Before 9/11, anyone could visit the Air Force Museum’s Annex. A special bus would transport you from the main museum to the annex, but after 9/11 this bus service was discontinued, yet the annex remained open. It has been a few years since I last visited the place and I don’t know if it was ever reopened to the public, but I suspect that like everything else these days, it is shutdown for the duration. At the time I last visited the place, I was at Wright-Pat on business and as luck would have it, I had a couple of hours to kill, before my meeting. Since, I was already on base, I could just drive to the annex and park.
While the main museum mostly has production aircraft, the annex specializes in prototypes. It also has a more modern bent than the main museum, which covers the entirety of the history of the Air Force. There were even a couple of things that came from projects that I had worked on. While the Avrocar certainly isn’t the strangest aircraft on display, it is on that far-out end of that spectrum.
Like the Avrocar, the annex is populated with what could be termed failures in aviation. The problem with the Avrocar was that its shape resulted in making the vehicle inherently unstable and impossible to control other than as a low-speed ground effects vehicle. Designed and built in Canada during the Cold War, the Avrocar was originally envisioned as a vertical takeoff short landing (VSTOL) supersonic fighter. Because its development was paid for by the US Air Force, when the Avrocar program was eventually cancelled, its test articles reverted to the US Government. That’s how the pictured prototype ended up in Dayton.
The whole flying car thing aside, it is undeniable that the Avrocar has an other-worldly appearance that shouts UFOs and space aliens. Since, it was developed in the fifties this aspect of the design had to have some play back then. I have better photos of this craft, but I chose this backlit one for effect, choosing to shroud it in darkness and lending it an air of mystery. I especially love its dual plexiglass canopies. You can easily image and almost see, the heads of two little green aliens sticking-up out in them.