Our Trip to the Florence Air and Missile Museum

Florence S.C. - July, 1995


I retrieved the Warmonger from summer camp in North Carolina and headed back to Savannah down I-95. Having a little time to spare, we stopped by the Florence Air and Missile Museum. Driving up to the airport, we first encountered a military Constellation type, sitting off by itself in a weed filled chain link fence enclosure. Despite it's shabby condition, it still exuded the dignity and grandeur of its design.

We went on to the modest white box of a museum building and paid our way in. This is not the Smithsonian. It is your grandfather's attic. The first room had a bunch of old control consoles from the blockhouses of the space program, with very little documentation. There also were a few old PR exhibits from space program contractors. None of this did much for me, but there was some other interesting stuff, including a Ryan FireBee drone and a "corncob" engine. This is the highest achievement of big radial piston engines, with the nickname derived from the appearance of multiple rows of cylinders. I'd never seen one naked before.

The Warmonger went out the door first and called out "Look, it's a loon." I went over to swat him for being disrespectful to his elders, but realized he wasn't talking about me after all.

Loon

The Loon was a V-1 clone used as a submarine launched cruise missile in the post WWII years. Submarines actually did surface, assemble these birds, fit them on a rail and fire them. This one is a "fixer-upper".







Regulas

Of course, things got better on the missile front. The Regulus was quite a step forward.









B-57 Canberra

We left the exhibit building and went to the outdoor displays. I've seen many carports, but this is the first "Canberraport":









B-26

This long nosed B-26( A-20, A-26 heritage) was a SouthEast Asia veteran, confirming the versatility and longevity of the design.








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