Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Monday, 3 May 2010

The Madrid Air Museum

Last weekend the family and I visited Madrid's Museo del Aire. We were impressed by its collection of more than a hundred airplanes and helicopters, along with extensive displays of equipment, motors, etc. Needless to say, my four-year-old son loved this place. One of the curators told us it's the fifth biggest air museum in the world. I'm not sure who measures these things, but I'm willing to believe it. We took so many pictures that I'll be posting on the museum every day this week. So. . .on to the good stuff!

The cool retro jet pictured above is an F-86 Sabre and one of my favorites. Introduced into the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and serving with distinction in the Korean War, Spain bought 270 of them in 1955. It had a maximum speed of 1070 km/hr and this particular example was armed with six M2 Browning 12.7mm machine guns, a 20mm canon, and 24 MK4 "Mighty Mouse" air-to-air rockets.
Here's a front view of a Saab AJ-37 Viggen "Thunderbolt". This Swedish plane was at the forefront of design when introduced in 1971. It could land with just 500 meters of airstrip thanks to strong landing gear and the ability to reverse the stream of the nozzle. It had a maximum velocity of 2124 km/hr. Armaments included a 30mm cannon, 2 Maverick and 4 Sidewinder missiles, and 24 Bofors rockets.
The French Mirage III-E served in the Spanish Air Force from 1970-92. While Spain never used them in combat, other countries used them effectively in the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War. It had a maximum velocity of 2,350 km/hr and carried two 30mm cannons, 900 kg of bombs, one Matra R-530 and two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
Besides aircraft, the museum has lots of other air-related machinery, like this searchlight dating to 1915. It saw service in the German army in the First World War and in the Spanish Civil War to protect a hydroplane base in Majorca.

Tomorrow: How the Germans trained the Luftwaffe without breaking the Treaty of Versailles, which said they couldn't have an air force!

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