Pima Air Museum

February 8, 2008 -- Benson, AZ

I'm a sucker for big old flying hardware, especially World War II "warbirds", so any visit to the Tucson area wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Pima Air Museum. Pima has one of the better collections of old military aircraft that I've seen. We stopped by for a couple hours a few days ago and spent most of that time walking around the outside exhibits under the warm Arizona sun.

I'm not sure if I'm right about this but I have a suspicion the location of the Pima Air Museum -- adjacent to Davis Monthan Air Force Base right next door -- is more than just a coincidence. You may remember that Davis Monthan is the place where obsolete and surplus military aircraft are sealed up and stored in large desert parking lots. Despite the current military activity in Afganistan and Iraq, there are fields full of C-130's, A-10's, C-141's, F-14's, and many many others. Millions and billions of dollars worth of high-tech aluminum flying machines just laying around waiting for re-activation, refurbishing, carted off to a museum or static display in front of a VFW post somewhere, or, ultimately, being cut apart and recycled into aluminum beer cans.

Back to Pima Air Museum... I wonder if, late at night, museum "procurement crews" sneak into Davis Monthan with a jeep to "liberate" aging, soon to be scraped, warbirds, bring 'em back, clean 'em up a little, and place 'em into the collection. The government probably wouldn't miss 'em... they have trouble keeping track of all the free gear we're giving the Iraqis. I know... that's not the way it works. But I like thinking of the possibilities.

When I look at an old warbird I think of all the people involved with it. From the engineers who designed it, the builders who put it together, to the people who flew it and supported it... a whole bunch of dedicated people had a big part of their lives passionately wrapped up in this "thing" now forelornely sitting on the desert, lucky enough to have been saved from the scrapers torches but never to fly again.



Slightly Better than Most