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Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)

Just spent half a day at the SAC Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. What a great place. Anyone who’s a history buff or a gearhead will love it.

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I

So many aircraft and so many huge engines.

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I

We got the Pratt & Whitney J-58 out of the above-featured SR-71:

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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And the equally-impressive GE J-93 out of the XB-70 Valkyrie:

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Both of these engines are roughly the size of my truck, for a sense of scale.

Then they had some of the most magnificent piston engines ever built:

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, a 28-cylinder air-cooled radial monster and the largest aircraft piston engine ever mass-produced:

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
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Stromburg Injection Carburetors!

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And a Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 next to a different turbojet for size comparison:

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Photo: Me, myself and I
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They have A B-58 Hustler, which is the second rarest aircraft in the museum:

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Yes, that exact airframe set a speed record from Tokyo to London in 8-1/2 hours. One of six B-58s left in existence.

The only one rarer still is the positively gargantuan Convair B-36, which is one of only four surviving airframes. I couldn’t get any photos of the entire bomber in one shot, it is so massive.

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Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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They had some scaffolding up to service one of the six colossal props, gives a glimpse as to the scale of the aircraft:

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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And of course no Strategic Air Command museum would be complete without a complement of thermonuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
Illustration for article titled Strategic Air Command Museum (incl. BIGLY ENGINES)
Photo: Me, myself and I
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The photos don’t do justice to any of it, you can’t really get proper perspective for the sheer size and complexity of these machines without getting right up next to them. Great place, well worth the $13 admission.

My hat is off to those brave men & women who manned these doomsday delivery devices for half a century while WWIII loomed over the world like a shadow of death, and also to all the American taxpayers who funded the development and production of them.

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