We went to Germany this year with 2016 Airplane Fun in mind. Mark had been talking about some of these museums for a long time, so we decided it was time to get there.
But we went with a friend who likes aviation history too… so some of the finds were his.
We always look for aviation museums and air shows when we’re planning our trips…
…you might be surprised at all the aviation venues you can squeeze in…
…even when aviation isn’t the main point of your vacation.
If you’re planning to travel anyway, why not find antique-airplanes too?
So let's look at where 2016 airplanes fun took us. (You can click on any photo for a larger version and to start a slide show.)
A long weekend in New Orleans sounded like fun, but Mark knew of a little museum only about an hour or two outside in the bayous.
This museum and its collection highlights the legacy of Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams… both aviation pioneers from Louisiana. They formed an air service in Patterson in 1928. There are replicas of several of the racing planes they built and raced.
We started in Berlin, and the first excursion we made was out to the Luftwaffe Museum at Berlin-Gatow. This was not necessarily an easy task from central Berlin. It was a couple of subway rides, a bus ride, and a long walk.
There are good examples of early German planes in one building, and a large collection of cold war era planes on the tarmac.
It’s not just about the antique airplanes at Gatow. The whole airport is historic.
The British commanded this airfield during the cold war. It was used during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949.
No surprise to find a RAF Dakota (Douglas DC-3) sitting in front of the tower.
After a couple of days in Berlin, we rented a car and headed north to Peenemünde.
This town on the Baltic Sea was involved in the development and production of the V-2 rocket.
There isn’t much left to see, but there were displays of a V-1 Flying Bomb and a V-2.
We stayed in the cute seaside resort town of Ostseebad Karlshagen. We
used that as a base to tour Usedom Island to see windmills, little
castles, and Hanseatic towns.
Mark also managed to get us to the Otto Lilienthal Museum in Anklam. Lilienthal was an early aviation pioneer who experimented with all kinds of gliders.
We drove on to Dresden to explore the old town and see the museums. There were some planes in the transportation museum… Lilienthal played a big role there.
And Mark loved the old paddlewheel steamers…. We had to ride a couple.
OK… these are not antique airplanes, but an old steamboat is a cool old form of transportation. Take a look down into the engine room.
Stopped for a night in Bamberg and tried their smoked beer… though I think that is an acquired taste.
In a Bavarian valley, we found Solnhofen which has lots of limestone formations full of fossils. This is the spot where Archaeopteryx was found. There is a terrific little museum there and quarries where you can dig out fossils yourself… though we didn’t have time for that.
So what do fossils have to do with antique airplanes? Well, it has long been accepted that Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird.
Flying is flying… right?
We visited the Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim, an Aviation Museum near Munich which was great for aviation buffs.
You start your visit in the historic maintenance hangar which was built in 1918. In addition to aircraft with a direct connection to the airfield, there are numerous single engine aircraft.
You proceed through exhibits to a new maintenance hall and another hangar with WWII aircraft, VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft and experimental aircraft.
We didn’t go into Munich this time, but headed on to Lake Constance.
In downtown Friedrichshafen we saw the Zeppelin Museum with its full-scale mockup of a section of the Hindenburg.
And at the Friedrichshafen Airport, the Dornier Museum.
Across the airfield two Zeppelins were giving flights over the Bodensee.
No 2016 airplane fun on the Zeppelins; we hadn't made reservations. We stayed in Lindau… a very cute town and our room had a killer view.
We’re not done with airplanes yet.
We drove on to Sinsheim to see the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum.
Too late to go into the museum when we arrived so we got a hotel room... now THERE was some 2016 airplane fun.
Take a look at the view from our room!
As you can see, there is quite a jumble of planes and cars, and well, almost anything mechanical that you can think of. We concentrated on airplanes, but there is so much more.
Technik Museum Speyer is also a museum with all kinds of technical things. If you buy a ticket for both museums, you get a bit of a discount. They are a couple of hours apart, but it’s an easy drive. We visited both on the same day.
Both museums seem to have this thing for putting big planes on pillars. The fun thing is you can climb up into all of them.
Since we were in Wisconsin, we went to the Brodhead Fly-in, and we explored Green Bay. For real 2016 airplane fun we went to Oshkosh for the AirVenture.
Mark wanted to go again this year to see the Martin Mars fly.
But of course, there are always lots of cool planes to see at the AirVenture... many uncommon or rare. Gotta love it.
The Grand Central Air Terminal has quite a storied history for such a little known airport. We had read about it and went to find it.
It was built in Glendale in the late 1920s. it operated through the 1940s used by civilian airlines and military training during WWII. In the 1950s it was used by helicopters.
It closed in 1959.
In the last few years it has been restored by the Disney Corporation. It may be open to the public at some time in the future. As of now, you can drive to it and look around outside… and enjoy an antique airplane building.
While there was an aviation museum in Jakarta, we didn’t get to it… We did see several airports as we flew around many of the islands to see wildlife and temples. And we flew on five different airlines within the country!
Maybe we missed vintage airplanes, but some of the boats we were on could have qualified as vintage…. the boat in Borneo, the boat to Komodo, and the outrigger to the Gili Islands.
We didn't have to travel far for this 2016 airplane fun. On a walk one day, we heard a strange plane passing over head...
It was the NASA’s Super Guppy flying out of Moffett Field. We didn’t get a photo while we were on the walk…
…but it did fly back in and Mark went to get the photo.
Mark called it the Pregnant Guppy when we first saw it, but that isn’t exactly right. This is the successor to the Pregnant Guppy.
There were 5 Super Guppies built. All survive, but the other 4 are on static display or mothballed. This is the only one still flying. Pretty cool in your own back yard, eh?
Some of our 2016 airplane fun was squeezed in to broader adventures. You can read about some of those over at mousetourstravels.com
Mark is busy finding new aviation museums and air shows for next year. If you'd like to tell us about some of your favorites or 2016 airplane fun of your own, we'd love to hear your stories.
Find 'em, See 'em, Fly,'em! And have a great flight!
Judy and Mark
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Our 2021 airplane fun was confined to domestic travels. But plenty of airplanes fly close to home.
Nothing pretentious, just cool old (pre-WWII) aircraft and most of them fly!
Our 2020 airplane fun was confined to Guyana and French Guiana. And the skies at home due to that darned COVID virus!