Wings Over The Rockies
A Museum You Should Visit
If you’re in or around Denver, Colorado, you should visit Wings Over the Rockies. This museum has a flock of jets, airplanes, rockets and flying things.
You will see aerospace-related things there you can see nowhere else, and you’ll see them close up.
I haven’t visited since well before The Pandemic, this image is from a 2018-01-20 visit:
If I recall correctly this is the mechanism in the wing joint of an A-6 “Intruder” A-6s have folding wings, so that more of them can fit below the flight deck of aircraft carriers. The A-6 first flew in 1960, Grumman designed this joint in the late 1950s. It’s complicated. They did it without much, if any, computer-aided drafting tools. Another web page that shows this mechanism, albeit at a distance.
This is the kind of thing you can see at Wings Over the Rockies: details of aircraft. You can get close to the lovingly-restored aircraft to see details of construction and design you wouldn’t otherwise, like how the engine intakes are always, always, seperated from the body of a given aircraft. Propulsion people want clean, laminar-flow air entering their compressors. F-104 Starfighters have sharp leading edges on their ridiculously small wings. Piasecki H-21 flying banana helicopters have flanged holes in their fuselage rings. Lots of them. Titan IV stage 2 forward skirts (2A skirts) do not have flush fasteners. The Titan IV stage 1 engines have all kinds of details, like scalloping around bolt holes in bolted flanges and weld beads run in strange places.
Beyond the details that show how carefully flight hardware is designed and built, you can see a B-52 up close, one of only 2 B-1A bombers ever built. It looks like they still sometimes have “cockpit days”, where smaller children can sit in a jet’s cockpit for a minute or two.
It’s a unique experience, and you only have to put up with a little warmongering and “greatest generation” nostalgia. You really should visit.