March Field Air Museum “Up-Close Aircraft Day” Focus on Aardvark Nuclear Bomber
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – March Field Air Museum is proud to announce the seventh installment of “Up-Close Aircraft Days” on Saturday, July 14, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As part of this new interpretive program, a different aircraft is featured each month with the next focused on the Fighter-Bomber FB-111A Aardvark. On the second Saturday of each month throughout the year, Museum guests will have the opportunity for a close-up look – sometimes climbing stairs to get a close-up view into the cargo bay or cockpit, other times even climbing aboard.
For the upcoming “Up-Close Aircraft Day” focused on the FB-111A, guests will see how this long-nosed bomber pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, after-burning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight. On this day, visitors to March Field Air Museum will get an up-close view of the Museum’s Aardvark, peering into the bomb bays and also looking into the cockpit at close range.
Designed as a modification of the legendary General Dynamics “swing-wing” F-111 fighter-bomber, the FB-111A served in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command from 1968 until 1991. The FB 111A supported the third leg of the U.S. Triad Nuclear Deterrent strike-force, consisting of manned bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Its variable wing design, extending out for slow-speeds and sweeping back for high-speeds, allowed the aircraft to operate a peak performance in sub-sonic and supersonic flight.
The FB-111A was equipped with advanced electronics including an improved attack radar, internal navigation system, digital computers and multi-function displays to support its role as a nuclear-armed strategic bomber. U.S. Air Force F-111 variants were retired in the 1990s, replaced by the
F-15E Strike Eagle for medium-range precision strike missions, while the supersonic bomber role has been assumed by the “Flying Wing” B-1B Lancer. The Royal Australian Air Force was the last operator of the F-111, with its aircraft serving until December 2010.
To preview the next “Up Close Aircraft Day” happening in August, a World War I French aircraft first introduced in 1916, the Nieuport 11, will be showcased. The Museum’s website features extensive information on each aircraft in its collection of more than 80 total, for those wishing to learn more. Knowledgeable museum docents, dressed in period uniforms whenever possible, will be on hand to assist visitors, provide information and answer questions. The March Field Air Museum website will list upcoming “Up-Close Aircraft Days” and the featured aircraft each month; for more information, visit www.MarchField.org/calendar.
“This new ‘Up-Close Aircraft Days’ program allows March Field Air Museum to showcase the incredible aviation heritage of the U.S. Air Force and military, and especially Riverside’s own March Field,” said Executive Director Paul Hammond. “Today known as March Air Reserve Base, this architectural gem of a military installation in 2018 is commemorating its presence in our community for 100 years. March Field is the West Coast’s oldest continuously operated military airfield, and a birthplace of the modern Air Force that our nation relies upon today.”
Each “Up-Close Aircraft Days” opportunity will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the scheduled date (Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and is included with regular Museum admission: $10 for guests ages 12 years and older; $5 for children ages 5 to 11 years; and free for ages 4 and younger. In case of inclement weather, other aircraft may be substituted. March Field Air Museum is a top-rated TripAdvisor attraction located alongside Interstate Highway 215 at Van Buren Boulevard, just south of downtown Riverside and adjacent to March Air Reserve Base. For more information about the Museum, please call 951-902-5949 or visit www.MarchField.org
About March Field Air Museum
The March Field Air Museum is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to promoting an understanding of humanity’s reach for the skies and March Field’s pivotal role in the development of flight. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and rated the #1 Attraction in Riverside by TripAdvisor, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and located alongside Interstate Highway 215 at Van Buren Boulevard, just south of downtown Riverside and adjacent to March Air Reserve Base. Over 80 aircraft are on display, ranging from a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer (which launched powered flight worldwide), to the world’s fastest manned air-breathing aircraft (the SR-71 Blackbird) and a modern-day MQ-1 Predator (remotely piloted aircraft), to early examples of military aircraft, to some of America’s most iconic military planes including World War II bombers. For more information about the museum, visit www.marchfield.org or call (951) 902-5949.