NE Air Museum – Redux

Main entrance
Museum Entrance

We start on a sad Note: Yesterday, A WWII B-17 (bomber) flying with the Wings of Freedom Tour, crashed while trying to make an emergency landing at Bradley International Airport (BDL). BDL is about two miles from our house. As of the time I am writing this, 7 people have died and at least 9 more are injured. This event is sad, on so many levels. I don’t want to venture into the facts, theories and certainly not into the stupid things being said by politicians. You can read about the crash, here. or Google it. I am rerunning post from 2016 featuring doors I saw at the New England Air Museum. NEAM is located at BDL. I’m not up for writing tonight.


Last Friday, our boss decided to close the office at noon to let us get an early start on a long holiday weekend. One of my coworkers was in town for the week from his normal remote office in Chicago. He was heading home Friday, but not at noon. Since I live at near the airport (BDL), I usually drive him to the airport. We often leave early enough to enjoy an adult beverage once we get close, however, we didn’t want to spend an afternoon sitting in a bar. We decided to have lunch and then tour the New England Air Museum (NEAM) which is located on BDL’s perimeter road.

While we were still at work, his airline called and offered him a chance to get out on an earlier flight. Our weather was taking a turn for the worse, with severe thunderstorms and a possible tornado entering the forecast. We still had time for a quick tour of the museum, but I felt compelled to point out a little irony of which, I was pretty sure, he was unaware.

As far as I know, Windsor Locks has had two tornadoes. One very minor one a couple of years ago, and one very powerful one in 1979. The one in 1979…destroyed…the Air Museum. What a great place to go hang out during a storm watch. Here are some pictures from 1979.

Like most air museums, NEAM is fairly small but chockablock full of planes and artifacts of the history of flight. In addition, due to the proximity of Sikorsky and Kaman corporations, NEAM has more than the normal compliment of helicopters, including some very early models.

Restoration Hangar
Restoration Hangar

We arrived at the museum with barely an hour before I had to get my buddy to the airport. I told him that, since I’ve been there before, we could look at anything he wanted to see, but that we had to leave 15 minutes to see the B-29 Superfortress. “Jack’s Hat” had been acquired by the museum before the tornado, but in the aftermath of the tornado, staff and volunteers were too busy rebuilding the museum to start a major restoration. Work began in 1999, and for years, we waited. We followed the progress in the local papers, and one tour that I took included a look inside the restoration hangar. When they started building the B-29 Hangar, we started to get excited. We were not disappointed, the volunteer crew had done a marvelous job.

Looking at some of the early planes, and considering that people have been flying for only a little over 100 years, the progress is truly amazing. Some of those early contraptions look absolutely scary. When you stop and think that, at some point, a person had to climb in there and “take it up” you just have to wonder how we ever made any progress.

So, here’s to the aviation pioneers, the people who designed, built, tested and flew us into the age of flight. Here’s to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard aviators who protect this country during peacetime and during war. And, here’s to the volunteers who locate, research, restore and repair these relics so that we can look, learn and imagine.


2019 Addition: Thanks to the many area emergency service personnel who responded to this crash. Our heart goes out to the victims of this crash, their loved ones and you for your service.

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s door-addiction-support-group, known as Thursday Doors. If you have the urge to add a door, or just a desire to see even more doors, hop fly on over to Norm’s place. Check out his door(s) and click on as many links as you like.

In keeping with the theme, I focused mainly on doors. That said, if you’re an airplane, helicopter or mechanical buff, the second gallery includes photos of some of the other exhibits

72 thoughts on “NE Air Museum – Redux

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    1. This particular show wasn’t associated with the Air Museum, but they have done shows at the museum in the past. I didn’t want to skip the post, because that would generate questions, so this seemed to be a good way to go. There still are many unanswered questions. I don’t like second guessing, suggesting things that may not be true or, worse, upsetting people who are dealing with an awful reality at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. NTSB staff members are on scene, trying to figure out what happened. It will take 7-10 days for a preliminary report and 12-18 months for their full report. Meanwhile, we are starting to hear about very brave and selfless people who rushed toward the burning plane to help survivors escape. But, 7 people are dead, and that is so sad.

      The museum is well worth a trip. I have been several times, but I still enjoy walking through.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. This is so heartbreaking it’s hard to know what to say. I too send my prayers to the grieving families. Thank God for first responders, and “regular” folks who run to help in a crisis.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. There are so many questions and emotions involved in events like this, I wish we didn’t have so much news. People ask and say dumb things. I just feel bad. I drove by or local fire department and I saw the firemen gathered outside. They looked so lost. It must be so hard to respond to events where do many people can’t be saved. I felt bad for the victims and I felt bad for the firemen.

