Nestled among the lush, rolling hills of western South Dakota adjacent to the historic Ellsworth Air Force Base South Dakota Air and Space Museum. There’s everything from a massive B-52 bomber to a B-1B Lancer, focusing on aircraft from the early Cold War to the present day.
The “space” part of the name isn’t just for show. On display is a complete Titan I ICBM as well as Nike Ajax and Minuteman missiles. The latter is particularly fitting, given how many Minuteman launch sites there were () In area.
On a hot summer day, I decided to take a look at some amazing planes in this small and impressive museum. Here’s a look around.
One of the most impressive aircraft in the museum’s collection is on display as soon as you arrive. There is practically a B-1B lancer on the signal, the wings swept back and every bit as fast as it can see.
Capable of Mach 1.25, the 1B was a change from the original design. 1A, while outwardly similar, was capable of Mach 2.2. The military decided it did not need such a fast bomber because unmanned missiles would be better suited for the task. Here the situation in 1B is excellent. You can take in its spectacular view from all sides and even sit down and avoid the scorching sun. You can only view one of the remaining B-1As hereIn Denver, which I have also visited.
Of course, this is not the only impressive aircraft. A carefully restored and maintained B-29 will be the centerpiece of many museums, and this one is no exception. In one corner is a B-52, a plane so big that most museums don’t have space to store them. It is characterized by the distinctive black belly and camouflage of its type during the Vietnam War.
It’s not just bombers here. Several fighters from the Century series are on display, including the F-100, F-101, F-102, and F-105. It’s missing only my favorite, the F-104, though you can see some close-ups of it at the other museums I’ve visited.
Going back a bit, there is a WWII-era C-47 cargo plane and an A-26 with nose guns.
Another particularly impressive aircraft looks like another B-25 from afar. It’s actually a VB-25J, the VIP transport variant. General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself used this aircraft during World War II.
skies over south dakota
There’s a lot to see in this part of South Dakota, not least the natural beauty here sterile soil and Black Hills National Forest. You can also visit a and one of the best In the world (yes, that Saab) – where you certainly wouldn’t expect it.
NS South Dakota Air and Space Museum It’s worth checking out if you’re in the Rapid City area. Most impressively, the museum is free.
If your travel plans aren’t getting you to Mount Rushmore State anytime soon, check out the gallery above.
As well as covering TV and other display technology, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and places around the world, including nuclear submarines, large aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane cemeteries, and more.