The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum certainly makes a great first impression, with this RB-52B looking like it's taking off from the parking lot.
For more info about the museum and our tour, check out fast bombers and sleek fighters at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum.
The museum fills a massive hanger on the site that was once Lowry Air Force Base.
Fancy a quick flight?
This UH-1 Huey flew combat and other missions in Vietnam, before flying in the Nebraska Air National Guard for 25 years. It was almost used as a target drone, but the program was canceled before it could be destroyed. It was then acquired and restored by a Colorado native.
The F-100 Super Sabre was the first American fighter aircraft able to reach supersonic speed in level flight.
One of two Starfighters at the museum, the F-104 doesn't look like it should be able to fly. Stubby, razor sharp wings attached to a fuselage that's basically nothing but engine.
However, it was fairly successful in anti-submarine warfare.
This is a UC-45 Expeditor, multirole transport/cargo aircraft based on the Beechcraft Model 18, one of the most widely produced aircraft in history.
More than 9,000 Model 18 and its variants were built, and several hundred are still flying.
The Dream Chaser could fit up to seven people.
In its nose, the Thunderflash could carry up to 15 cameras.
Of all the Soviet aircraft the museum could have, it's fitting they're restoring a MiG-23, one of the most widely produced swing-wing aircraft. That's definitely a swing-wing theme here.
At altitude, the MiG-23 could reach Mach 2.35.
Would you fly in a helicopter that you built in your garage? This one was built by a man named Art Murray, and it was approved to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The III could carry two pilots, two nurses/doctors and two patients. The Irish Air Corps flew this aircraft for its entire service life.
The F-86H Sabre was a modified version of the standard F-86 that could carry and launch a nuclear bomb.
Take a look right down the (empty) middle.
Legendary aerospace engineer Burt Rutane designed the M-309 CarbonAero. It was developed into the Adam A500.
The English Electric Canberra, aka the B-57, first flew in the '50s. The RAF retired theirs in 2006, but NASA still flies three today. This version was built under license in the US by Martin.
Yet another swing-wing aircraft at the museum is the F-111 Aardvark. This is the far less common FB-111A strategic bomber variant.
It was yet another aircraft that was intended to replace the B-52. But while it has left service the B-52 soldiers on.
When the B-1B entered service in the 80's the FB-111A was no longer needed. Some were converted to be F-111Gs, but most were used for training then retired.
The museum's F-14 was primarily a training aircraft stationed aboard the aircraft carrier the USS John C. Stennis.
This Prowler flew with Electronic Attack Squadron 134 out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington.
The crew of four sat 2x2, a rare arrangement for a small aircraft.
This is an interesting aircraft, both for its one-of-a-kind design and its local origins. It's a Ball-Bartoe Jetwing, designed, built and flown in Colorado.
One of the things that made the Jetwing is its blown wing. Compressed air from the jet engine could be sent through the wing. This let the aircraft remain controllable down to speeds of 40mph.
This is a T-65B "X-Wing" starfighter from the Incom Corporation. It was the most common fighter of the Alliance to Restore the Republic in the Galactic Civil War.
The T-65B is 13.4 meters long and features two pair of movable strike foils (also known as "S-foils") which, when opened, give the Taim & Bak KX9 laser cannons mounted at their tips a wider spread.
Each T-65B also featured a socket for an astromech navigation droid. The museum's example, on loan from the intermediary manufacturer Lucasfilm, features a blue-on-white R2-series unit.
The museum's B-1A looks massive as it sits above so many other aircraft.
Of course, it is a huge aircraft.
The B-1A, of which only four were made, was capable of Mach 2.2, making it one of the fastest production aircraft ever, not to mention one of the fastest bombers.
The B-1 has three bomb bays, and was originally designed to carry nuclear weapons. The current B-1B carries traditional weapons.
The F101 engine in the B-1A was an extremely successful engine design, far out living the B-1A itself. It was modified for use in the B-1B. Variations of the engine were used in everything from the F-14, -15, and -16 to Boeing's 737, Airbus's A340 and more.
The B-1's wings can swing between a wingspan of 78 feet to 138 feet.
The Wings Over the Rockies Museum is an immaculate space with beautifully maintained aircraft. I highly recommend a visit.
For more info about the museum and our tour, check out my article about the Wings Over the Rockies Museum.