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.

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USS Midway model in Petco Park’s Power Alley.

Kids check out the large USS Midway model inside the Power Alley at Petco Park during a Padres game.
Kids check out the large USS Midway model inside the Power Alley at Petco Park during a Padres game.

I remember first seeing this impressive model of the USS Midway aircraft carrier many, many years ago. It was located inside the enormous passenger waiting room of the Santa Fe Depot, which is downtown San Diego’s historic train station. I’m not sure exactly when the model was moved into Petco Park’s Power Alley. It has been many years.

I like to check out this cool sight whenever I’m at a Padres baseball game or some other event at Petco Park. (It reminds me of when I was a kid, assembling a variety of small airplane models, gluing together the plastic pieces, carefully applying daubs of paint.) Young people today who wander through the stadium’s Power Alley can test their arm at a fast pitch game, enjoy a hot dog, then perhaps peer through the glass at the many aircraft arranged on the Midway’s flight deck.

In case you don’t have a chance to see this fantastic USS Midway model for yourself, here are a few photos.

Along the wall behind the large model you’ll find a moving tribute to our country’s military heroes, including the many professional baseball players who have served. I’ll blog about that one day, too!

The USS Midway was commissioned one week after World War II. It became the largest ship in the world for a decade and the first U.S. Navy ship too wide for the Panama Canal.
The USS Midway was commissioned one week after World War II. It became the largest ship in the world for a decade and the first U.S. Navy ship too wide for the Panama Canal.
Many different model aircraft are parked on the flight deck of the enormous model aircraft carrier.
Many different model aircraft are parked on the flight deck of the small scale aircraft carrier.
The USS Midway was active longer than any other carrier in the 20th century. It served during the Cold War, international crises and humanitarian missions...in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.
The USS Midway was active longer than any other carrier in the 20th century. It served during the Cold War, international crises and humanitarian missions…in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.
A closer photo of the USS Midway model inside Petco Park's Power Alley. I even see some tiny sailors!
A closer photo of the USS Midway model which is displayed inside Petco Park’s Power Alley. I even see some tiny sailors!
After decommissioning in 1992, the USS Midway returned to San Diego in 2004 to open as a nonprofit museum. It is now the most visited floating ship museum in the nation.
After decommissioning in 1992, the USS Midway returned to San Diego in 2004 to open as a nonprofit museum. It is now the most visited floating ship museum in the nation.
Padres fans eat at tables near an impressive model of the USS Midway, a cool sight inside San Diego's Petco Park.
Padres fans eat at tables near an impressive model of the USS Midway, a cool sight inside San Diego’s Petco Park.

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

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Photos of International Drone Day in San Diego.

Someone displays a cool-looking drone for event attendees.
Someone displays a cool-looking drone and describes its operation.

While drones might not be delivering pizzas anytime soon, they do make for an interesting hobby. I could clearly see that when I wandered into a cool event by sheer chance. International Drone Day was celebrated today at the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego field near Mission Bay.

I was walking along the San Diego River Trail when I glimpsed something strange flying about behind a line of trees. Whatever it was didn’t behave like a bird. I had to go investigate!

What I discovered was a large gathering of electric drone hobbyists. They were flying their unique propeller aircraft, checking out different equipment, and enjoying hot dogs out in the San Diego sunshine!

In the event you pass by one day, the small field is located on the north side of Sea World Drive, just east of SeaWorld. I had visited once before, the day I blogged about birdwatching along the river estuary. On that day RC model aircraft were circling in the sky. I’ve added one pic from that visit, as you’ll see.

International Drone Day in San Diego brought out a bunch of serious hobbyists.
International Drone Day in San Diego brought out a bunch of serious hobbyists.
A quad hovers above the special flying area on a breezy day near Mission Bay.
A quad hovers above the special flying area on a breezy day near Mission Bay.
People checked out drones of every size and description.
People checked out drones of every size and description.
A smaller drone displayed on a table.
A smaller drone displayed on a table.
This larger drone was designed to be aerodynamic.
This larger drone was designed to be aerodynamic.
Drone builders and enthusiasts were in heaven in San Diego today.
Drone builders and enthusiasts were in heaven in San Diego today.
It looks like high-tech drones have replaced humans already!
It looks like high-tech drones have replaced humans already!
This field is used by the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego, and their radio-controlled aircraft.
This field is used by Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego, and their radio-controlled aircraft.
Guy sets his drone down in preparation for a demonstration.
Guy sets his drone down in preparation for a demonstration.
A crowd was watching the action. My camera barely captures one distant craft in flight.
A crowd watches the action. My camera barely captured one distant craft in flight.
On other days, electric-powered RC model airplanes take off and glide from this field.
Other days, electric-powered RC model airplanes take off and glide from this field.
I took this photo on a prior occasion. That radio-controlled plane is huge!
I took this photo on a prior occasion. That radio-controlled plane is huge!
Drone on the ground makes for a cool pic.
Drone on the ground makes for a cool, futuristic pic.
Club members prepare their drones for the High Noon All Up!
Club members prepare their drones for the High Noon “All Up”!

At noon, all the drones took to the air at once! Unfortunately, my pics of the spectacle came out pretty lousy. So use your mind’s eye! According to the announcer, 32 drones hovered above the field at one time. The San Diego team’s High Noon “All Up” took place simultaneously with 150 other teams celebrating International Drone Day around the world.

What will I discover next?  It seems that anything is possible!

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Retired man creates aluminum can airplanes.

man sells aluminum can airplanes

I had a busy weekend! On Sunday I took the ferry from downtown San Diego across the bay to Coronado. You’ll soon see some photos I took from the ferry.

In the middle of my island adventure, while walking down Orange Avenue, I met a friendly man in front of the VFW. He was selling a bunch of amazing airplanes that he’d created using soda and beer cans.

Before he retired, he explained, he’d worked on actual aircraft, so he transfered his knowledge to this very unique hobby. The models he makes all have propellers that whirl in the wind. Each design is aerodynamic, and every plane takes several hours to produce. Only a couple other people in San Diego produce similar work.

He went on to say that over the years, he’s sold thousands of these cool planes! He also displays them in Balboa Park and other locations. I almost bought one!