Just as Jim the guide took me into the hangar proper, a family arrived, 5 kids, 2 adults. If you think I stressed him out with questions like how many types of planes did they put the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine in, the kids wanted to know things like, could they see the warplanes fly? Where are the machine guns? And my person favourite, ‘what’s that for?’ (which is a pretty good question the 1st 200 times it’s asked but not such a great question after that.)
Adding to Old Jim’s stress was the fact the father (or grandfather, I’m really not sure) would wander off to see stuff on his own. Jim did not like this. Nor did Jim like anyone to touch anything. Nor did Jim really like people to ask questions.
Yet, when he was on his script, he seemed happiest. Most of the museum was his creation and I could totally see the ‘don’t touch shit’ policy and I have to say, he probably grew up in a time where children did not interrupt the adults when they were talking.
While he was busy answering questions and looking like he might swat one of the kids if that kid touched ONE MORE THING, I took pictures of all sorts of writerie things. Rusty rivits. Holes in the roof. Old wrenches. Paint peeling off of the concrete blocks. Had the kids not distracted him, I doubt I would have been able to take these cool shots.
However, for me, the highlight was a C-119, called the flying boxcar which may be Lou’s plane. Ugly as sin but it has a TON of room. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get inside it. Nice as I was to Old Jim, he wasn’t letting me in (could be because I didn’t know what a the X32 was at first.)
At the very end of the tour, though, he did let me wander around his planes outside. I guess he knew I wouldn’t touch anything.