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8 Exhibits You Can't Miss at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum
August 30, 2023 By CityPASS
Are you fascinated with space exploration? Or maybe you want to learn about a historic aircraft that helped frame our military history? How about enjoying a thrilling flight experience using full-motion flight simulators? You can do all this and more when you visit Wings Over the Rockies in Denver, Colorado.
Wings Over the Rockies has two different locations. You can explore the official Air & Space Museum at Lowry Air Force Base and the Exploration of Flight at Centennial Airport. This guide covers the best Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum exhibits.
What To Expect at the Former Lowry Air Force Base
When you visit Wings Over the Rockies at the former Lowry Air Force Base (AFB), you can experience over 100,000 square feet of space and aviation history. The museum offers guided tours, or you can visit the exhibits independently and learn about the many exciting aviation marvels on display.
You may even get lucky and visit when you can catch one of their special events. Either way, you can check out the many interactive exhibits.
8 Can't-Miss Exhibits at Wings Over the Rockies
We've compiled a list of eight can’t-miss exhibits for your next Air and Space Museum visit.
1. Aerospatiale AS316 Alouette III: 1972's Helicopter Ambulance
The Aerospatiale AS316 Alouette III was an ambulance transportation device for St. Anthony Hospital in Denver, Colorado. It was the only hospital ambulance helicopter in 1972, holding five passengers. There was room for the pilot, two nurses, and up to two patients on stretchers.
The Alouette III could withstand high altitudes and challenging weather conditions due to its powerful turbine engine. These helicopters were used from 1972 to 1992.
2. Bell UH-1M Iroquois "Huey": The Most Iconic Symbol of the Vietnam War
The Bell UH-1M Iroquois, or "Huey," is an iconic aircraft made famous during the Vietnam War. Huey is a multipurpose helicopter the United States Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Air Force used during the war as cargo transport, ambulance, search and rescue, gunship, and more. However, Huey's use as an attack helicopter during the war was its primary purpose because it was designed to carry many weapons simultaneously. This particular aircraft was flown in the Vietnam War by Col. Bill McPherson.
3. Boeing B-52B Stratofortress: The Longest-in-Service Aircraft
The Boeing B-52 was first flown in 1952 and is still active in the U.S. Air Force, making it the longest in-service aircraft. The B-52B was put into military use in 1955 as a bomber. The one on display at the Denver Air and Space Museum was originally intended for reconnaissance missions and was the seventh-built Stratofortress.
4. NASA HL-20/Dream Chaser®: A Small Spaceplane
One of the coolest things to see at Wings Over the Rockies is one of the space vehicles known as the NASA HL-20, or Dream Chaser. The Dream Chaser is designed to go into Earth's orbit.
There is a cargo version of the spacecraft that can fly to and from the International Space Station and a crew version that, in the next few years, should be able to fly with passengers on it for small space endeavors.
5. Grumman F-14A Tomcat: Movie Star of Top Gun
A movie star lives at the museum: the Grumman F-14A Tomcat. The Tomcat was featured in the movie Top Gun.
It was designed to be a fighter and long-range naval interceptor. Tomcat’s advanced radar could track up to 24 targets at a time. In 2006, the aircraft retired. The one on display spent most of its career as a test and evaluation squadron with the U.S. Navy.
6. Lockheed F-104C Starfighter: A Cold War Fighter
The Lockheed F-104C Starfighter was built in 1952 and was a Cold War fighter for the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft's lightweight design helped it climb to high altitudes and travel at speeds up to Mach 2.
The one on display is a fighter bomber that saw active combat. It flew with the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War.
7. McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II: A War Veteran
The F-4E Phantom II has been used as a fighter and a fighter bomber by the U.S. Air Force and Marines. It was used as a fighter bomber with a multi-barrel 20-mm rotary cannon during the Vietnam War.
The F-4E Phantom II has been in battle during the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the wars between Iran and Iraq. The Phantom II is another fast aircraft, with speeds up to Mach 2.23. The one at the museum was utilized as a munitions loading trainer at Lowry AFB.
8. Rockwell B-1A Lancer: A Fast and Sleek Bomber
The Rockwell B-1A Lancer is a supersonic bomber with variable-sweep wings and four engines. It was designed to go as fast as Mach 2.3. It was also made to travel high in the air while carrying weapons (some of them nuclear).
There were only four B-1As built, as they were costly to make. Rockwell eventually made 100 B-1Bs, but some of the features from the B-1A didn't make it into the B-1Bs.
The aircraft on display at the museum was the third one built, and it was given to Lowry AFB in 1989 to be used as a ground trainer for munitions loading.
Reach New Heights at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum With a Denver CityPASS® Ticket
When you go on your next trip to Denver, you should consider Denver CityPASS® tickets, which gives you admission to some of the biggest things to do in Denver for a discounted price. Attractions available include Wings Over the Rockies, Downtown Aquarium, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Art Museum, and more.
To get the most out of your stay in Denver, we recommend finding lodging near Denver's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header Image Courtesy Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum