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« ‘B-58 Week’ Ends With A Thank You, And A Tribute | Main | Video: How To Make Good Landings In The Convair B-58 Hustler »
Saturday
Apr032010

Grissom Air Museum And The B-58 Mower Shed!

B-58, F-102, A-10, C-47 tail, and C-119 at the Grissom Air Museum

 

B-25, C-47 nose, KC-97, U-3A, C-1 and B-17 at the Grissom Air Museum

 

Boeing B-47 at the Grissom Air Museum

 

 The one hour trip I made last Saturday from Warsaw down to Peru, Indiana to go to the Grissom Air Museum gave me a chance to get some great pictures of the oldest B-58 still in existence, aircraft #55-663 in the top picture above.  It’s also featured in this B-58 CoolPix from a few days ago which gives you a hi-res version to check the airplane out in detail.  As you can see in the pic above and the others with it, there are several other historical aircraft on display outside as well, including several more that aren’t shown in these pictures.  You can see all of the aircraft at this page at the museum website. It’s a nice collection that is holding up fairly well considering they are out in the weather.  I’m hoping someday there will be a way to get these airplanes inside.

 There is a 'building' at the museum, but it’s rather small.  The good news is that it’s filled with lots of interesting Air Force artifacts, and since Grissom AFB was one of only two bases that operated the B-58, they have several nifty Hustler items to see.  One that I thought was pretty interesting is pictured below.  It’s a shell in the shape of the B-58 cockpit section that housed a simulator of some sort used in pilot training.  There’s no simulator with it now, they’ve just got a TV set up inside with a few chairs, and whatever could be viewed on it was inop on the day I was there.  But there was a laminated card that told some really interesting history on that simulator shell. 

 When the B-58’s were taken out of service in 1970, leftover equipment related to the airplanes was sold to the public as surplus.  The shell that went with the simulator was one of the items sold.  In 2000, 30 years later, the shell was found by a museum volunteer in a backyard being used as a shed for a riding lawnmower!  What an unusual set of circumstances that led to the shell being found, then donated to the museum and then restored for people to see.  It’s the only known simulator cockpit to still exist.  In fact, it was believed that all of them had been destroyed until this one was stumbled upon.  I thought it was really cool that they had a picture of it when it was just a mower shed… and then I was surprised today when I realized that one of the pictures I took of it was almost the exact same angle.  So I put the two together in one pic to show it before and after : )

 

B-58 simulator shell as a mower shed, and as it is today restored in the museum

 

The shell housed a simulator used in pilot training

 

It's quite a story from simulator shell to mower shed to museum artifact!

 

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