Just outside Omaha, Nebraska, is the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, which focuses on Cold War-era aviation and massive bombers.
For more about the museum and its rare, incredible aircraft, check out my tour of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum.
There's quite a collection of important, and large, aircraft.
You'd think the U-2 spy plane, jet-powered and ultra-high flying, was from an era decades after the B-17. Yet the museum's B-17 flew under its own power to the museum in 1959, a year after only being dropped from the USAF inventory and four years after the U-2's first flight.
The U-2, with its slim frame and big wingspan, is practically a powered glider. Slow, but capable of reaching at over 70,000 feet, it flew twice as high as a commercial airliner. They're still in use with the USAF.
The B-36 is a massive aircraft, and has a still-impressive range of 10,000 miles.
Each B-36 had six 3,800 horsepower, 28-cylinder engines with huge three-bladed pusher props. They also had four jet engines, usually just used for takeoff or if a burst of speed was needed in-flight.
A look inside the rear compartment shows the console for the rear gunner, who had a double-barreled 20mm cannon in case any enemy aircraft tried a sneak attack. In the middle are bunks for the crew to rest during extended missions.
The B-36 had four huge bomb bays. The tube on the right is how the crew got between the front and rear compartments during flight.
Here's a peek inside the lower main deck, where the navigator, bombardier and radio operator would sit.
Given their age and rarity, you can't go inside most B-25s that survive. But with most of its side panels removed, you can at least see inside this one.
B-25s typically had a crew of five.
A view of the rear bomb bay looking aft.
It's hard to have a museum that specializes in bombers without one of these, the B-52. It's the longest-serving bomber in the Air Force, and one of the longest-serving aircraft of any type ever. This is the first B-52 assigned to SAC.
This trainer is what a B-52 cockpit of the era looked like.
The B-52 can carry upwards of 70,000 pounds of ordinance.
The B-58 screams early Cold War. It also just screams. Capable of Mach 2, it was the first bomber capable of anything close to that speed. It was in service only for 10 years, but set numerous speed records in that time.
Though pre-SAC, the B-17 is definitely one of the most iconic bombers and it fits in here. It's interesting to see how tiny it looks compared to the more modern aircraft.
This example flew during the Vietnam War.
The B-1B eventually replaced the FB-111.
The Boxcar could carry 67 troops or 34 stretchers.
The museum's B-29 never saw combat, instead spending most of its service life in California helping calibrate radars.
Here's a look inside the aft compartment of the B-29.
Though the museum was hosting an event during my visit, this is the hangar where museum staff restore aircraft to how they originally looked.
The SAC Museum was great, though I might be biased as this is one of my favorite eras of aviation.
For more about the museum and its aircraft collection, check out my tour of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum.