DAYTON, Ohio — National Museum of the U.S. Air Force visitors are invited to be a part of history during a ceremonial ribbon cutting event that will officially open the museum’s fourth building to the public on June 8 at 9:15 a.m.
The new $40.8 million, 224,000-square-foot building, which was privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, will house four galleries – Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach, along with three science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Learning Nodes.
Among the exhibits found in the fourth building will be the VC-137C Air Force One (SAM 26000), which was used by eight presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton; the only remaining XB-70 Valkyrie; the C-141C Hanoi Taxi, which airlifted the first American prisoners of war out of North Vietnam in February 1973; and the massive 96-ton Titan IVB space launch vehicle.
Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. and the first 100 individuals (at least 16 years of age) will receive a $10 Air Force Museum Foundation gift card upon entering the museum. Gift cards can be used at either the museum store, theater or simulators, and will be valid for a period of five years.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Director Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson and Air Force Museum Foundation Chairman, Board of Trustees, Philip L. Soucy will cut the ribbon to open the gallery along with two lucky young visitors who will be selected on the day of the event.
Once the ribbon has been cut, visitors will be able to see more than 70 aerospace vehicles including 10 presidential aircraft and a world-class collection of flight test aircraft, along with exciting space artifacts and huge cargo planes.
Visitors can climb aboard the Space Shuttle Exhibit, walk through four presidential and three cargo aircraft, or try out the Air Force Museum Foundation’s new suite of simulator rides, including the Pulseworks’ Virtual Reality Transporter, the first of its kind in North America, featuring an exclusive Space Voyage experience.
Although the building will open to the public on June 8, special weekend activities for all ages will take place June 11-12, including educational demonstrations; special costumed characters like Stormtroopers and aliens; various performances by the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight; and interactive displays.
In addition, the Air Force Research Laboratory will offer several interactive experiences including one that teaches programming within a Minecraft-type environment, and an Aeromedical Evacuation crew and a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) will simulate how they provide combat casualty care on a global scale.
Outside the museum that weekend, visitors can check out the Vapor Special Ops Supercar. A team of highly-specialized Airmen partnered with car mechanics and customizers from Galpin Auto Sports to create a fully customized Dodge Challenger showcasing stealth technology. A trailer near the car gives visitors the chance to engage in interactive experiences, such as the touch-screen game “Airman Challenge.”
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about 1 million visitors from around the world come to the museum.