Friday, April 04, 2008

Bayport Members in China

The Bayport Boys go to China ... and the China Aviation museum, located just north and west of Beijing. Next time you find yourself wandering around Beijing with nothing to do, make a side trip to the museum - it will definitely be worth your time. The admission price is low - just a couple of American dollars - and for about 75 cents you can see inside Chairman Mao's airplane (which he used only once or twice).

Alex and Mike in front of the entrance to the mountain hangar ... yep, the Chinese Air Force stationed their last line of defense inside a mountain. If the invaders came a'calling and if they got past the Great Wall, the airplanes would fire up, taxi out of the mountain and meet the foe.

Craig in front of the ceremonial entrance. Note the Whitewall tires on the ack-ack guns - they spent most of their time in parades.

Here is the inside of the mountain hangar. Mike and Craig are checking out the jet engines on display and you can see one of the wall displays on the left. The hangar is really nicely done and immaculate. I had to brighten the picture a little - they could use a little more light inside - but everything is right out in the open - lines of airplanes (including a few American Air Force and Navy aircraft and a Huey.....wonder where that came from?) ...

Walk through the mountain and you come to a line of MiGs ... Mike and I couldn't resist a picture in front of these simple, amazing airplanes.

And to document that this is unofficially Bayport-China ....

Craig and Mike man the guns ....
There's really too much to show in one post ... we spent about 4 hours and didn't see everything, but this line of AN-2s was pretty interesting.
...And on the fringes, you find airframes and engines in various stages of disrepair, just waiting for knowledgeable hand to bring them back to life. This old Yak trainer's engine still turns and there is not a speck of corrosion on it. The fiberglass skin is pretty ratty and there's bent metal, but it is very restorable. Craig couldn't resist getting a little cockpit time in this interesting hulk ... the prop might need a little work, but he's calling for "contact" anyway ... by the way, the skin metal really is rusty ... it's 1/4" steel from behind the cockpit to the spinner!
The first couple of clues that this is not a DC-3/C-47 are the cowl flaps and the 4-bladed props. These are IL-2s, made in Russia from plans given to them by Douglas during the Lend-Lease program.
We gave away the B-29, too ... this and the drones under each wing were made by Tupelov ... note the turbine engines that replaced the original radials
....and it comes in a variety of flavors ... this AWACS model is quite fetching ...

On the way out, we stopped to take a look at this fantastic seaplane ...

Way back in the back of the museum, there's the beginning of a general aviation operation. The owner/manager is a Lifetime EAA member and got a grant from the govt to build this facility, buy a couple of Tecnam LSAs and build a runway. In true Air Force fashion, he built the building, bought the airplanes and is now waiting for the runway (old Navy joke).

One final look back at the jet at the entrance to the museum and you've had yourself an interesting day.

More pictures to follow.

Come see us at Bayport Aerodrome (23N) ... we're just south of the Islip-MacArthur Airport and will be opening our public season later this month (April 2008). Bring a picnic and enjoy the airplanes!