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Inside each newsletter you will find articles covering events and news created by and of interest to Chapter members.

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SoCalEights visit March Air Museum and Mission Inn

by Tom Jacobsmeyer for SoCal8

On a (very) warn sunny Saturday October morning 11 SoCalEights members with their Eights, and 7 significant others gathered together at the March Air Museum in Riverside, CA. This trip was a bit different that our usual events. We didn’t caravan due to the distance of the trip and that many of our group would be coming from different directions…so we just met up at the venue. As it was everyone showed up on time in spite of traveling 60 miles or more through LA County into Riverside County. Pretty good effort from the group!

Pic1-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-VisitWe started tour inside building where our guide gave us an orientation to the museum and the grounds outside. The museum has more than 70 aircraft on display and many more under restoration. Outside we got up close and personal with some of the more famous aircraft from both war and peace time service. The collection is not just American air craft but includes MiG’s and Japanese WWII aircraft as well. Some of the more famous aircraft such as the B-17, SR-71 and B-52 were all on hand an available to up close examination. The amazing SR-71, in its own main floor display, was equipped with sophisticated cameras and sensors and could map 100,000 square miles per hour while using its speed and altitude capabilities to stay safely beyond reach of anti-aircraft missiles. It is the most successful strategic reconnaissance aircraft in history and gathered information for the United States throughout the Cold War, Vietnam until its retirement from active service in 1998. Thirty-two SR-71s and her variants were produced; none was ever lost to hostile action. With a top speed of 2200 mph (word is it was faster than that!) it was a remarkable airplane.

One of the really neat parts of the museum was the flight simulator room where there were simulators to setup to fly any number of different aircraft. From propeller driven WWI era planes to high speed jets it was a great experience to try (not so successfully) and fly some of these aircraft.

The most interesting part of the tour was the ability to get right up to these aircraft and examine them as well as seeing how large (or small) the aircraft are in real life. The B-17 was considered large in WWII but compared to a B-52 it looks almost like a fighter plane.

The whole museum is also a great place for kids as they have kid specific education rooms that cater to a more basic interest level. As an air museum the entire facility is truly outstanding. (This is a partial list of aircraft on display: A-7D Corsair, AH-1F Cobra, BellB-17G Flying Fortress, Boeing B-25J Mitchell, North American B-29A Superfortress, Boeing B-47E Stratojet, Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, Boeing EB-57B Canberra, Martin F-100C Super Sabre, North American F-101B Voodoo, McDonnell-Douglas F-102A Delta Dagger, Convair F-105B Thunderchief, Republic F-15 Eagle, McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II, McDonnell-DouglasF-84F Thunderstreak, Republic F-86L Sabre, North American FB-111A Aardvark, Mikoyan-Gureich MiG 21F-13 Fishbed C, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 23BN Flogger, SR-71A Blackbird, Lockheed UH-1B Iroquois, Bell (Huey), YF-14A Tomcat)

Pic2-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-VisitB-17 Flying Fortress

Pic3-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-VisitGathering for the tour

Pic4-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-VisitSR-71 Blackbird spy plane

After the museum we caravanned to the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is a historic landmark hotel in downtown Riverside, California. Although a composite of many Pic5-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-Visitarchitectural styles, it is generally considered the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United States. For 125 years the Mission Inn has been the center of Riverside, host to a number of seasonal and holiday functions, as well as occasional political functions and other major social gatherings. Pat and Richard Nixon were married in what is now the Presidential Lounge (although it wasn’t a bar at the time), Nancy and Ronald Reagan honeymooned there, and eight other US Presidents have visited the Inn: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush. Social leaders who have stopped at the Mission Inn include Susan B. Anthony, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Huntington, Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Hubert H. Bancroft, Harry Chandler, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller and John Muir.

Pic6-SoCal8s-March-Air-Museum-VisitWhile SoCalEights is not so famous we did have a great lunch in the outside patio. Even though the temperature was on the pretty warm side the patio was very comfortable. Lunch was a fantastic buffet and a number of SoCalEights were seen making several round trips to the buffet. It was Grace’s birthday and a cake appeared from nowhere to help celebrate the day. After the lunch we waited for our tour to start at 2:30PM. We walked all around and through the Mission Inn getting into some “off limits” areas to see some truly outstanding architecture. This hotel is a bit like staying in a museum itself as the entire Inn is truly striking in its visual presentation.   None of the 238 rooms are alike and some parts of the Inn reminded us of the Winchester House where stairways lead to nowhere mysteriously ending in a wall. The real reason for this is that some parts of the Inn have been modified to improve flow and access to the upper levels of the Inn.


Grace cutting her cake




Several of us stayed overnight, made late use of the restaurant bar and then took off in the morning in different directions. This was a really fun trip and it seemed like we were on the move the entire day. It was nice to get home after the long day but we have some great tales to tell of airplanes and historic Inns. A great SoCalEights weekend.