One of the nice things about D.C. is that many of the museums are free. You will have plenty of things to see if your feet can keep up with you. On our first day, we headed to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum where we saw everything from the start of flight history to recent space capsules and rockets.
The photo above is of the first powered flyer the Wright brothers developed in 1903. With a wingspan of 40 feet, the flyer takes up most of the room. It’s incredible to see how exposed the pilot is with his body lying across the lower wing. The Wright brothers’ first attempts with their powered plane lasted less than a minute, and it didn’t get high off the ground. But, their research and experiments had a great influence on later aircraft designs.
Above is the Apollo 11 Command Module that carried the three-person crew on the first manned lunar landing in 1969. There was also an entire exhibit on the moon and past lunar missions. While walking through the exhibit, my sister and I imagined what it would be like to communicate like other planetary beings. We imagined we’d mostly hear, “meep meep boop boop…”
The fun part of the museum was riding in an F-18 flight simulator. We waited in line before realizing that the ride could rotate 360 degrees. My sister wanted to be the shooter, so I took the role of the pilot. Once we emptied our pockets, strapped in, and started the simulation, it didn’t take long before we were being tossed around like rag dolls. Of course, I had full control, but chasing the enemy aircraft was difficult. Somehow with all the dips and rolls we made, we hit the target two or three times. After the ride, it felt like we had climbed out of a clothes dryer. It’s too bad I don’t have a photo to share of us in mid-flight. So, you’ll just have to imagine two Asian girls hanging upside down and screaming their heads off.