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Entries in Chino Planes of Fame Museum (12)


Red Fresco

Kathy and I made plans to go to 3 car shows on Saturday. Unfortunately 2 had been cancelled. The remaining show was in Rialto and was excellent. On the way home we stopped at the Chino Planes of Fame Museum. This is a MiG-17 fighter designed in Russia. The NATO code name for the MiG-17 is Fresco. All Russian fighters were assigned NATO code names that started with a letter F. For example, the names for the MiG-15, 19 and 21 were Fagot, Farmer and Fishbed respectively. This example has been nicely restored, its bright red and black paint stood out beautifully when compared to the other aircraft in this hanger which were mainly silver or grey. American pilots that encountered the MiG-17 over Vietnam quickly learned that trying to turn with this nimble aircraft would most likely result in the MiG shooting them down. The solution was to fight in the vertical plane, using the American aircraft's superior thrust to accelerate away from the MiG and re-engage from a more advantageous position. In the 1960's, a few flyable examples of the MiG-17 were "obtained" by U.S. intelligence agencies and participated in mock combat against American pilots and aircraft to train them in methods of effectively overcoming the MiG's advantages in the skies over Vietnam. One valuable lesson they learned was that at speeds over 450 knots, the MiG's control stick would partially lock up. American pilots engaged by the MiG were instructed to accelerate to 500+ knots and evade. The MiG would be unable to follow.


A Portrait of You

A Portrait of You, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

On the evening of March 6, 1865, Abraham and Mary Lincoln arrived at the Patent Office Building in Washington DC. They joined an estimated 5,000 guests who had gathered to attend the President's second inaugural ball. Construction of the building begain in 1836. It was used as a hospital during the American Civil War. It was spared from the wreckers ball in 1958 by then President Dwight Eisenhower. Today the building houses the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.


Double Trouble

Double Trouble, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

Two pristine P-51 Mustang fighters line up for their afternoon flight. An American design powered by a British engine, the P-51 was greatly feared by German pilots during World War 2. Kathy and I waited to see them take off and I have to say there is nothing in this world like the sound of the Merlin engine.


Glory Days

Glory Days, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I was a little shocked to see the condition of this seemingly famous experimental aircraft. It was rotting away in the boneyard at the Chino Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA. It turns out this is just a television prop. It was built and used for a show called Quantum Leap in 1989. The actual X-2 became the first aircraft to fly higher than 100,000 feet with pilot Iven C. Kincheloe at the controls. It was lost after becoming the first aircraft to fly in excess of Mach 3. The pilot Milburn G. "Mel" Apt was killed and the test program was ended.


Thunder Lizard

Thunder Lizard, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

The newly remodeled and reopened Academy of Science Museum in San Francisco has a very large T-Rex replica that towers over the entrance hall. I took this shot from the third floor.


Sabre Jet

Sabre Jet, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

This incredibly restored Korean War era F-86 Sabre fighter's skin is actually quite smooth. The HDR process brings out so much detail that in this case minor imperfections are enhanced. This aircraft is flown regularly and often travels to air shows. The F-86 is considered a "sweet ride" by pilots for it's nimble handling qualities.


Goodnight Sweetheart

Goodnight Sweetheart, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

An experimental Yakovlev fighter witnesses another beautiful California sunset at the Chino Planes of Fame Museum.

I had been at the museum all day and had decided to wait around for sunset to see if it would be a nice one. Closing time had come and gone but I thought if I kept a low profile I might be able to stay inside until the sky got really pretty.

Right after I took this sequence the security guard came over and started closing the hanger doors. When he saw me with my camera and tripod he was ready to give me the boot but I pointed at the dramatic sky outside and asked if I could take a few more sequences. He took one look, said "wow that's amazing!" and agreed to give me a few more minutes.

It's funny how we often don't see the beauty around us until someone points it out to us. 


Boneyard - Ghost Flightline

Panorama of the Planes of Fame airplane boneyard. These aircraft are awaiting restoration to flight status.


Merlin Undercover

Merlin Undercover, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

The P-51 Mustang "Wee Willy II" awaiting its afternoon flight. The amazing Rolls Royce Merlin engine transformed the Mustang from a lackluster low altitude patrol aircraft into the premiere front line fighter of world war 2.


Wee Willy II - Plate 3

Wee Willy II - Plate 3, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

P-51D Mustang "Wee Willy II" shining in the late afternoon light with its hanger in the background.