Green Skills For Life Competition

Following the great success of our Green Skills for Life family day at the Museum, the fun continues with our new video competition. The Museum is asking San Diego County youth (ages 6-18) to create a 1-2 minute simple video that answers the following three questions:

Winners will receive a $500 scholarship and will also be invited to the San Diego Air & Space Museum International Hall of Fame Gala on November 21st, to receive their scholarship on stage in the presence of honored guests such as Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and the Blue Angels.

For more information on rules and deadlines, click here.

HURRY! The deadline for entries is November 8th.

Don’t miss these wonderful exhibitions before they leave!

The Da Vinci Experience

Replicas and models of the mechanical devices designed and described by Leonardo da Vinci, along with reproductions of 12 of his most famous paintings, are now featured in The Da Vinci Experience at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Sought after and appreciated as an artist at court, da Vinci was also concerned with scientific subjects, applying his knowledge of mechanics to military and civil engineering works and dedicating himself to the study of anatomy, biology, mathematics and physics. A group of Florentine artisans have spent the last half century studying the original notes and drawings of da Vinci's various projects, and have created this international exhibition of fully-functional and interactive models of da Vinci's creations.

The machines in the exhibition are organized around three themes: transportation, military and mechanical. There is a large, interactive educational area where everyone can test some of Leonardo's ideas. Each of the models in the exhibition were built according to da Vinci's notes and with the materials available in 15th century Italy. Eleven machines are full-sized and 25 are interactive. People of all ages will be delighted by the chance to manipulate these machines to see how they were intended to function. Each replica is displayed with a copy of the relevant da Vinci drawing.

The Museum recently added enormous, full-size Leonardo da Vinci recreations from the popular Discovery Channel Show, Doing DaVinci to the exhibition. Click here to find out more about this show and these machines!

For more information about the exhibition, see

To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA

Just before the first humans landed on the moon, Charlie Brown and Snoopy soared through space with NASA's Apollo 10 mission in May 1969. SDASM's exhibition To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA examines the history of Apollo 10 and the Peanuts characters' role in that flight and in the NASA Manned Flight Awareness safety program.

In To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, visitors can see Snoopy's trip to the moon in the March 1969 Peanuts strip series (beating NASA's record by a few months!), learn about the NASA's Silver Snoopy Award program, and view a Silver Snoopy pin that was flown to the moon. The exhibit also contains a children's creative play space where children can dress up like an astronaut and have their photograph taken with a life-size Apollo 10 astronaut.

(To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA is included with regular admission to the Museum).

To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California.

Lockheed Vega Now On Display

The Lockheed Vega 5B used in the movie Amelia, starring Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank, has now joined the San Diego Air & Space Museum's permanent collection.

The plane was created as a prop for the film Amelia and was donated to the Museum by Avalon Pictures.

Amelia Earhart flew a Lockheed Vega 5B on many historic occasions including the 1929 first Women's Cross-Country Air Race (also known as the Powder Puff Derby), first female solo flight across the Atlantic, first female solo flight across the United States, and also set several women's speed and distance records. In its heyday the Vega 5B was known as a racing and record-setting aircraft and established a standard for many other transport aircraft to follow.

The Amelia plane is included with regular admission.

Amelia is now showing! For more information and to watch the trailer, please visit:

Aliens Landing at Museum in January

Set to land in January, The Science of Aliens, promises to capture the imagination of many. This exhibition focuses on the science behind the popular culture of Aliens portrayed in films, television shows, and in books.

Visitors can see classic science fiction film clips and props, and then come face-to-face with the weird creatures that inhabit Earth, many of which are the inspiration behind the aliens in popular culture. Also included are aliens from the imagination of leading scientists speculating on what might be out there among the stars.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Museum Sleepover

Who knew the coolest place in town on a Saturday night would be a dark museum? Only the very coolest parents and the very coolest museum, that's who. The San Diego Air & Space Museum hosted A Night at the Museum on Saturday, September 26th - and a great time was had by all.

This family event packed in hours of fun, including a flashlight tour of the galleries, period re-enactors who brought our aircraft and spacecraft to life, snacks, glow-in-the-dark paper airplanes, and a movie.

After all that, parents shepherded their tired children to selected spots in the galleries to sleep under the aircraft. Morning activities -- a basement tour, snack and simulator ride -- capped off the unique event. To stay tuned for more events like this during the upcoming year, please contact the Education Department and ask to be placed on our family events e-list.

Re-enactors Bring SDASM to Life

The San Diego Air & Space Museum has partnered with the San Diego Military History Group (SDMHG) to help visitors make personal connections to our aircraft. Members of the SDMHG are knowledgable re-enactors who dress in period clothing and walk among our historic aircraft breathing life into our exhibits.

The re-enactors are scheduled to be at the Museum on select events such as our International Hall of Fame Gala and Family Days. For a full list of Family Days see the Education Department website.

WMA Helping Hands Brigade

The Museum would like to thank The Registrar's Committee of the Western Museum Association (WMA) for volunteering at the Museum on Saturday October 24, 2009. The Helping Hands Brigade came out with over twelve people to assist the Museum collections staff with cleaning, processing new collections, re-housing, and assessing the status of collections previously on display.

