Huge helicopter, banners appear for 2018 Comic-Con!

A huge helicopter now stands high above the street on a steel structure for the Jack Ryan Experience at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con!
A huge helicopter now stands high above the street on a steel structure for the Jack Ryan Experience at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con!

Check it out! More cool stuff is appearing around downtown for 2018 Comic-Con!

The Jack Ryan Experience has been under construction for a few days now, and that helicopter I spied in the parking lot is now way up in the air on a huge steel structure. It appears the zip line will descend from the helicopter across a backdrop depicting a rugged Middle Eastern landscape!

I also spotted three gigantic banners hung from the parking structure of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. They advertise two upcoming video games: Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts III.

Ten days to go until Comic-Con officially opens!

The graphic backdrop appears complete. Lots of crates in the parking lot indicate there's much more set to up before this large offsite is ready.
The Jack Ryan Experience graphic backdrop appears complete. Lots of crates in the parking lot indicate there’s much more set to up before this Comic-Con offsite is ready.
A look at the gigantic Jack Ryan helicopter from across the street. A zip line will run from it down along a Middle Eastern aerial landscape.
A look at the gigantic Jack Ryan helicopter from across the street. A zip line will run from it along a Middle Eastern aerial landscape.
The Hilton Bayfront parking structure has three huge banners hung as of today for 2018 San Diego Comic-Con.
The Hilton Bayfront parking structure has three huge banners hung as of today for 2018 San Diego Comic-Con.
A prominent banner facing downtown promotes the upcoming video game Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
A prominent banner facing Petco Park and downtown promotes the upcoming video game Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Another banner on the Harbor Drive side of the parking structure also advertises the new Tomb Raider game.
Another banner on the Harbor Drive side of the parking structure also advertises the new Tomb Raider game.
A huge banner facing the San Diego Convention Center features Disney characters and promotes Kingdom Hearts III which debuts early next year.
A huge banner facing the San Diego Convention Center features Disney characters and promotes Kingdom Hearts III which debuts early next year.

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A visit to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.

Douglas F4D-1 (F-6A) Skyray.
Douglas F4D-1 (F-6A) Skyray.

I often drive down Miramar Road past the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. When I do, I usually turn my head to see if any people are outside investigating the dozens of unique military aircraft that are on display. Few people seem to visit.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, located at MCAS Miramar, is open free to the general public. It features all sorts of airplanes and helicopters that have been used by the United State Marine Corps over the decades.

When I first visited the museum last year, I was floored by the extent of its collection. While many of the aircraft might not be restored to pristine condition, they each represent a fascinating era in U. S. military history. Visitors to the museum can also see other equipment that has been used by the Marines, including tanks and artillery pieces.

Most impressively, the museum owns the actual helicopter that was last to leave Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. That Sea Knight helicopter’s call sign was Lady Ace 09. If you’d like to see photographs of Lady Ace 09, and learn a bit more about that moment in history, click here.

The following photos depict just a fraction of what you’ll discover at the museum.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum seems to be a little known gem in San Diego. Those who are interested in 20th century history, aviation or the United States Marine Corps should definitely swing on by!

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, open free to the public, is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, open free to the public, is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Inside the museum, a variety of exhibits detail different modern aircraft that have been used by the United States Marine Corps.
Inside the museum, a variety of exhibits detail different aircraft that have been used by the United States Marine Corps.
Dozens of historical Marine aircraft can be viewed outdoors at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.
Dozens of historical Marine aircraft can be viewed outdoors at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.
Beechcraft T-34B Mentor.
Beechcraft T-34B Mentor.
General Motors FM-2 Wildcat.
General Motors FM-2 Wildcat.
Northrup F-5E Tiger II.
Northrup F-5E Tiger II.
Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
Hawker-Siddeley AV-8A(C) Harrier.
Hawker-Siddeley AV-8A(C) Harrier.
Bell AH-1J SeaCobra.
Bell AH-1J SeaCobra.
Sikorsky HUS-1 (UH-34D) Seahorse.
Sikorsky HUS-1 (UH-34D) Seahorse.
Bell 214ST.
Bell 214ST.
McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk II.
McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk II.
Visitors to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum learn about the history of one airplane in their large and fascinating collection.
Visitors to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum learn about the history of one airplane in a very large and fascinating collection.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Museum displays helicopter that ended Vietnam War.

This Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter in San Diego is an object of great historical importance.
This particular Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter in San Diego is an object of great historical importance.

