Hanger 18 was a schlocky, 1980 Sci-Fi movie. The gist of the movie was that an alien spacecraft, a so-called flying saucer, was found and moved to Dayton, OH. It was stored in Hanger 18. My brother Chris and I watched this movie together, and after I took up my current line of work, he came to accuse me of consorting with aliens. I wish to go on record that I do not consort with aliens, legal, illegal or space. The Perma Bear and I did go to Hanger 18 on Wednesday, or what might pass for it. Officially, it is part of the Air Force Museum. Most of this museum is open to the public, such that anyone can just walk right into it, but there is an annex that you need to sign up for and then take a tour bus back and forth to. Because we were already at the field, we could just drive there during lunch.
The Annex contains two types of aircraft, experimental X-planes and retired Air Force Ones. For me, the X-Planes were the most interesting. I’ve been in this line of work long enough that my career has been contemporary with some of them. Some of these X-Planes are famous or at least near famous. The truly famous ones go to the Smithsonian. Some of them though make you ask, what were they thinking? These head scratchers make me feel good about those less than stellar moments in my own career, because even as hair brain as they appear, someone thought that they were worthy enough to make it into the museum.
I’ve included two photos from this museum visit. The first photo is of a P-75A Eagle, a 1942, World War II prototype. I chose this photo over all the rest for three reasons. First, its picture looked good, which is always a good reason. Second, it featured two counter rotating propellers, a technological novelty. Finally, it was designed and built by the Fisher Body Division of General Motors; did I mention how good it looked? The second photo is a bit of a hat tip to Hanger 18. It looks like a flying saucer, but was designed to be a flying car, a sort of all-terrain vehicle. It was built by Avro, a Canadian company, for the Army