Museum. Other than the fact that I was sick and my nose was plugged and I had a massive headache. It was still really cool though.

One thought on “Lyon Air Museum

  1. Your posts (Or poats. 😀 ) put me to shame. Hopefully Dad will read it, and like it. Because I didn’t finish reading it, because all I saw was “Blah blah blah” I totally didn’t copy that from Peanuts. 🙂

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