Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Hill Aerospace Museum

Today we drove from Wendover to the Hill Aerospace Museum in Roy, Utah, just north of where next year's Westercon will be. After discovering this place existed, we reckoned that we wouldn't have time to go see it next year, what with being the Fan Guests of Honor and all, so we decided to go look at it today.

Hill Aerospace Museum

The museum is adjacent to Hill Air Force Base but is outside of the security perimeter; that is, you don't have to through base security to get to the museum. It was less than three hours from Wendover to the museum, and we got there before noon (they're open until 4:30 PM, daily except Sunday). There are many planes parked outside. The weather was clear, but I reckon it would have been unpleasant to tour the outside exhibits in full summer.

Hill Aerospace Museum

There are two large indoor display buildings. This is the first one. Most of the aircraft are US military planes, but they do have other planes, including the replica Wright Flyer here. There are also special exhibits, like one focusing on the WASPs (Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots), another on the Korean War, and one about Vietnam POWs including a recreation of part of the "Hanoi Hilton" based on the recollections of a Utah pilot who was imprisoned there.

Hill Aerospace Museum

The second building is labeled as the fighter display, although that's not strictly true as there are other non-fighter planes, some helicopters, missiles, and sundry other hardware. Besides the large number of US military aircraft, they also have some Soviet-built planes including the odd MiG or two.

Ready for Lift(off)

I was very amused by the way the elevator up to the observation gallery was decorated.

Wheel Em In

Most exhibits attempt to show the connection between each plane and Hill AFB. Apparently Hill is/was responsible for a lot of work on wheels and landing gear, which is why they have this display of different kinds of wheels and gear.


They also have a one-of-a-kind display. While a lot of SR-71s have been preserved, this one is unique: the singular SR-71C built from pieces of a a YF-12A and an SR-71A engineering mockup to replace a trainer lost in an accident. This plane served near my home area, being based out of Beale AFB near Marysville, California.

Of course Kuma Bear was with us. He has his own perspective on our day at the museum.

We did not get any pictures because we could only see it from I-15 and there was no easy way to get a picture (and besides, my phone was dying), but we got some rail-spotting as well: US Army locomotives and a locomotive servicing facility one side of the freeway, and Utah FrontRunner commuters trains on the other.

Lisa really enjoyed this visit, and I liked it as well. If your trip to Westercon next year (possibly to be combined with the 2019 NASFiC should they win their bid) gives you some spare time and you like planes, consider devoting one day to get up to Roy and visit this fine collection.

We had some other plans for the area today, but they sort of went to pieces on us, and we instead headed back to Wendover. We do, however, now know how to drive to the site of next year's Westercon. The drive through the Bonneville Salt Flats area was enlivened (if you might call it that) by driving through a salt storm. The storms that have been rolling through northern California and Nevada for the past several weeks in this case were blowing clouds of salty dust across the freeway. We need to remember to go wash the Astro after we get home so that the salt doesn't further deteriorate the minivan's paint.

There was a room available at the Red Garter. Unfortunately, unlike yesterday, the room was on the elevator-less wing, but we managed. It's just as well we were carrying our luggage; with the high winds, we needed the extra ballast.
Tags: lisa, nasfic, nevada, planes, travel, utah, westercon

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