After leaving the Outdoor Retailer Show, Adam and I ventured north. Just 30 minutes outside Salt Lake City is the small town of Ogden, Utah. Ogden isn’t what most would consider a bustling tourist town. In fact, you won’t find many blogs or videos telling you to come visit unless you’re after one thing. That is the Hill Aerospace Museum located within the Hill Air Force Base just shy of town. The museum was founded in 1982 as part of the United States Air Force Heritage Program, first opening to the public in 1987. They welcome over 160,000 visitors every year from around the world.
On exhibit is more than 90 military aircraft, missiles, and aerospace vehicles on the grounds and inside the Major General Rex A. Hadley Gallery and the Lindquist Stewart Fighter Gallery. You’ll also find a large collection of ordnance and munitions, aerospace ground equipment, assorted military vehicles, uniforms and thousands of other historical artifacts.
Adam and I knew we were in for a treat, but our focus had aim. To see the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird in person. The SR-71 was the jet of dreams to a child growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. At its inception, it was the fastest thing in the sky clocking speeds over Mach 3.2 at 85,000 feet. Developed as a long-range reconnaissance aircraft, it first flew on December 22, 1964 with test pilot Bob Hilliland. The program ran successfully for many years until finally retiring in 1990 due to politics. The USAF did keep a couple in service with NASA’s DFRC at Edwards AFB in California flying the final SR-71 mission in 1998. There are only a handful of these amazing aircrafts left in existence. If you get a chance to see one in person, don’t miss out.
As an added bonus to our already incredible day standing in awe of aviations finest, we met a pair of gentlemen on staff helping people navigate the halls. It didn’t take long to realize these men were not just retired USAF, they also flew several of the aircraft that surrounded us. Hearing their stories in person is something I will never forget. No website, video or search engine can give you that experience.
The Hill Aerospace Museum is open Monday through Saturday 9am – 4:30pm with FREE admission. Visit the website here.
The unmistakable front end of the SR-71.
The SR-71 Pilot Suit.
M-61 Vulcan Cannon
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Don’t Tread On Me
General Dynamic F-16 Fighting Falcon
Tourists in 2016. Surrounded by greatness, would rather selfie.
F-86F Saber Fighter / Interceptor
Garber Target Kite
MIG Alley 200 Miles
Martin RB-57A “Canberra”
Photography by Adam Bendig.