With the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force base nearby, it's no surprise that there are many folks around here who value and enjoy aviation and planes. The Warbird Museum is a wonderful collection of old aircraft in various stages of restoration. We planned to visit the museum sometime while we are here, but our friends visiting from home owned and flew their own planes and are very interested, so we joined them for the day. Going through a museum with someone who truly understands what he is looking at, made it all more meaningful. The small museum had many volunteer docents who had also worked in aviation and had much to share as well. One of the hangars was full of dismantled planes that were being restored and reassembled. The smell of lubrication oil hung in the air. Our friend ran into an instructor who had given a workshop he attended and makes a wonderful living accumulating investment pools, buying old planes, making them as good as new and selling them for a tremendous profit. The profit is a wonderful thing, of course, but it was clear that this man truly loves what he is doing.
Although I am not all that interested in things mechanical, I was touched by a World War II vintage plane that had been retrieved from Lake Michigan after forty years in the water. During World War II many pilots who were training to land on aircraft carriers, learned their skills landing on barges near Navy Pier. Planes that crash into the ocean are quickly corroded by the salt water, but after a lengthy slumber in the cold fresh water, these planes are still restorable. After this plane was retrieved and restored, the pilot who had crashed her was located and reunited with the plane that almost became his coffin.
The museum had three large buildings; one housed early planes and memorabilia, one house Viet Nam era aircraft and one housed planes in restoration. The museum is getting ready for an air show in March which would have been fun to see, but we will be moving on by then.