Combat Air Museum

On: Monday, January 19, 2009

Last Saturday the weather was nice so we decided to take a day trip to Topeka, KS to visit the Combat Air Field. There are nicer, bigger, and cooler Air Museums, but I didn't feel like driving over 3 hours to get there. We decided to take the back route instead of I-70 to avoid the tolls and to relax a bit more. The drive was nice and peaceful on the back country highways and we chilled while listening to Harry Potter audio books.

When we arrived it was about 50ºF and it took us about 1hr and 40 min to get there. What we didn't know was that the hangers are NOT heated. Luckily I grabbed my wife's coat on the way out the door, I had my knit cap in the car, and our daughter had a couple of blankets in the car in addition to her jacket. It felt like it was a meat locker in there!

The first part of the tour was guided and we got some great info. After that we just kinda skipped out on our own to explore.

WWI German Bomber- dangerous because of it's color, it was hard to see, hard to shoot down. The pilots dropped 5# bombs from the cockpit. Crazy.

F-14 Tomcat

My hottie posing next to the F-14. It was bigger than I thought and way cool.

For those who may recognize this very famous style of aircraft, I was dissapointed to find that it was a model. It was the only model plane there. (It's a B 109 Messerschmitt)

This guy was HUGE!!! I was very impressed at the size of this helicopter.Check out the difference in the size of tail rotors in comparison to the Huey.
I really enjoyed the Migs and looking at the intake and exhaust of the jets. One of the coolest planes was the F4 Phantom which actually had a Mig kill attributed to one of it's pilots while flying that actual jet.

This was a Mig 15, it was pretty interesting to see the differences in the orientation of the cockpits between the american and russian designed fighters.

This was a Vietnam era "spy plane". It was used to gather intel and to direct flights and rescue operations in hard to reach areas. We could go in; it was big and roomy. It smelled like an old hospital, but was very interesting. I wish I would have taken photos inside. Oh yeah, it was 50-60's era orange carpet!

Got more pics, but no one probably cares! Anyways, we had a good time and thought the drive plus the $6 a person was worth it, just bring a coat!!!

16 comments on "Combat Air Museum"

A Pilgrim's Porridge said...

This looks like a lot of fun.

Man, Eva and I really need a day trip. I think that we would enjoy the Air Museum.

What other things does Topeka offer as far as tourism goes?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...


Man, I was going to go to precisely that air museum and take a lot of photos, the week after Christmas during my vacation, but we got sick and had to cancel. However, the pics are great and I look forward to going!

Now the race is on to see who can blog first with pics from the SAC museum in Nebraska.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Actually, the route we took didn't even take us through Topeka. We liked it that way because it was a nice day away from crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city. I'm sure there are some great places to eat and drink in Topeka, but if not, Lawrence is on the way home and all they boast seems to be clubs, bars, and restaurants.

I recommended the trip, I think both of you would enjoy it. I shall quote my wife (think of her saying this in a very resigned voice), "Ok, it's a lot cooler than I thought it would be."

Percussivity said...

Looks like a lot of fun! This Summer we are planning on visiting my Dad and Stepmom in Washington DC and while there plan on hitting the Aerospace Smithsonian as well as a couple of the others... natural history and american history likely.

The Angry Coder said...

That Stallion is huge! 72' rotor span?! It would be sweet to ride in one of those- same with the Chinook. That spy plan was kinda goofy, like something from the 60's Batman series. It's sorta surprising considering the SR-71 was in service all through Vietnam. This one must have been used to get in closer than a Blackbird was meant to do.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Coder, the SR-71 was more a replacement for the U-2...high altitude OPTICAL surveillance, predominantly...the field now almost but not entirely completely taken over by satellites. That plane, judging by the extended nose, is a radar observation plane like an AWACS. Different sorts of roles, at least I would guess.

If you guys can make a slightly longer trip, the MidAmerica Air Museum in Liberal KS is worth the trip I think. And of course the SAC Museum in Omaha.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Yep, that guy is a radar plane apparently.

Percussivity said...

That looks a little similar to the plane my Dad flew during Vietnam (Grumman S2 Tracker)... it was a carrier based submarine hunter.

Percussivity said...

No actually it doesn't (just looked that plane up)... I know he flew the S2, but I have some old pics of him in a different plane. I'll have to ask him what else he flew.

Percussivity said...

This is cool though... I just found my dad's squadron patch online: Squadron VS32

The Unabashed Blogger said...

That's cool, I didn't know he did that. You'll have to let me know when you find a pic of the plane.

The Angry Coder said...

You know, I got the captions and the photos mixed up. The "spy plan" just looks like a bomber- similar to a B-52 and I would guess it was for electronic surveilance. What I thought he was saying was the spy plane was actually the MIG- especially since it's black! That is the plane that looks like it's from the 60's Batman TV show!

The Unabashed Blogger said...

That makes a bit more sense. The Mig 15 was interesting. The guide said that the Russian's didn't give their pilots landing gear indicators in the cockpit, they had to look outside to see if a little rod about 4 inches tall was standing up or laying down.

I'd like to go again when it is warmer, but will probably just wait until we can visit on of the larger museums.

Percussivity said...

Found it... I actually emailed my older brother who knows much more about planes, the Navy and my Dad since he grew up with him. He also flew a P2 Neptune but that was later when he was in the reserves. Here are some pics:

Andy Bean said...

That looks really cool! I love that stuff. Have you been to any of the airshows that come through town?

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Unfortunately no, I usually have to work since the the main parking area for the shuttle services is at my work.