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Smithsonian opens hangar doors to pilots

More than 55 aircraft displayed at Udvar-Hazy Center

Hundreds of children and their parents were entertained in June by dozens of general aviation pilots who landed their aircraft at the busy Dulles International Airport.
Photography by David Tulis
Zoomed image
Photography by David Tulis

They taxied to the adjacent Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s Innovations in Flight Day to display the airplanes for all to see.

More than 55 single- and twin-engines, passenger, and military models, plus a handful of helicopters, were parked on the ramp outside a hangar that houses the space shuttle Discovery, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and other significant aircraft from World War II, Vietnam, the Cold War, and the Space Age.

Pilots from Alabama to Wisconsin flew a variety of aircraft to the event with clearance to land at the 11,500-foot-long Runway 1R after first navigating the Special Flight Rules Area in and around Washington, D.C.

Air traffic controllers deftly worked the smaller aircraft in ahead of, behind, or safely spaced away from commercial airliners landing at one of the airfield’s three parallel or one crosswind runways on a crystal-blue-sky Saturday morning.

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Event

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    The husband-and-wife team of Kathy McGurran and Dan Metz traveled from Denver, Colorado, to help direct pilots taxiing in.
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    Parents and grandparents lifted children up and over landing gear and wing walks so the youth could experience what it’s like to sit in a cockpit, manipulate a yoke or control stick, or learn how to read the flight instruments.
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    Evelyn Bloom learns about a homebuilt Cozy Mark IV airplane from pilot Russ Meyerriecks.
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    The throwback 1958 paint scheme of pilot John Rezzonico’s 2022 Cessna 182T garnered a lot of attention.
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    WASP advocate, author, and recently certificated pilot Erin Miller took up a position next to the Grumman AA-5A Cheetah that she flew in with Leon Jackler. She said the event was not only fun, but it also was a great success. Plus, she said it was “pretty cool to answer ‘yes’” when attendees asked if she was the pilot.
David Tulis
David Tulis
Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.

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