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More Than 80 Planes Will Fly to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Saturday, June 20

June 15, 2009

The National Air and Space Museum presents its 2009 “Become a Pilot” family day and aviation display Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. More than 80 vintage, recreational, military and home-built aircraft will be flown in for the event and displayed outdoors. Appearing with their aircraft parked outside the center’s huge Boeing Aviation Hangar, pilots will greet visitors and discuss life in the cockpit. In some cases, pilots will let visitors climb behind the controls. The day offers the public the rare chance to study working aircraft up close.

Inside the museum, visitors can test flight simulators, meet model-airplane experts and listen to a variety of guest speakers. The U.S. Air Force Band’s vocal group Max Impact will provide musical entertainment at 12:15 p.m. while the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs.

Special guests include retired Air Force Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, the Berlin Airlift’s famed “Candy Bomber,” known for dropping candy from his C-54 aircraft for German children during the Berlin Blockade. Also joining the speakers for the day is Klaus Scharioth, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United States. Ambassador Scharioth and Gen. Jack Dailey, director of the National Air and Space Museum, will open an exhibit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The exhibit, “Friends Always,” is courtesy of the German embassy. It will be on display through July 27.

A C-54 aircraft, the workhorse of the Berlin Airlift, will fly in and be on display along with the Terrafugia Transition, a two-seat aircraft designed to take off and land at any airport and drive on any road.  

The event is free and open to the public. More information is available at This event is made possible by the support of the Boeing Company, AFCEA-NOVA and WTOP Radio with additional support from other sponsors.

The participation of visiting aircraft in this event is weather contingent. Should inclement weather prevent those aircraft from taking part, family-day activities inside the center will still occur. A list of participating aircraft is available at

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

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