The fighting I

Viewed from a sidewalk at the edge of Midtown Manhattan, here's USS Intrepid, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Iconic airplanes ranging from F-14 and F-16s, to the Concorde and the Space Shuttle, to the submarine USS Growler, are all on display.

Read on for a full photo tour of these epic vehicles and museum.

For the full story behind the tour, check out A tour of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Essex-class

The Intrepid was commissioned in August 1943. After several decommissioning and recommissionings, it was finally decommissioned in 1974. She opened as a museum ship in 1982.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Concorde

Still better looking than any modern airliner.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Relax in the shade

Tables and chairs let you relax under the Concorde for a bit. It's noticeable how small it is from down here.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Miniwheels

I wonder if Concorde pilots would have bets if not to hit this wheel.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Interior

You can't walk through the Concorde anymore without a special tour (which I wasn't able to do). So this, and the following image, are from a walk-through I did a few years ago.

Notice how narrow the cabin and seats are.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Analog

Rarely upgraded, the Concorde was one of the last commercial airliners with a Flight Engineer (the third seat).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Going down?

The port aircraft elevator. You can ride this at specific times during the day.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

F-16

This F-16 flew in Desert Storm, and starred in Iron Eagle.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

A-12

Slightly smaller, and slightly faster, than the better known SR-71, the A-12 looks just like it at first glance.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Tomcat

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Swing wings

This was the seventh F-14 built by Grumman. The Navy retired all remaining F-14s in 2006.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Flight of the...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

F-11A

I didn't recognize this plane, and hadn't ever heard of the F-11F. Only 201 were made, and it was pulled from service after just a few years, but the Blue Angels flew them from 1957-1968.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Cougar

Another oddball, a F9F-8 Cougar, which is a swept-wing version of the F-9 Panther.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Tracer

I think these are pretty iconic too, with their big radome hat. This E-1B didn't fly off the Intrepid, but when restored was painted to look like those that did.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Island

During the summer, there's a line to get up into the Island (where the bridge is). Doesn't take too long, though.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Seaguard

A lovely Sikorski HH-52.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

MiG-17

About 12,000 of these were built, including many, like this one, built under licence in Poland.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

MiG-21

Is that supposed to be a tiger?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Ceramic glider

The Shuttle still looks cool, after all these years. This one, the Enterprise, was the first built, but never made it to space.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Heat shield

It doesn't have the well-used look of the Endeavour (which is in LA).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Aero

The tail cap makes the Shuttle a little more aerodynamic for transport.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Cramped

The interior of a Soyuz capsule. Not exactly roomy...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Be careful.

Do you think this warning saved any lives?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Backseat drivers

The guy who actually "drove" the ship was stationed behind where I'm standing, taking orders from the officers up here who could actually see where they were going.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Of an era

Turns out, a lot of this equipment was taken from other ships of the era. So this wasn't necessarily what was installed on the Intrepid at the time of its decommission, but would have likely been found here at some point (like the radar display in the foreground).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Quite a view

Here you can see a few more of the plane/helicopters I didn't have the room to have full images of, like the Harrier (which I featured in my RAF Museum Tour). Going left to right from there, a HueySea CobraChickasaw, Seaguard, Kfir, and the others I showed earlier.

On the right are a F3H Demon and T-34 Mentor.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Captain's chair

My car is from the 70's and it doesn't have any cupholders. So clearly the Navy got their money's worth.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Captain's sea cabin

Just off the Navigation Bridge is the Captain's Sea Cabin. Pretty short commute, that.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Eyes on the road

Just below frame is the wheel used to steer the ship, using one of these redundant compasses. The tubes are backup for backups, but ensure communication to other important areas of the ship even if power is lost.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

SatNav

Communications gear and a map table. The latter has New York harbor.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Hanger deck

The main Hanger Deck has been converted to a museum space. It doesn't even feel like you're on a ship, actually. Too huge and wide open.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Pretty flower

Prop anyone? The Intrepid had four of these.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Original Avenger

A mint TBM-3E Avenger. This one was actually built by GM (hence the "M" designation).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Ball turret

I've actually never seen one of these up close. This is off a different Avenger. Not sure I could even fit in there. There must have been some serious height and weight requirements.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