Many regard the evacuation of the United States Ambassador from Saigon as the end of the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, as ordered by President Gerald Ford, Ambassador Graham Martin was airlifted from the rooftop of the American Embassy. He had stepped aboard a Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight military helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09, flown by pilot Captain Gerry Berry.

Today the public can view Lady Ace 09 at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.

While the Ambassador’s evacuation from the Embassy has provided a visual symbol of America’s departure from South Vietnam, the reality was a bit more chaotic. When Lady Ace 09 transmitted “Tiger is out,” indicating the Ambassador had been retrieved, other helicopter crews involved in the evacuation mistakenly thought the mission was completed. But Marine Security Guards on the Embassy’s rooftop would be lifted to safety hours later. Shortly thereafter, Communist forces would raise the Viet Cong flag over Saigon’s Presidential Palace.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. In addition to Lady Ace 09, over two dozen aircraft that have been flown by the United States Marines are on display. Admission is free.

The museum wants to expand. You can help! Learn more here.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego contains many aircraft that have been used during the history of the United States Marine Corps.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego contains many aircraft that have been used during the history of the United States Marine Corps.
At the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, the public can see the helicopter that evacuated the U.S. Ambassador from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
At the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, the public can see the actual helicopter that evacuated the U.S. Ambassador from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
Operation Frequent Wind, 29-30 April 1975, call sign Lady Ace 09. This Sea Knight helicopter evacuated Ambassador Graham Martin from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam.
Operation Frequent Wind, 29-30 April 1975, call sign Lady Ace 09. This Sea Knight helicopter evacuated Ambassador Graham Martin from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam. (Click photo to expand.)
A look at the rear of the historic helicopter that transported U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin to the safety of USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) standing by in the South China Sea.
A look at the rear of the historic helicopter that transported U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin to the safety of USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) standing by in the South China Sea.
The fuselage of Sea Knight troop transport helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09.
The fuselage of Sea Knight troop transport helicopter, call sign Lady Ace 09.
At 04:58 Ambassador Martin boarded Lady Ace 09 on the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon. The message Tiger is out was transmitted, signaling the departure of the U.S. Ambassador.
At 04:58 Ambassador Martin boarded Lady Ace 09 on the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon. The message “Tiger is out” was transmitted, signaling the departure of the U.S. Ambassador.
The nose of Lady Ace 09, which today is on display at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
The nose of Lady Ace 09, which today is on display at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
Inside the the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, visitors can see one section devoted to USMC aviators and aircraft that participated in the Vietnam War.
Inside the the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, visitors can see one section devoted to USMC aviators and aircraft that participated in the Vietnam War.
One exhibit includes a map of Laos, Cambodia, and North and South Vietnam during the war.
One museum display case includes a map of Laos, Cambodia, and North and South Vietnam during the war.
Photos of Marine helicopter operations during the Vietnam War.
Photos of Marine helicopter operations during the Vietnam War.
Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight, call sign Lady Ace 09, the helicopter whose historic mission is often regarded as the conclusion of the Vietnam War.
Boeing Vertol CH-46D(E) Sea Knight, call sign Lady Ace 09, the helicopter whose historic flight is often regarded as the conclusion of the Vietnam War.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands of interesting photos for you to check out!

Photos of aircraft restoration aboard USS Midway.

A tour of the USS Midway Museum often includes aircraft that are undergoing maintenance or restoration. Three helicopter rotors are being reconstructed here.
A self-guided tour of the USS Midway Museum often includes aircraft that are undergoing maintenance or restoration. Three helicopter rotors are being reconstructed here.

I love visiting the USS Midway Museum because there’s always something new to see. During my visit today I was intrigued by some of the aircraft restoration work that I observed.

The many different airplane and helicopter exhibits, representing different eras of naval aviation history, are already in pretty good condition when they are lifted aboard the aircraft carrier museum, but there’s always work to do. Time and the elements take their toll.

The USS Midway Museum is fortunate to have a small army (or should I say fleet) of skilled and knowledgeable volunteers. Many are retired Navy, with first-hand experience of the history and technical aspects of these aircraft. All are very friendly and welcome questions from museum visitors!

Sign on hangar deck of USS Midway describes the HO3S-1 Dragonfly's original rotor blade restoration, which is in progress.
Sign on hangar deck of USS Midway describes the HO3S-1 Dragonfly’s original rotor blade restoration, which is in progress.
A closer look at the spruce plywood ribs, which are spaced on the tubular steel spar.
A closer look at the spruce plywood ribs, which are spaced on the tubular steel spar.
This rotor is a bit further along. It appears part of the rotor's new surface is being cemented in place.
This rotor is a bit further along. It appears part of the rotor’s new surface is being cemented in place.
Here's the HO3S-1 Dragonfly helicopter up on the flight deck of USS Midway. Notice three of four rotors are missing.
Here’s the HO3S-1 Dragonfly helicopter up on the flight deck of USS Midway. Notice three of four rotors are missing.
The aptly named Dragonfly began service in 1946. You might recognize the design if you've seen the film The Bridges at Toko-Ri.
The aptly named Dragonfly began service in 1946. You might recognize the design if you’ve seen the film The Bridges at Toko-Ri.
Part of the Dragonfly's engine is exposed beneath the rotors.
Part of the Dragonfly’s engine is exposed beneath the rotors.
This USS Midway volunteer is grinding away rust from the museum's A-6 Intruder bomber. He said it's the type of work that is done between larger projects.
This USS Midway volunteer is grinding away rust from the museum’s A-6 Intruder bomber. He said it’s the type of work that is done between larger projects.
The tail of the A-6 Intruder is being refurbished and repainted, too.
The tail of the A-6 Intruder is being restored to look like new, too.
Many skilled volunteers at the USS Midway Museum work continuously to keep the many aircraft exhibits in great condition!
Many skilled volunteers at the USS Midway Museum work continuously to keep the many aircraft exhibits in great condition!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of interesting photos for you to enjoy!

Firefighting helicopters suck water from San Diego River!

One of the San Diego Fire Department's two firefighting helicopters fills it water tank using a hose lowered into the San Diego River in Mission Valley.
One of the San Diego Fire Department’s two firefighting helicopters fills its water tank using a hose lowered into the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

I was lucky late this afternoon to capture some cool action pics! After work, I was eating at Jack in the Box in Hazard Center when I saw a helicopter swooping rapidly down toward the nearby San Diego River. A hose was dangling underneath, so I knew it was a firefighting helicopter arriving to suck up some river water!

I hurried down to the center of the action to watch and snap a few photographs. It’s the first time I’ve witnessed this activity up close.

Someone on the river path said there was a fire to the northwest in Linda Vista, but I couldn’t see any smoke. I watched five different instances of helicopters filling their tanks, then the action ceased. The fire must’ve been quickly contained.

A wildfire must be nearby because here comes a firefighting helicopter swooping rapidly down over Mission Center Road toward a wide spot in the San Diego River!
A wildfire must be nearby because here comes a firefighting helicopter swooping rapidly down over Mission Center Road and the raised trolley tracks toward a wide spot in the San Diego River!
The chopper slows and carefully makes its descent in order to suck water into its belly tank to eventually drop on a wildfire.
The chopper slows and carefully makes its descent in order to suck water into its belly tank to eventually drop on a wildfire.
The air from the rotor blades causes spray to fly up from the surface of the San Diego River. Several joggers and walkers on the nearby paths stopped to watch.
The air from the rotor blades causes spray to fly up from the surface of the San Diego River. Several joggers and walkers on the nearby paths stopped to watch.
The long hose quickly sucks a good quantity of water from the river. The pilot is highly skilled, hovering the helicopter above the water, steady as a rock.
The long hose quickly sucks a good quantity of water from the river. The pilot is highly skilled, hovering the helicopter close above the water, steady as a rock.
A couple minutes later one of the San Diego County Sheriff's three firefighting helicopters arrives! You can see the external belly tank underneath the chopper's body!
A couple minutes later one of the San Diego County Sheriff’s three firefighting helicopters arrives! You can see the external belly tank underneath the chopper’s body!
This firefighting helicopter got so close to the water I had to hold my breath. These brave hero pilots are amazingly precise.
This firefighting helicopter got so close to the water I had to hold my breath. These brave hero pilots are amazingly precise.
ASTREA is the Sheriff’s Department aviation unit. Up this aircraft goes, quickly swinging overhead and heading to the northwest. Someone thought there was a fire in Linda Vista, but I didn't see any smoke in any direction.
ASTREA is the Sheriff’s Department aviation unit. Up their aircraft goes, quickly swinging overhead and heading to the northwest. Someone thought there was a fire in Linda Vista, but I didn’t see smoke from the bottom of Mission Valley in any direction.
A San Diego Fire Department chopper has sucked up more water from the river and flies again toward the northwest! The fire must have been small, because the action above the river didn't seem to last for more than 15 minutes.
A San Diego Fire Department chopper has sucked up more water from the river and flies in a big hurry again toward the northwest! The fire must have been small, because the action above the river didn’t seem to last for more than 15 minutes.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Sometimes I randomly stumble upon fascinating, newsworthy events! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!