4 things to know about Air Force museum expansion

For years, some of the most iconic planes in American history have largely been hidden in an old hangar behind the fence at Wright-Patterson, out of view of most Air Force museum visitors.

Wednesday, the view changes.

1. A $40.8 million expansion at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is set to open and will unveil a fleet of 10 historic presidential aircraft, the legendary X-15 rocket plane that touched space, the last remaining XB-70 Valkyrie experimental bomber, and the C-141 Starlifter dubbed the “Hanoi Taxi” that flew the first U.S. POWs to freedom during the Vietnam war.

2. The 224,000-square-foot hangar has four galleries: Presidential, Space, Research and Development, and Global Reach. For months, museum workers carefully towed a parade of planes from the old hangar to the new and reassembled a 204-foot-long, 96-ton Titan IV rocket under the roof.

3. The new hangar houses the largest collection in the world of U.S. presidential and exotic research planes under one roof, spokesman Rob Bardua said.

4. It’s part of more than 70 aircraft, rockets, missiles and spacecraft jammed into the new building, the fourth hangar at the world’s largest military aviation museum.

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