Guided Tours Provide Inside Look

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
This is a recurring series featuring exhibits, aviation and other interesting items at the Museum of Aviation. The displays can be seen during a lunch break or after work and showcase the history of aviation. The Museum of Aviation tries to capture the Air Force legacy by incorporating each airplane's story into its displays.

Tours can offer insight, and behind-the-scenes tours at the Museum of Aviation happen almost every day. Whether you're a kindergartener, a senior citizen or somewhere in between, these tours are designed for everyone.

A Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps group from Charles Drew High school in Riverdale recently received a guided tour from Candi James, who is in charge of those tours at the museum.

The C-130 is on the second floor of the Eagle Building. Most people see the front of the airplane with a pilot mannequin.  

Guided tours take people inside the fuselage of the plane.

The group of 27 teenagers watched a video inside of the cargo hold of the aircraft, which hasn't changed since the Vietnam era when it was in service.

Some Vietnam War veterans have told James that the plane still smells the same as when they flew on it.

James told the group the C-130 is used to carry tanks, trucks, jeeps, supplies and sometimes wounded soldiers.

Dennis Keaton, who is the ROTC instructor at Charles Drew, flew on the C-130s. He explained to his students that the plane could hold 96 critically injured patients in the cargo area.

James estimated that about 16,000 people would go on group tours throughout the year at the museum.

Another part of the tour brought students to the Century of Flight hangar and Mission Quest. Students were given a brief 30-minute instruction by Mike Cashman, flight simulator instructor, before getting into the cockpit of the F-15E flight simulator.

Esther Akinola, a junior, said she was a bad pilot. Luckily for the Air Force, she wants to go into biology in the future.

Normally a flight simulator mission is a three-hour course, but students from Charles Drew had only 90 minutes of preparation and flight time.

"They had a vector heading to Stone Mountain," said Cashman. "Nobody died."

For information on group tours call James at (478) 926-5558 and for flight simulators, contact Cashman at (478) 926-1985.