Southern Museum of Flight: 2018 Visit

On 4 May 2018, my Aircraft Systems class (and guests) visited the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, AL. Thanks to the museum director Dr. Brian Barsanti for the guided tour. The highlight of the trip was a hands-on visit of a D-21 recon drone under restoration.

A student asked me what I look for at museums. This is quite an excellent question. The truth is that I’ve been around almost all of the aircraft previously. I’m not looking at the aircraft as a famous name but as an interaction…. an aircraft system. Can I figure out the “why” and “how”?

For the 2016 visit, click on

More photos are given below

Foker D.VII – Thick airfoil and clean lines.

D21 internals

Delta airline’s heritage… cropdusting.

Separation issue on the aft fuselage of a floatplane? VGs.

SR-71 / A-12 navigation unit.

An F-86

Slots on a small aircraft to mitigate tip stall.

A4 cockpit.

Spanwise flow issue on your Mig-15? Add a fence or two. The poles sticking up out of the wing indicate that the main landing gear is down (and presumably locked).

Compare the F-86 and Mig-15 horizontal stabs…

Separation over the canopy in high alpha flight? VGs.

Air data probe on a Mi-24

This last image is apparently the Russian response to US Stinger missiles: Strap some flares onto the Mi 24.

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