Home > south > My Day at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola (Day 103)

My Day at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola (Day 103)

Here’s how my Day 103 started:

pensacola_rainAnd thus the Blue Angels canceled their practice session.

It supposedly rained like three inches in Pensacola that morning, which seems like a lot. We were the top news on the Weather Channel that day. That’s right, The Weather Channel. Which, btw, has some good-looking on-screen personalities.

pensacola_museum-entry-rainOne day I’m going to find a flag that’s not flying at half-mast. Maybe.

pensacola_museum-glingFiercest of the Navy’s 1920s night-fighters: the Gling.



pensacola_p-40-tomahawkCome to think of it, we may have already been fighting Japan when they attacked Pearl Harbor.

pensacola_many-tailsIt’s like a tails and folded wings convention in there.

pensacola_artworkNavy art. I like the composition.

pensacola_blimp-videoI am deeply concerned about naval blimpery.

pensacola_wide-viewAny color you want, so long as it’s navy blue.


pensacola_blue-angelsForever stuck in formation.

pensacola_museum-entranceIt eventually stopped raining.

pensacola_chopper-rowChopper row.

pensacola_fat-albertFat Albert: always a crowd-pleaser.

pensacola_door-21You asked me once, what was in Room 21. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 21 is the worst thing in the world.

pensacola_blue-angel (1)Yes, it *does* seem to be listing to port.

Beyond that:

  • The museum is actually on-base, which I thought was very cool.
  • I think the one thing this museum has going for it that no other flight museum has is the Blue Angels practices. Which get canceled when it rains three inches.
  • The museum has some usability issues, for instance: some of the displays are hard to read (see: “gling”); it was difficult to tell what the organization at the museum was meant to be — there are grouped displays, but their locations seem randomly selected; and some of the aircraft did not seem to have signs describing them.
  • Dave, our flight line tour guide, was exactly what you want a retired-Marine tour guide to be. Well done, very entertaining.
  • For some reason the four Blue Angels displayed in the museum (the old A-4s) are angled in a downward attitude. Seems sort of wrong.
  • The other thing this museum has that I thought was unusual and pretty cool was the artwork. They got a ton of artwork and a lot of it rulz — especially the WW2 stuff, which covered subjects I always thought should’ve been covered on canvas, but which I hadn’t seen before. Wish the National Museum of the Marine Corps had had that (seems like it’d be the rightful place for some of these, for instance — or maybe I just failed to notice them there).
  • I don’t think this museum quite nailed The Navy’s Big Moment (IMHO, that’d be Midway). I mean, they talk about it, but it doesn’t come alive or command attention the way you’d think it should. IMHO. Always IMHO.

But it was fun. Again, I thought it was particularly great that the museum was on-base.

It was also interesting to me that the base has its own lighthouse (what base doesn’t?):

pensacola_lighthouseIt keeps PBYs from hitting the control tower, I assume.

Once I got over the lighthouse, I left the base and headed to Warrington, which is where my parents lived when my dad was stationed in Pensacola. This is what the house looks like now:

pensacola_505-e-sunsetI like the gully.

Anyway — big day of naval aviation. And it’s still sort of disappointing to go to these places where my parents (and siblings) lived before I was born and then to find them to not be stuck in the era in which my family lived there. I mean, how hard would it be for Pensacola to pull off 1961? Oh well: maybe next year.


  1. October 28th, 2009 at 16:35 | #1

    You did mention just a couple of days ago that a good rain would take care of your windshield. Wish granted.

  2. October 29th, 2009 at 04:34 | #2

    When the National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in Nov 06, we had a temp combat art gallery, temp GWOT photo gallery, and temp classroom. In those spaces, we are now fabricating 3 add’l historical galleries to ocver theperiod 1775 thru WWI. While we try to use combat art liberally in the galleries, we look forward to the 2d phase of our Museum, which will provide ample space for our entire art collection for display, storage, and studios for today’s combat artists. Check out the exit from Legacy Walk on your next visit; in the last few months, we have installed quite a bit of art created during OIF and OEF. We couldn’t agree more about how great it is to display our art, and Pensacola has a great track record for doing that!

  3. telkontar
    October 29th, 2009 at 08:17 | #3

    Gotta love the Corps — alwasys addressing issues as soon as they arise.
    [You’re on their radar screen, it appears.]

  4. October 30th, 2009 at 08:27 | #4


    Looks like I’ll be returning from a trip to Atlanta around the time you’ll be arriving in Santa Fe, if you’re still on track for Nov. 5.
    Send me an email offline if you want to get together while you’re in
    NM– hope so. Not sure if I sent you my new phone number after I moved?


  5. October 30th, 2009 at 15:31 | #5

    My father was stationed at NAS Pensacola back when I was a young’n. My memories of the area are really limited, but I DO remember living on the base. Wow, that was so long ago, back when I was innocent and stuff.

  6. October 30th, 2009 at 17:39 | #6

    Fat Albert has always been one of my favs! The F-14 mock up from VF-41 looked pretty sweet. I’m must of built 2 dozen VF-41 F-14 models when I was a kid.

  7. National Museum of the Marine Corps
    October 30th, 2009 at 20:02 | #7

    Love your photos of the Naval Aviation Museum…I (the person behind NMMC’s social networking) has this on schedule. You are pretty much hitting up a lot of places I want to visit. The National Museum of the Marine Corps does have an extensive Combat Art collection, we just don’t have room for it. When we build out Phase 2 and complete the circle, an art gallery is in the plans.

  8. October 30th, 2009 at 20:46 | #8

    @National Museum of the Marine Corps (also @Lin Ezell) FWIW, the USAF museum had a pretty good gallery of GWOT photography. I went back and looked at those pieces from the old PBS series I linked to and saw that a number of them were already owned by the USMC museum, but also that there were a number of Marine-subject works that were in the Army’s collection. Ah well. Sounds like the new wing is going to bring a lot to the table. Thanks for the kind words on the Pensacola photos.

  9. Steve
    July 30th, 2012 at 10:22 | #9


    Groovy photos of the schtuff at the NMNA in Pensacola.

    I have a P-40 website and would like to ask if I may include your photo of the NMNA’s P-40 on the site. Proper credits would be provided, per whatever credit line you specify. You can see the site here: http://p40hawksnest.co.nf/



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