Anyone traveling to Washington, DC, should take the time to head west to Chantilly, Virginia (near Dulles International Airport), and visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which opened in 2003. Affiliated with the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, this museum, in a massive, 760,000-square-foot hangar-like structure, features many rare and special aircraft and spacecraft—from the earliest days of flight to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird to the space shuttle “Discovery.”
Of special interest is the B-29 “Enola Gay” Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Several other immaculately restored WWII aircraft are also on display—a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver, Grumman F6F Hellcat, Grumman F8F Bearcat, Lockheed P-38J Lightning, Martin B-26 Marauder, North American P-51C Mustang, Northrop P-61C Black Widow, Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, and many others.
German aircraft include a Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Dornier Do 335A-1 “Pfeil,” Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, and parts of a Horten Ho 229 “Flying Wing,” to name but a few. Japanese aircraft in the collection include a Kawanishi N1K20Ja Shiden Kai (“George”), Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (“Nick”)
Also located here is the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, where visitors can watch museum specialists at work restoring artifacts. Free daily tours are conducted by aviation experts.
And don’t forget to also visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, which also houses an equally impressive number of aircraft and spacecraft. Including a German V2 ballistic missile.
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA 20151
Open 10am-5:30pm daily (except Dec. 25), (6:30 PM during extended hours), Free admission ($15 fee for parking)