We Need You!

Museum members and aircraft lovers-- this is your opportunity to make a difference. The skilled artisans in our restoration areas are badly in need of assistance in the ongoing task of building and restoring some of the most historic aircraft in the country. At the present time we are re-skinning our WWI era JN-4 Jenny, restoring the center section of our F4U-7 Corsair, and finishing the rebuilding of the Nieuport 11 at our Gillespie Field annex in El Cajon. In the basement of our Balboa Park location, work proceeds on construction of our ground-up reproduction P-26A and additional restoration of the Corsair, including an engine overhaul.

If you have a little time and a little mechanical talent, please share it with us as a volunteer at Balboa Park's finest attraction, San Diego Air & Space Museum. As Uncle Sam shouted from a million posters around the country a couple of generations ago, "We need you." Just call Terry Brennan at 619-234-8291 extension 141 to sign up. Restoration hours are dependent upon how much time you are willing to put in. The shops are open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

Trip to Russia By Rich Martindell

When the San Diego Air & Space Museum put together a trip to Moscow for the MAKS Air Show I thought the price looked a little steep until I studied the itinerary and determined it was an offer I couldn't refuse. For an Air Force pilot that stared across the Iron Curtain for a good part of my career I couldn't miss seeing the displays at the air show and the former Soviet arsenal that we would have access to thanks to the museum's contacts. In addition to the air show there would be stops at the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino Air Base, the Museum of the Soviet Forces, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), the cosmonaut training center at Star City and the Russian Academy of Civil Aviation in St. Petersburg. Each stop would have a designated host to explain the exhibits and we would have an interpreter to translate what the host said.

For those who know as little Russian as I do, MAKS is the acronym you get from the first letters of the Russian words for International Air and Space Salon. I don't know why they don't call it the Moscow Air Show. Just filling out the application for the Russian visit visa told me it was going to be fun and that the four former military pilots in our group of nine would have a "friend" for the entire trip. The two most interesting questions on the visa application were, "Have you ever participated in an armed conflict," and "Have you ever been trained in the use of nuclear weapons. With 323 combat missions in North and South Vietnam and 2? years of sitting nuc alert in Germany I was a winner!

The first day at the air show saw half a million people show up at the same time so getting through the ticket and security lines even with advanced tickets took an hour and a half. The weather was doggy both Saturday and Sunday and the only opportunity to fly high shows occurred on Saturday afternoon but, they were impressive. Although the USAFE A-10, F-15 and F-16 demo teams had been preparing to attend, President Obama abruptly cancelled any U.S. military participation just two weeks prior to the show. The Russians did not disappoint however, showing off the MiG-29 Fulcrum, the Su-27 Flanker and the Su-34 Fullback. The Russian Knights suffered a mid-air collision the week prior during practice for the air show, killing the leader and cancelling their participation, the Russian Falcons and Swifts flew formation demonstrations in the MiG-29 and Su-27. Also present were the Italian Frecce Tricolori in their 10 Aermacchi MB-339s and the Patrouille de France in their nine Alpha Jets. While the other seven people in our group didn't want to fight the crowds on Sunday, my son who is also a pilot, and I wanted to return presenting a dilemma for our guide. Miraculously, she was able to find a friend who wanted to attend the air show and would be happy to keep us company while she showed the rest of our group an art gallery in Moscow. Sunday was low shows all day but it was very amazing watching the Italians fly a 10-ship tight formation show under a 2,000 foot overcast. We spent a lot of Sunday looking at the static displays and the exhibit halls which were every bit as impressive as anything you will see at Oshkosh or the NBAA convention. This was definitely an "I love Russia" air show and display but it was 100% enjoyable. It was very interesting to note that they are now all "Russian" and the word "Soviet" has dropped from the vocabulary even though much of the old mentality persists.

The trip to the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino was every bit as spectacular as all the web posts make it out to be. A vast array of 185 different aircraft, from pre-World War I up to currently operational aircraft, is on display. It is the equivalent of our museum at Wright-Patterson but it is operated on a shoe-string budget and it's very disappointing to see all these aircraft in open storage exposed to the environment that Moscow has to offer in the winter.

The visit to Star City gave us the opportunity to see the world's largest centrifuge and experience their International Space Station mockup and trainer. Our cosmonaut host, Colonel Sergei Viktorovich Zalyotin, had been on two space flights and is preparing for his third.

A nice surprise was the visit to the museum at the Russian Academy of Civil Aviation in St. Petersburg. This is a state run school for people who want to be mechanics, airline pilots or air traffic controllers. The courses offered are similar to Embry-Riddle University in Florida or Prescott but it is a more certain pipeline to employment in the Russian civil aeronautics system. The museum is a small six room facility in the academy and the museum's director was delighted to host us. She treated us like royalty and invited each of us back to make a presentation at their annual aviation symposium in May.

Stay tuned for more information on our next Museum trip.