For "kids"

The Exploreum is an interactive area with a bit of history, science, and exhibits about life on navy ships and boats.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Recovery

One of the missions the Intrepid performed in its later life was as the recovery ship for Mercury and Gemini missions.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Officers' stateroom

Not exactly lavish, but certainly a better living area than the enlisted men several decks below (which we'll see later).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Anchor chain room

An entire room just for the chains for the anchors (basically). Foreword of this is the Hurricane Bow. It, like this room, was open to the elements originally, but later enclosed (as you see here).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Marine berthing

The Intrepid's compliment of Marines had their berths up near the forecastle.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Pilot's escalator

After moving the Pilot's Ready Room deeper into the ship for safety, they needed some way to get the pilots (wearing all their gear) up to the flight deck. So they put in this escalator.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Off limits

While the lease on the Intrepid is only $1 a year, the museum still has to maintain it. Many off-limits areas are probably that way because of cost to make them publicly accessible/safe. That yellow warning sign, for instances, says "Asbestos."

Tasty.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Galley

Here's how you prepare food for about 3,000 men...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Scullery

And here's how you do their dishes.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

A bit of decor

In 1969 the mess was improved to add some color and "unique decor" to give the sailors something to look at besides "endless steel walls."

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Cafe theme

In addition to the Western theme of the Second Class Mess, there was also the cafe theme seen here. All the materials were bought at yard sales.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Crew berthing

While the officers got reasonable bunk beds, the enlisted crew got squeezed in like this. Not much for privacy.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

CIC

The Combat Information Center, the brains of the outfit.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

CIC reverse

This is the opposite angle from the last photo, showing more what the crew stationed here were looking at all shift long. Check out the big headphones.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Buttons and knobs

Why do I feel like a smartphone and some antennas could do all of this?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Ready room

After WWII the ready room was moved down here, around the corner from the CIC, (hence the need for the escalator shown earlier).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Flight ops

Who's where, when, and where are they going?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Crypto

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

A whole room for...

This room was labeled, I'm not kidding, the Shoe Polishing Room. Yep, a whole room just to polish shoes.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Regulus

Each sub in the Grayback class carried four Regulus I or two Regulus II missiles.

This should not be confused with Regula I, a notable space station.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Growler

The Growler has an odd shape to it, for a submarine. Not quite the sort-of-boat shapes of WWI and WWI subs, yet also not the bullet-shaped modern subs.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Sideways silo

The wings of the Regulus would fold up. As a sign of how quickly things moved in during the Cold War, the Growler was only in service for 6 years. By 1964 she was already obsolete.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Forward torpedo Bay

Space is at a premium on these boats, hence the bedding in the torpedo room.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Navigation

The box in the lower right is the inertial navigation system.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.

As you'll see in a few of these pictures, the signs describing each room prevent descent photos. Oh well.

This, as you can see, is the Missile Checkout and Guidance Center, where, presumably, you can check out a missile for day trips, and help it figure out what it should do for a career.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Officer's mess

Compare this with the luxury of the larger Redoutable.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

CO

The commanding officer's quarters.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

CPO quarters

Chief Petty Officer, the highest ranking enlisted man on the boat. He still has to share a room, but with a bit more space.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Down periscope

The periscope is set up so you can see out it.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Sonar

Despite fictional portrayals, subs rarely use active sonar (i.e. "One ping only...), since it gives away their position.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Crew mess

Checkers eh? Not even a TV?

Though, I guess in 1964 what would you watch? No Blu-ray, certainly. DVD I guess. Satellite? No, that's crazy. Where would they put the dish?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Bunks

Hope you like your neighbor.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Head

Most crew got to shower about once a month.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Water

Unlike nuclear subs (with their essentially unlimited electrical power), potable water was a limited resource on diesel-electric subs. This is one of the distillers.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Engine room

The Growler has three soundproofed, 2-stroke diesel generators. These either recharge the batteries, or power the electric motors (which are attached to the prop shaft).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Aren't you glad you use dial(s)?

Three engines, three sets of controls and readout dials.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Aft torpedo room

The aft torpedo room. Two tubes, nine bunks. That's a Mark 37 torpedo.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Back to shore

For the full story behind the tour, check out A tour of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

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