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  2. Dan, such a sad situation. These things are always hard to take in and so much more difficult when politicians use them with such blatant disregard for the people impacted. I understand not being up to writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Maggie. These are not events that should be used for personal gain. People that try to direct the attention to themselves, lose my respect very quickly. At this time, the victims, their families and the responders should be the focus. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. This is so sad. We read about emergency landings at BDL often. The main runway is extremely long (it was an alternate site for the Space Shuttle) but those landings had been all successful until now. This plane had just taken off and was returning after experiencing engine problems. They don’t know much more at this time, other than what it hit and what happened after that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post, Dan. It is such a tragedy. When I heard of it, I thought of you because of your proximity to Bradley. Blessings!

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  4. I heard the news this morning so sad. Can’t blame you for not writing. Finally got my WordPress account fixed so I can see your posts on a daily bases.. Never could use my gmail account address so I get to see you at work…not a bad way to spend my lunch. Hope to write soon have so much to share
    Thanks JoLynn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you got things squared away, JoLynn. I look forward to your posts, I always enjoy those.

      This is just beyond sad. They have begun releasing the names of the people who died. When you start to realize how many family members are impacted, it makes you feel even worse.

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    1. Thanks John.They are just now releasing information about the people who died. It’s even more sad when you realize the family and friends that are impacted. The museum isn’t the largest, but it’s a fun tour. If you’re on my tour package, it includes an adult beverage afterwards ;-)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I shouldn’t be enthusiastic about your post considering the crash. It’s a terrible thing… There are always so many more people hurt than those who are hurt or lost in a sad event like this.

    As for the Air Museum post, I love it! And how cool to get to go inside some of them. A terrific doors adventure with you today, Dan. The photos are fabulous too. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That crash was such a tragedy. I didn’t realise it was so close to you. We had an airshow with the Blue Angels flying not far from our house this weekend. They are amazing to watch, but the possibility of something going terribly wrong is always in the back of my mind. Thank goodness for first responders and all they do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about this Dan. I am pretty far from the news lately and I hadn’t heard. I remember when you posted about this place before. When I was in the air recently and watching as we descended for our landing,I thought about Wilbur and Orville and wondered what they would think if they could see the fruits of their labor and dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Flying is a marvelous feat, Cheryl. Accidents like this are rare, but when they happen, the toll is very high. There are some stories of heroes in this tragedy. They are beginning to come out. But for now, this is just sad.

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    1. Thanks Deborah. News has come out about some of the heroes who helped people get out of that plane. It’s still too early, and the investigation will go on for a long time. It’s been sad reading about the people who died. Just history buffs trying to do something special. I understand the desire.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am still undone that the B-17 was the same plane that flew over our backyard last week, the one that inspired my blog post. Hubby called the Collings Foundation the next day, as he thought it might have been a B-29 Superfortress. He had nice long conversation and learned much about the plane. And then the following day it crashed. So sad.

    Thank you for the photos of the New England Air Museum! This coming week we are headed to Hubby’s Navy squadron reunion at Cape Canaveral. One of his squadron mates, a former astronaut, runs the visitor’s center. We’re looking forward to touring the Valiant Air Command Air Command Museum. They have an F-4 Phantom, the aircraft the squadron flew. I’ll take some photos for you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, when flight tragedies happen it tends to dampen the desire to travel by air, even in those who normally enjoy the experience. Awful for the families of those who died in that crash and anyone involved in the rescue.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I didn’t realize that crash was that close to where you live. It hit my wife and I hard when we heard how many people died. Our San Diego home was only a couple of miles from an airport in northern San Diego county. I mention that because it was an airport that had the same type of WW2 air planes a couple of times a year for the same type of air show. We never went up in one (toured a number of them during one of the shows), but loved seeing them go over our house during the air shows and always wanted to take the flight (was very pricey). Really saddens my heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t wanted to go up in one of the panes for several years. When I did, the cost was too high. I have toured them on the ground, and I have pictures of them flying overhead. It is very sad. I remember, years ago, being at a conference in San Diego and spending the Sunday before the conference started at the Miramar Air Show. That was one of the best I’ve ever been to.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m one of those weirdos who feels perfectly safe and happy in small aircraft, makes me sleepy and stuff, and on big commercial flights I feel suffocated of stale air and can’t wait to breathe again. It’s a feeling thing, because obviously, I don’t make sense.
    I love air museums :)
    The sadness is sad, I imagine that was so distrubing, close to home — but I think you honor them here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was sad. I was more sad for the local firemen. I drove by them as they were standing outside the fire department after returning from the airport. It has to hurt them in a way that I can’t imagine, to work so hard and not be able to save people..

      I love air museums and most any museum. I’ll be content to tour these planes on the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great pics, Dan. I would love to poke around the NEAM. Looks fascinating. It reminds me of going to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, and of course the National Air and Space Museum.

    Liked by 1 person

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