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Saturday, April 08, 2017 was the first ever "open cockpit" day at the Aerospace Museum of California, which is located at the former McClellan Air Force Base, in North HIghlands, just outside Sacramento.  After hearing about this event on TV, I parked my calendar for this event, and at Saturday morning, promptly at 10, I opened up today's fun event.

Photo:  Saturday, April 08, 2017 was the first "open cockpit" day in the 20+ year history of the Aeorspace Museum of California.  I "opened up" the event at 1000, and made a beeline for the only operating aircraft the museum owns, the FedEx Boeing 727.  There was just one small problem:  I was in the aircraft for about 5 minutes before the rain started to pour, so the staff closed all of the outdoor aircraft until the shower was finished, which was about an hour.  I, and everybody else, used to time to view the many indoor exhibits.

Photo:  After the rain stopped, I toured my first aircraft, a Grumman Albatross, which just happened to be stationed at the still-operating U.S. Coast Guard air station at McClellan Park, formerly McClellan Air Force base.  The Albatross is a rather interesting aircraft, as it can land on land, or sea, and when it's fitted with skis, it can even land on the snow.

Photo:  The filight deck of the Albatross.  This is a 1950's vintate aircraft, and it didn't have an engineer's station, which seemed kind of odd to me.

Photo:  I couldn't resist touring the Lockheed EC-121D, "Warning Star," an airborn radar picket, command and control aircraft, which is basically a military version of a Constellation.  I've always thought Constellations were some of the most beautiful aircraft every produced.

Photo:  The flight deck and the engineer's console.  The friendly docent pointed out to me the engineer's station has an oscilliscope which is used to monitor and troubleshoot the many spark plugs.  If the pilots notice anything underperforming on any engine, the engineer can isolate the trouble down to a spark plug.  Amazing for early 1950's technology!

Photo:  One of the radar consoles on board the aircraft.

Photo:  The radio operator's station. As an amateur radio operator, call sign WS6L, this was especially interesting to me.  I noted the station includes H.F., V.H.F, and U.H.F. radios, plus an old fashioned key to send Morse code.

Photo:  Close up photo of the Morse code key.  I couldn't resist tapping out my callsign a few times, just because I could!

Photo:  Have you ever wondered what the flight deck of a Boeing 747 looks like?  Wonder no more.  The engineer's console is to the right of the photo, and it isn't shown.  I got to sit in the pilot's seat... Why didn't I get the docent to take my photo?  This aircraft was in service with FedEx until three years ago, and it's the only aircraft the museum owns that can still fly.

Aerospace Museum of California
3200 Freedom Park Dr.
McClellan, CA 95662
916 643-3192

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