Thursday, 15 January 2015

DAY 35 - It's Hard To Cap A Chino

G'day y'all, greetings from LA, California and Day 35's Blog...has it really been five weeks?

Today we headed out to Chino, around an hour's drive out west from LA, in San Bernardino County to visit two (yes two) aircraft museums, both of which are awesome. Both museums are located at Chino Airport which is a Reliever Airport due to its proximity to other larger airports.

The ultimate photo-bomb

The first museum we visited was the Yanks Air Museum which has awesome display hangars, a restoration hangar and even its own boneyard.

There are around 190 aircraft on display which vary in quality from the pristine to half-an-aircraft that looks like it has just ploughed into the ground (which is actually fine by me). They also range from a Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer replica to an F-15A Eagle. We visited this place around five years ago and the changes have been astounding. What was really impressive though, was the amount of restoration work being undertaken during our few hours there. Also some of the aircraft I recall as being quite derelict a few years back, were pristine. Interestingly, some people don't like to see aircraft restorations that make them look brand new, however, I'm not one of those people. From my perspective, looking at an older aircraft that is in a pristine condition takes you back to that era. The only downside was probably the lack of attention from the entry/gift shop workers. Trying to get into the museum or making a purchase almost seemed like a huge impost to the to girls who worked there.

A very funky looking Autogyro

We saw this aircraft in the Boneyard when we were here five years ago

This is a photo of the same aircraft as above, taken last time we were here.

A Fairchild Republic A-10 Testing Rig

The names on the side of this cockpit are the same as Goose and Maverick in Top Gun

Inside the Restoration Hangar

Working outside on a Grumman Goose

A General Dynamics F-16B Fighting Falcon

In the distance I spotted a trio of SAAB Drakens

Need a Jet Engine

The next museum we visited was the Planes of Fame Museum which is just around the corner, less than a mile away.

The Planes of Fame Museum houses approximately 150 aircraft, of which 30-ish are in a flyable condition. The museum is also said to house one of the largest collections of Japanese WWII fighters in the world.  This museum, like Yanks has display and restoration hangars and a boneyard of sorts, but which is not open to the public. The aircraft, also like Yanks are everything from the pristine to just-crashed state, though they don't have the more modern aircraft types that Yanks has. Compared to Yanks; however, the customer service was astounding and very, very attentive and also, The Planes of Fame Museum has thousands of scale model aircraft that are of amazing build standards.

Working outside on a Corsair

An N9MB Flying Wing

Restoring the XP-59 Airacomet, the USA's first jet-powered aircraft

An RF-84K FICON Aircraft which would hang like a trapeze under a B-36 Peacemaker

Some brilliant aircraft models

After driving back to the Hotel in the late afternoon, we drove out to the Santa Monica Pier. Although very similar to the Pier on Grand Theft Auto V, strangely the ambiance was completely different :) The Santa Monica Pier is a tourist Mecca and contains Pacific Park, complete with Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel and Rocking Ship, plus a number of shops and restaurants. Our timing was a little out in that we were a little late to catch the sunset, but thankfully not too late to still capture the beautiful orange glow in the sky post-sunset. Dinner was at Bubba Gump, which never seems to disappoint.

Welcome to Santa Monica Pier

The blur of bustling people

Bubba Gump

We completed the day with a visit to a few record stores on Santa Monica Boulevade (yes, the same one that is mentioned in the Sheryl Crowe song 'All I wanna do'.  At one of the record stores, Schuyler hit gold with a box set of Coldplay single EPs.

When we got back to the Hotel, we started packing for the next leg of our holiday.

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