DAYTON, Ohio – “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”
It’s a common theme throughout history, and nowhere is that more apparent than with the Air Force; as warfare evolved over the decades, so too did the aircraft used in the many battles. The evolution of America’s Air Force from its beginnings in 1907 to the most modern aircraft to ever take to the skies are on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The museum, located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base is the oldest – and largest – museum of military aircraft. The museum features more than 400 aircraft and 17 acres of indoor exhibit space.
The museum’s exhibits include aircraft from every era in the 20th century, starting with the earliest aircraft from the earliest 20th century. The museum also claims to have the only permanent public exhibit of a B-2 stealth bomber in the world.
The museum traces its origins to 1923, when it was founded at McCook Field. Four years later, it moved to then-named Wright Field.
One of the museum’s highlights is Bockscar, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945.
Perhaps the most interesting gallery is the Missile and Space Gallery, which features Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and satellite boosters. The exhibit also highlights a collection dedicated to space and includes the Apollo 15 capsule.
Other collections highlight presidential aircraft, the Cold War and test aircraft.
IF YOU GO: The museum is located six miles northeast of Dayton, accessed easily off Interstate 70 and 75 to Interstate 675, exit 15, which is the Colonel Glenn Highway exit.