It was around on my first visit to New York, it was on my mind to visit several times, but somehow, I always ended up going somewhere else. Today, under a clear sky in November, I walk with a friend along the Hudson river to where the USS Intrepid is moored. The ship still lies partly in the shade when we arrive. We decide to first walk up to the upper deck, where we find a wide array of military planes and helicopters. Ranging from an Israeli built Kfir jet and the F16, we see other, older planes like a Tomcat, a Lockheed A-12, a Grumman F-11 Tiger, and many other planes, both used on the Intrepid itself, or on display as part of the museum. Curious ones are the various MiGs on display - who would have thought in the Cold War era that these would once be parked on top of a US aircraft carrier? There are jets, but also propeller planes and helicopters. The wind is cold enough to make us move to the pavilion after checking out the planes on display on the deck.
Inside, we find the Enterprise, the Space Shuttle that never made it into space. Instead, it was used for testing, and eventually was never modified to be used for Space Shuttle missions. Still, it is impressive to see the aircraft high above us. We climb the stairs to have a better look of the cockpit. From this viewpoint, the wings appear very small. Too bad it is not possible to enter the Space Shuttle! Downstairs, there is a small exhibition about the Space Shuttle programme, its successes and failures. In addition: a Soyuz capsule, once docked to the International Space Station. Looking inside makes one realize that space travel is definitely not luxury travel: a cramped cabin in which there was very little room for the astronauts. After the dark of the exhibition room, the sun outside blinds us, and we walk one floor down to visit the exhibition of the Hangar deck. Here, we see more aircraft, and also smaller objects, like war posters asking women to work for the army, and an injection seat.
Walking down to the pier below, we head to the Concorde which is parked here. It did the fastest Trans-Atlantic crossing in well under three hours back in 1996. Walking below it, you can only admire the aerodynamic design, making it a sleek speed monster. I could not help but think back of the one Concorde flight I did - such a pity this beauty has forever left the skies. The last stop of our tour of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum is the Growler submarine which is docked right next to the Intrepid. For me, the first time to enter a submarine, and I am surprised to find the cabin bigger than I had expected. We all walk in one slow row, which means that we have all the time to see the various parts of the Growler. We even get a peek through the periscope. How would it feel, I wonder, to be working on this seacraft for weeks or even months on end?
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