Spruce Goose and other planes

About an hour away from Portland, in McMinnville, OR is the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, home of Howard Hughes’ famous H-4 Flying Boat (aka the Spruce Goose) as well as many other planes, rockets, and aviation related artifacts.

The Spruce Goose (made mostly of birch) is enormous.  It’s probably one of the largest planes you’ll ever see in person.

H-4 Flying Boat (Spruce Goose)
H-4 Flying Boat (Spruce Goose)
Spruce Goose tail section
Spruce Goose tail section
H-4 cockpit high above
Spruce Goose cockpit high above

Its 8 propeller engines are puny compared to the wings they’re mounted on, and the plane’s fuselage. It’s hard to imagine that even 8 engines would have provided enough power to move the H-4, but fly it did.

Four of the H-4's 8 engines
Four of the Spruce Goose’s 8 engines

There are plenty of other planes to see in the museum, both military and civilian.

Biplanes under the wing of the Spruce Goose
Biplanes under the wing of the Spruce Goose

There’s a 21 seat DC-3A (originally belonging to United Air Lines) that you can walk through to get a look at what commercial passenger flight would have been like in the 40s and 50s.

DC-3A
DC-3A
SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird
A-10 Warthog (BRRRRRTTTTT)
A-10 Warthog (BRRRRRTTTTT)

When you need a break from wandering around, airplane seats scattered about the museum provide nice, reasonably comfortable places to sit (and with a good deal more leg room than in an airplane).

The Space Museum takes you through the history of rockets and space exploration, starting with a replica of Goddard’s first liquid fueled rocket, a V-2, a Titan II (used for the Mercury Redstone launches), the Apollo space program, and others. There’s also an IMAX theater (a full-sized one) that shows some pretty good movies. 

There’s a lot to see at the museum, and you can easily spend an entire day and then some exploring all the exhibits both inside and outside.  If that’s not enough for you, go hit the waterpark and slide out of a Boeing 747.

Worth a visit if you’re in the area. Plan on spending at least a half day. Take your time and spend the whole day if you can. Make sure to catch one of the IMAX movies.

Visiting the VintageTEK Museum

During my vacation to Beaverton, OR, I got to visit the VintageTEK Museum with a local friend.  The museum relocated recently to the Tektronix campus, which seems to a fitting place for it to be.

The VintageTEK museum is a pretty cool place with a fair bit of space to show off their collection of old Tek scopes, test equipment, tubes, CRTs and other equipment beginning with an original Tektronix 511 CRT oscilloscope.

Tektronix 511 CRT oscilloscope
Tektronix 511 CRT oscilloscope innards

Many of the scopes and gear on display are static, but quite a few of them are operational and interactive.  In a side room you’ll also find a Tektronix electron microscope and a Digital PDP8.

Tektronix electron microscope
Tektronix electron microscope
Digital  PDP 8/e
Digital PDP 8/e

A new offering by the museum is an instrument lending  program for students. If you’re working on a project and need some test equipment, you can borrow it from the museum. Available equipment includes scopes, DMMs, function generators, counters, and power supplies.

We also got to see the back area where they have a huge collection of equipment and parts, and where they work on restoring equipment.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. The museum volunteers are friendly and know a great deal about the equipment in the collection. Their regular hours are on 10AM-6PM Thursday and 10AM-4PM Saturday, but they’ll also open upon request. 

Southeast Linuxfest 2018 wrapped up

Another great Southeast Linuxfest has come and gone. Had a great time seeing friends and learned about a few more things I want to learn more about.

This year, being the 10th Southeast Linuxfest, I thought it would be cool to show off all of the pictures I’ve taken from previous Southeast Linuxfests. Jeremy let me have a table which I set up just outside the registration area and I set the laptop to run a slide show of 8 years worth of photos (I missed SELF 2015).

SELF 2018 slide show
SELF 2018 slide show

Jeremy’s dog, Fred (a Cane Corso puppy), was one of the more popular attendees at SELF this year. If he was roaming the conference, you could be sure that Jeremy wasn’t very far away.

