Whether you are a casual aviation fan — or a hard core enthusiast who knows models and variations right down to the wheel bearings — the fact is that, whether you are traveling alone, with friends, or have the family in tow, hitting some of the world’s top aircraft museums should definitely be on your bucket list. According to many travel experts and impressed travelers alike, here is where you should aim your flight plan:
- The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute (Washington D.C.)
Image Source : airandspace.si.edu
Established in 1946, the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) has the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world and is the most-visited museum in the United States. You will find everything from the authentic Wright brother’s plane, to the legendary Apollo 11 command module, to the glorious Bell X-1 (originally the XS-1), which reached 700 mph on October 14, 1947 and broke what was then considered the final frontier in flight: the sound barrier.
- Imperial War Museums (Five Branches in England)
Founded in 1917, Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a British organization that has five locations in England: three in London, one in Duxford, and one in Manchester. While they are all certainly worth visiting, aviation fans around the world flock in droves to the Duxford (Cambridgeshire) branch, which allows visitors to get up close to legendary aircraft like Spitfires, P-51s, B-17s, Me 109s, and more.
- National Museum of the USAF (Outside Dayton, OH)
Launched in 1923 and located at Wright-Patterson Air Force base about six miles northeast of Dayton, OH, the National Museum of the USAF (NMUSAF) has more than 360 aircraft and missiles, and attracts more than one million visitors each year. Some of the museum’s collections include the only surviving North American XB-70 Valkyrie: a massive six-engine bomber capable of reaching Mach 3+ while soaring at 70,000 feet.
- Air and Space Museum (Outside Paris, France)
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Located about 4 miles outside of Paris in the suburb of Le Bourget (it is actually within the busy Paris-Le Bourget airport), the Air and Space Museum has more than 400 aircraft in its collection, of which 150 are in display — including the Spitfire and Concorde, which until it was retired in 2003, whisked passengers at Mach 2.04, or twice the speed of sound.
- The Canada Aviation and Space Museum (Ottawa, Ontario)
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario is a spectacular experience feature early Canadian aircraft, military aircraft from WWI, and aircraft flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
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