Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Bear is an Intrepid Explorer
During our recent trip to New York City, we visited the Intrepid where it is moored in the Hudson River adjacent to Midtown Manhattan.
The USS Intrepid is an aircraft carrier that was first launched in 1943 and served from World War II through Vietnam. During World War II, it survived five kamikaze attacks and a direct hit from a torpedo. Prior to its retirement in 1974, is served as an astronaut recovery vessel. In 1982, it was dedicated as a floating museum.
I last visited the Intrepid nine years ago. Standing on the deck of the Intrepid and observing air traffic over the Hudson River in 2004 was my introduction to the VFR corridor existing overhead.
Nose to nose with a veritable floating city, one is struck by how the entire behemoth appears to be balanced on a knife edge. It is quite impressive, really.
Vintage aircraft such as this Grumman Avenger and other exhibits fill the former hangar bay.
This A4 Skyhawk looked nice, but it was missing something...
Ah! That's more like it.
The Bear tried her hand at transporting invisible patients to a nearby MASH. Fortunately, she did not yank around the collective quite so wantonly as the young novice before her.
We tried on a Gemini capsule. It was small.
The Bear was so eager to try out this lifeboat that we did not have opportunity to divine the purpose of the exhibit. I did, however, discover that I am adept at rocking the boat.
Eventually, we made our way to the massive flight deck to inspect the aircraft on display outside.
A Bell Cobra attack helicopter.
The Cobra is very literally what you get when you put a Huey on diet.
The closely-related Sea Cobra.
A Sikorsky S-55 Chickasaw helicopter.
Yup, I remain a fan of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
The Bear was captivated by this Grumman E-1 Tracer with its very distinctive radome.
A weathered F-16 seemed a bit out of place on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
But not so much as this Lockheed A12 Blackbird, the world's fastest, highest flying, air breathing aircraft.
The bulbous Grumman A-6 Intruder.
Right next to the Intruder rested its successor, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
The Intrepid was such a big ship that The Bear needed to be carried after a while.
The F-11 Tiger, one example of which is credited with shooting itself down. This ship actually flew as a Blue Angel.
The carrier's island served as both wheelhouse and control tower. The large white enclosure behind it contains the boilerplate shuttle Enterprise. Unfortunately, the exhibit was still closed while Intrepid staff made repairs from Hurricane Sandy.
The sleek, French-built Dassault Etendard IV M.
A peek into the restoration tent revealed work on the museum's McDonnell Demon.
The Vought F-8 Crusader, an interesting design that featured a variable pitch wing to facilitate take-off and landing at lower speeds.
A view of the A12 Blackbird from the gantry alongside the Intrepid.
While The Bear and I were climbing around the island, I captured this photo of the Kfir, F-16, and A12.
"Ahead, full impulse, Mr. Sulu."
We also toured the USS Growler, a "top secret" submarine in service from 1958 to 1964. It carried four Regulus I nuclear missiles, but had to surface in order to launch them, thus revealing its position. Development of the ability to launch nuclear missiles while submerged made the Growler obsolete.
Here, a Regulus missile is visible on its launcher outside of an empty tube that now serves as an entrance to the submarine.
The Bear led the way inside. Note the glass doors - the interior of the submarine is air conditioned by the museum. Thank goodness.
The interior of the submarine was cramped and its technology seriously dated. Though I am not claustrophobic by nature, I could imagine becoming that way as I contemplated the cramped spaces and the heavy doors designed to isolate flooding chambers from the rest of the ship.
The aft torpedo bay and a pair of conveniently placed bunks.
After two hours of climbing around the ship and looking at airplanes, Kristy carried our exhausted daughter over to the last airplane, a Concorde.
At the rear of the ship, The Bear and I contemplated the massive ropes used to secure the ship in its berth.
"They're thicker than my arm!" exclaimed The Bear. I do not know if she retained any knowledge imparted during our time visiting the Intrepid, but I know that she walked away very impressed by those ropes.