Fred
Fred
Fred
Fred

New this year was a feedback box in each of the rooms (powered by RPis). At the end of each session, attendees could give their feedback by pressing one of the three buttons on their way out the door.

Feedback box
Feedback box

Also new this year were food trucks for lunch. No more hotel boxed lunches! Hopefully next year there will be more food trucks to help spread the lines out some.

The Hog 'n Dog food truck
The Hog ‘n Dog food truck
Sprinkles Glam dessert truck
Sprinkles Glam dessert truck
Lunch line
Lunch line

Attendance seemed to be about the same as previous years, although there didn’t seem to be quite as many vendor tables this year. Notably absent were the FALE  people and their table of locks that people could learn to pick.

Back this year was the Fiber track, which proved to be pretty popular again.

Fiber track at SELF 2018
Fiber track at SELF 2018
Fiber track at SELF 2018
Fiber track at SELF 2018

Two of the more interesting talks I made it to were by Paul Jones on the Action-Domain-Responder pattern and Dave Stokes‘ talk on Common Table Expressions and Windowing Functions in MySQL. Enjoyed finding out about both of these, and look forward to learning more about them.

Another great time at SELF, and looking forward to next year’s event.

Check out my Google Photos album for all of my Southeast Linuxfest 2018 photos

 

Visiting Space Center Houston

Last weekend we were in Houston and paid a visit to Space Center Houston, the visitors center for NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).

NASA Johnson Space Center
NASA Johnson Space Center

Like Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Space Center Houston (SCH) is a pretty fun place to visit. It’s not quite as large as KSC, but it’s got some pretty sweet exhibits including Independence Plaza that features the Boeing 747 that ferried the space shuttles across the country.

Independence Plaza
Independence Plaza at Space Center Houston

I highly recommend the 90 minute tram tour that will take you into NASA JSC. If you go early and catch the first or second tour (SCH opens at 9 or 10 AM. See the calendar for hours), you’ll avoid the long line. The tram tour takes you into JSC where you’ll get to go into the Christopher C Craft Mission Control building, the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, and Rocket Park.

At Rocket Park, you’ll see some of the rocket engines that powered the Saturn V, rockets used for the Mercury and early Apollo programs, and the king of rockets, the Saturn V.

The Saturn V at SCH is one of three remaining Saturn V rockets and was restored fairly recently.

From the SCH website:

There are only three Saturn V rockets on display in the world. The rocket at NASA Johnson Space Center is the only one comprised of all flight-certified hardware. The other two rockets are made of flight hardware, mock-ups and test components. The three segments, called stages, contain the powerful engines needed to lift off, entering orbit to reach the moon. In total, 13 Saturn V rockets launched into space.

When you’re back from the tour, head over to Independence Plaza where you can wander through the NASA 905 SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft) and the Shuttle Independence, a replica space shuttle. This is another one you probably want to get to early in the day so that it’s not too crowded. We went first thing in the morning on our second day visiting SCH, and had the shuttle and 747 pretty much all to ourselves.

Make sure to stop in the food court where you can have lunch sitting next to the Galileo shuttlecraft (NCC-1701/7) used in the Star Trek episode Galileo Seven. This is the actual set prop that was used in the episode and fully restored. You can read about the Galileo’s history and the restoration at startrek.com.

Before leaving SCH (or before the doors open if you got there too early), make sure to walk the scale model of Solar System. It starts over on the left side of the parking lot near the SCH building and goes around the perimeter of the parking lot toward the main entrance.

Of course, the rest of the exhibits at SCH are pretty cool too. Lots of great shows, interactive displays and an impressive collection of space and space program artifacts. It’s a great place to spend a couple of days exploring while you’re in Houston.

More nativity visitors

The number of visitors at the nativity set this year has gone up.

In addition to the crew from a few years ago, now there’s Paddington Bear, a decrypted pink armored dwagon, Black Duck, Santa Claus mug, and Sock Monkey.

Nativity set visitors
Nativity set visitors