August 6, 2023


One of the amazing benefits of living in the WMA (Washington Metropolitan Area) is the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum.

We’ve been to the center a couple of times, but it has been a number of years since our last visit. Jourdan and Stefani were in town for the 4th of July holiday, and seeing as it will be the last time that we will see them up here in the WMA, Jourdan and I decided to visit the center.

It was a busy 3rd of July at the center as most folks had the day off in advance of Independence Day. There wasn’t a wait to enter, but the facility had a goodly number of people.

I would be remiss if I didn’t state that the ubiquitous Fuji X-T2 mounted with the fairly new (to me ) Fujinon XF16-80mm F4 R OIS WR accompanied us on the visit. The XF16-80 has proven itself to me to be an excellent mate to the X-T2. A bit wider and longer than the XF18-55 that I had been using, it’s optical capabilities are definitely well suited to the X-T2. It would have been a great partner in my trip to Europe last year.

The XF16-80 has a storied reputation amongst the “measurebaters” at dpreview, but honestly, I think it’s fine. But I’m definitely not a pixel peeper. Photography is more than that. Some of the best images I’ve seen were decidedly not technically perfect.

Anyway, saying all that, Jourdan and I walked around both the lower and upper sections. Jourdan has spent some time in the aviation industry and it was great walking around talking about the technical aspects of the exhibits.

As usual, I’ve whittled this down to just a couple of notable images, but you can find the entire set here, if you are so inclined.

The first thing you see when entering the center is this amazing aircraft. Even some 50 years after it’s development, the Blackbird evokes speed and stealth.

We headed downstairs to get away from the crowds a bit.

The “business” end of the Blackbird

Always interesting to see the “Enola Gay” here.

These drones were definitely not here the last time we visited the center. A sign of the times.

When Discovery was en route to the WMA for inclusion at Udvar-Hazy, she was flown across the country mounted on the back of a 747.

Prior to landing they did a lap around the area. I was lucky enough to be working on the 7th floor that day and the 747 with the shuttle literally circled the building at eye level at fairly close proximity.

It was very cool.

Winding back up at the Blackbird, we headed out of the door.

It was a great day with my son. Always enjoy spending time with him!

Next time, the annual Fairfax 4th of July Parade.