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10 More Museums For the Aviation Enthusiast

We introduced you to 12 Museums For the Aviation Enthusiast a couple of weeks ago, but that list barely scratched the surface for true flight buffs. Here are 10 more great museums, many of them recommended to us by readers.

1. INTREPID SEA, AIR & SPACE MUSEUM // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

NASA/Bill Ingalls via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Want to visit a museum that is itself a fascinating piece of history? The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid—which served in World War II and the Vietnam War, as well as a recovery vehicle for NASA spacecraft in the 1960s—was decommissioned in 1974. Since 1982, this National Historic Landmark has housed the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on New York City's Hudson River. On deck, visitors can see the Space Shuttle Enterprise (a prototype that never actually went to space), a Concorde jet (which was capable of crossing the Atlantic in under three hours), and the submarine Growler, the only such vehicle with a guided missile system open to the public. This summer, the museum will open Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience, an exhibit that honors the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

2. AMERICAN HELICOPTER MUSEUM AND EDUCATION CENTER // WEST CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA

The American Helicopter Museum near Philadelphia has experimental aircraft on display, as well as civilian and military helicopters, autogyros, and hybrid airplane-helicopters like the V-22 Osprey. The aircraft aren't all just for show—on select dates, the museum offers helicopter rides to visitors for $60. (May 16 is your next chance to take advantage of this opportunity.)

3. EVERGREEN AVIATION AND SPACE MUSEUM // MCMINNVILLE, OREGON

Karl Dickman via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Evergreen Museum is the permanent home of Howard Hughes’s H-4 Hercules, better known as the Spruce Goose. The Spruce Goose may be the most beguiling airplane ever built. Made mostly out of wood, this "flying boat" has the longest wingspan of any aircraft in history. The staggeringly giant plane made its one and only flight on November 2, 1947. At Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, you can go inside it (though visiting the cockpit and getting a picture will cost you extra). The museum also has a collection of early aeronautical inventions, World War II planes, a Titan II missile, and the SR-71 Blackbird.

4. AIR ZOO // KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN

Lawrence G. Miller via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The Air Zoo is unique in that, besides being a museum that houses over 50 kinds of aircraft, it also offers theme park-like rides for children to enjoy, as well as immersive flight simulators and a 3D movie theater. What's more, the Air Zoo also stages experiment-heavy science camps and classes for kids during summer, winter, and spring breaks. You can take a virtual tour of the Air Zoo here.

5. MARCH FIELD AIR MUSEUM // RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA

Established in 1918 to train pilots for World War I, March Field has its roots in the earliest stages of military aviation history. In 1979, March Field Air Museum opened on the grounds, and the museum grew quickly as a place to store, curate, and display artifacts and aircraft from the Air Force’s rich history. Aviation geeks can also check out the large selection of texts in the Yeager Family Library. For something a little louder, the museum will host its annual air show on April 16 and 17.

6. FLYING HERITAGE COLLECTION // EVERETT, WASHINGTON

John Veit via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

The Flying Heritage Collection is a private museum started by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen in 1998. It began as an effort to collect and restore World War II aircraft, and the museum now features 20 warplanes from both theaters of battle. It's an astounding private collection that is open to the public, and the museum offers educational events, battle recreations, and summer camps as well.

7. THE NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM // PENSACOLA, FLORIDA

As the world's largest museum dedicated to naval aviation, this Florida attraction sits on 37 acres and has 350,000 square feet of exhibit space. Besides displaying more than 150 aircraft from the past 100 years, the National Aviation Museum also offers something no other museum can match: The Blue Angels. The world-famous flight squadron is based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, and museum visitors can watch them practice overhead on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can even meet the pilots, who host autograph sessions on most Wednesdays after their practices.

Admission is free, and the museum is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. If you can’t make it to Pensacola, you can take a virtual tour at its website.

8. STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND & AEROSPACE MUSEUM // ASHLAND, NEBRASKA


The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum (formerly known as the Strategic Air & Space Museum) features World War II aircraft and educational exhibits, and is also home to satellite and module models from America's space program. There is a permanent exhibit on Ashland, Nebraska native and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, who spent 152 days aboard the International Space Station.

9. ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM // LONDON AND COSFORD, UK

Martin Addison via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Of course, America isn't the only place where aviation buffs can get their fix. The UK's Royal Air Force Museum has locations in London and Cosford, England. Together, they have 170 aircraft on display. The exhibits take visitors on a journey from the beginning of military aviation in World War I through the most modern RAF technology. In London, the museum has a permanent and extensive exhibit on the Battle of Britain, which was a major turning point in World War II and is perhaps the most famous air battle in history. Needless to say, it's worth a trip.

10. TEMORA AVIATION MUSEUM // TEMORA, AUSTRALIA

Chris Finney via Wikimedia Commons // GFDL 1.2

The No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School was established in Temora, New South Wales, in 1941. Around 2400 pilots were trained there before the academy closed in 1946. For decades, the airfield was used for other purposes until the Temora Aviation Museum was established in 1999. If looking at historic aircraft parked on the ground doesn't rev your engines, the museum hosts flying days where vintage planes take to the skies for exciting aerial demonstrations.

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travel
How to Win a Year of Free Flights From JetBlue
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JetBlue has an enticing offer for anyone resolving to travel more in 2018: Customers who book a non-refundable flight before December 15 will be automatically entered to win the airline's All You Can Jet Pass, Thrillist reports. That means a full year of free unlimited flights to 100 destinations in the U.S. and beyond.

If you already have, or are planning to, purchase a flight in the first half of December, no further steps are required: You're automatically in the running to receive one of the three available passes. And if you have no upcoming flights to book but a bad case of wanderlust, you’re also invited to enter. To do so, just mail a letter with your full printed name, address, phone numbers, and email address to: All You Can Jet Sweepstakes, Centra 360, 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 417, Westbury, NY 11590.

The randomly selected winner can start flying for free as soon as February 1, 2018.

All You Can Jet Pass flyers won’t be able to book multiple flights departing from the same city on the same day, and change and cancellation fees will still apply. Other than that, they can travel without limitations. Travelers get a complimentary plus-one for each flight they book, and they’re free to change their travel companion from trip to trip. There are zero blackout dates, so even on the busiest travel days of the year, winners can fly without paying a cent.

The free year of travel ends January 31, 2019. If they’re smart with their time, it’s possible for winners to visit every one of JetBlue's 100 destinations, including Jamaica, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, by the time their pass expires. The only thing they'll need to worry about is finding the energy for all that travel.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Big Questions
What Causes Turbulence?
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No matter how many times you've flown, feeling a plane rattle at 35,000 feet in the air can be an unnerving experience. But turbulence, whether it's a small bump or a stomach-flipping drop, is nothing to get shaken up about. It's a normal part of flying through the ever-shifting atmosphere.

Just like a truck traversing uneven roads or a ship navigating choppy seas, planes often encounter tumultuous, or turbulent, air currents in the skies. These currents can come from several different sources. When flying over high mountains, planes sometimes experience what’s called terrain-induced turbulence. The wind flowing over the peaks and through the valleys disrupts the air thousands of feet above it, resulting in a bumpy ride for any passing aircraft.

Even when flying over flat land, pilots can run into rough patches. Air that's been heated up by the sun at ground level expands and rises to create an updraft. As this updraft travels higher it may cool and condense into a cloud. Cloud-based or convective turbulence is the easiest kind for pilots (and passengers) to spot and prepare for, but not every updraft turns into a menacing cloud. There's also something called clear air turbulence which occurs when the rising hot air is too dry to form into a cloud. Unlike convective turbulence, these problem areas are impossible to identify with the naked eye alone.

So what happens when a plane meets up with one of these drafts in midair? The effects are usually mild: perhaps enough jostling to wake you from your in-flight nap, but not quite enough to topple your drink from its tray. Of course turbulence can become more severe, but in such cases passengers tend to think they're in more danger than they actually are.

"Even in rough turbulence, the plane is never changing altitude more than 10 or 20 feet either way," co-pilot and Cockpit Confidential author Patrick Smith told Mental Floss. "There’s this idea it's plummeting hundreds of feet. Not true."

Planes are built to be tossed and throttled by volatile weather: If you ever see a wing bending like a diving board in high winds, remember it’s supposed to do that. The biggest threat during a bout of turbulence is being knocked around the cabin, which is why most turbulence injuries are sustained by flight attendants. So the next time your pilot announces rough skies ahead, find your seat, fasten your seatbelt, and make note of where the barf bags are.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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