After a quick drive to Pensacola Naval Air Station, where Robert had reserved a pair of adjacent sites in a great campground on the base, we had time for afternoon play in the Gulf.
Next day, though, was the big day: a morning at the Naval Aviation Museum. We’ve been here many times before, but it’s always special. There are numerous World War II naval aircraft in the museum’s collection, and most of them figure prominently in family lore.
I repeated some of the stories my dad told me about flying the Corsair, most notably how it earned its reputation as an “ensign killer.” The combination of a long nose that obscured the carrier on approach (which necessitated a turning approach to the ship, straightening out only at the last moment), plus a 2000 horsepower double-radial engine so powerful that a clumsy hand on the throttle would torque-roll the aircraft, meant that flying a Corsair onto the deck of a pitching carrier was not something to be undertaken by the inexperienced. At least not twice.
Then back to the campground, more beach time, a wonderful dinner of ersatz Chick-Fil-A homemade chicken sandwiches, and then evening playtime at the beach catching ghost crabs. (Which causes one to wonder: why does the following exchange occur in real life? “Ow, ow, it’s pinching me!” “Then put it down.” “No. I don’t want to.”) Maybe there’s some genetic remnant of an evolutionary ancestor that explains such things. Something to think about someday…
Next, off to Yogi Bear Jellystone Park (seriously?) before the last push to Tampa.