The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum presents the 2012 “Become a Pilot” family day and aviation display Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. For the eighth annual “Become a Pilot” day, 50 vintage, recreational, military and home-built aircraft will fly in and be displayed outside the center’s Boeing Aviation Hangar. Appearing with their aircraft, pilots will discuss life in the cockpit and, in some cases, let visitors climb behind the controls.
Inside the museum, visitors can take part in educational, hands-on activities for all ages, book signings and Flights of Fancy story times for the young pilots in training. In celebration of the centennial of Marine Corps aviation there will be several U.S. Marine Corps speakers, and aircraft from the Marines are scheduled to participate, including a USMC KC-130J “Super Hercules” and two USMC F-18 “Hornets.” Other organizations collaborating with the museum on activities include the National Museum of the Marine Corps, International Plastic Modelers Society—Model Airplane Building Demonstration, Maryland Delaware Rocketry Association, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency—Geo Games, National Museum of Natural History, East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., University of Maryland, U.S. Air Force Academy—Careers in Aviation and the U.S. Naval Academy.
The museum will invite 20 of its social media followers to take part in a “Become a Pilot Social.” The social group will get the behind-the-scenes experience of watching aircraft arrive before the event opens to the public. They will meet pilots and museum experts, receive a guided tour and much more. Registration is open from noon EDT Wednesday, May 28, to noon EDT Friday, June 1. Twenty participants will be randomly selected from eligible online registrations, each may invite one guest and all registrants must be 13 or older. More information about the social and registration are available at: “Become a Pilot” social.
The “Become a Pilot” family day is free and open to the public; parking is $15. More information is available at "Become a Pilot." This event is made possible by the support of the AFCEA, Booz Allen Hamilton 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 aircraft display.
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.