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Visiting the Aerospace Museum of California

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For many residents of PVE, memories are indelibly etched with the excitement of flight — especially from the cockpit of an airplane or as a crewmember onboard. While other residents do not share those experiences, all can enjoy the exhibits to be found at the Aerospace Museum of California, located at the former McClellan AFB just outside of Sacramento.

For residents who are former pilots or crewmembers, a recent trip to the museum evoked many of those flight-filled memories. The museum exhibits a collection of full-size, propeller-driven and jet-powered airframes. There is even a portion of the exhibit hall that’s dedicated to space flight and features a timeline for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

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Five flight simulators are located on the museum’s second floor. For a nominal fee, you can “pilot” simulated airplanes from Cessnas to an SR-71 on any one of a number of airports around the world.

I was a little nauseous from the experience because it was so realistic. I sat next to Wanda who capably piloted a small jet plane and successfully avoided crashing. On an adjacent simulator, Jerry Mulenburg found several nonexistent taxiways as he landed his jumbo jet at SFO — but he didn’t crash! What a fun day!

A special treat currently available at the museum until September 4 is an exhibit of machines that are inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. These machines are working models of some of his most famous works. The hands-on machines are designed for the viewer to manipulate and are rugged enough to withstand the pounding given by the thousands of school children that have so far passed through the doors.

IMG_1470Among the 40 machines on display are those that demonstrate waterpower and wind power, the printing press, and the power of the lever, ball bearings, and many more.