Wednesday, June 15, 2016

“Innovations in Flight” Day at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Will Feature Hot Air Balloon

Photo: National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution 

From our friends at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum...

The “Innovations in Flight” family day and outdoor aviation display, held annually at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, will feature tethered hot air balloon flights this year. In honor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 100th anniversary, a variety of Coast Guard aircraft will join more than 50 military, recreational and home-built aircraft and classic automobiles. “Innovations in Flight” will take place Saturday, June 18, from 10 AM to 3 PM.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience flight using a museum collection item: One of the two balloons that will be used for tethered flights Saturday was made especially for the museum and donated recently by Adams Balloons LLC. It features the Smithsonian logo, and although an example of a classic Adams wicker balloon basket is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center, this is the first envelope in the collection. Flights will be dependent on the weather.

Visitors look at the airplanes on display at the 2015 Innovations in Flight Family Day & Aviation Display

Visitors will explore a variety of other aircraft that will fly in for one day only. United Airlines will send a Boeing wide-body aircraft and visitors will have the chance to explore the inside and hear from the pilots firsthand. There will be military aircraft, general aviation aircraft, sport pilot qualified aircraft, vintage aircraft, helicopters and vintage cars paired by era with the airplanes. Visitors will walk up to the planes, meet the pilots and go in some of the cockpits. Other activities include World War II reenactors, tours, book signings, story times and hands-on activities.

The U.S. Coast Guard will participate in “Innovations of Flight” for the first time and other presentations will be given by the U.S. Air Force, the Northern Virginia Radio Control Club, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, Airplane Geeks, International Plastic Modelers Society and many more.

The “Innovations in Flight” family day is free and open to the public; parking is $15. The event goes on rain or shine; however, the tethered hot air balloon flights and the participation of visiting aircraft are weather contingent. Should inclement weather prevent aircraft from taking part, family-day activities inside the center will still take place. More information, including a list of participating aircraft, is available here. #InFlight16 is the official event hashtag.

This event is made possible by the support of Booz Allen Hamilton.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue, SW. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 AM until 5:30 PM (closed December 25.) Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.