In August, tourists were able to see a rare site at the Air Force Flight Test Museum in Edwards, California. Three historic models of plane were moved into storage from Edwards Air Force Base to the museum which is also located on base: a T-38A, an F-16XL, and an X-4 Bantam.
Normally access to the museum and base is restricted to only those people who have clearance; the Museum does open up to the general public twice a month. Tours are free, but you’ll have to visit www.edwards.af.mil to set up a reservation to attend the tour.
The T-38A is a model of plane that has been around since the 1950s as the first supersonic trainer (it’s still used to train pilots) and continues to be the most produced. Even NASA uses a fleet of 32 T-38s to train astronauts. This fleet is stored at Ellington Field in Houston, TX.
At one point the F-16XL was just an entry to the United States Air Force’s Enhanced Tactical Fighter competition. Even though it lost that competition, all the notes and prototypes were given over to NASA as aeronautical research. This model’s first flight was in 1982. In 1988 two models came out of storage so that NASA could do research on minimizing turbulent air around the wings.
First manufactured in 1948, the X-4 Bantam is a small twin-jet aircraft. The first iterations of this model were found to be mechanically unsound. The problem being that they were tailless aircraft. At the time, technology could not find a way to make supersonic aircraft that did not have tails.
These are just a few of the historical aircraft on exhibit available to the public at the Air Force Flight Test Museum. One of the favored displays is of an F-2 fighter jet. This jet is one of the two original prototypes and serves as the main display in the museum. The First Flights Wall is another favored exhibit. The wall depicts all aircraft that have had their first flight at Edwards Air Force Base in the last 60 years. The aircraft are represented with 1/72 scale models.
The Museum and its many exhibits prove that the Air Force understands the importance of saving historical items in storage. You may not have any items that are actually important to human history, but you definitely have items that are important to you and your family. When it is time to free up space in your home, you can preserve all of your personally valuable items in self storage.
Of course you want to do what you can to protect those valuables, right? Unfortunately for the museum, some aircraft models have to be “stored” outside exposed to the elements and unforgiving sun. When those are ready to go on display, the weathered aircraft will need extensive restoration. Fortunately for you, you can preserve your valuable items in climate controlled self storage that will prevent damage from the outside elements. Of course, you will also want to pick up some bubble wrap, moving blankets, desiccant, and packing peanuts to completely protect everything.