August 16, 2014

Quonset Air Museum in Rhode Island




Blue Angel and Tomcat Navy Planes

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September 7, 2013, was An adventurous day as my husband Monte and I visited the Quonset Air Museum in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

My father, Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell, was stationed out of Quonset Naval Station in December 1943, when I was born in Providence. In August 1963 I visited up to the gate of the Navy Station while visiting a friend, the late Carol Cargill, who lived nearby in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The museum website states

  • The mission of the Rhode Island Quonset Air Museum (QAM) is to preserve, interpret and present Rhode Island’s aviation history through collections, research, education and exhibits…Founded in 1992 with the assistance of then Governor Bruce Sundlun, the air museum educates the public in the state’s rich aviation legacy and displays collections that document the contributions of Rhode Island to the growth and development of aviation and space exploration…QAM is housed on three acres in an original Naval Air Station Quonset Point (NASQP) hangar built in 1945, as the point building for the Overhaul and Repair (O&R) facility.

The museum has a large and valuable collection of aircraft, aircraft parts and other historical artifacts. The 28 aircraft currently on display or under restoration include civilian, military and prototype aircraft dating from 1944 (Hellcat under restoration) to 1983 (F-14 Tomcat), including the last aircraft to fly from Quonset NAS, a C-1A COD BU#136792, a one-of-a-kind TWIN TAIL Navy transport.

I'm sitting in a model demonstrating what it is like to be in an airplane cockpit

I’m sitting in a model demonstrating what it is like to be in an airplane cockpit

I was surprised to see a Navy Blue Angel, an A-4 Skyhawk, a small and simple tailed delta jet…the concept behind the Douglas A-4 was to keep the design simple and the weight as light as possible. It was the first operational A-4 Squadron was VA-72, stationed at the Naval Air Station Quonset Point. This aircraft is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict having served with U. S. Navy Attack Squadron VA-1645 ‘Ghostriders,” while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Hancock.

In 1974 the A-4 Skyhawk became part of the Navy flight demonstration aircraft. It was a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration.

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In 1986 the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet replaced the A-4 Skyhawk for  Blue Angels Flight Demonstration shows. Monte and I have attended a couple of airshows, at the Arnold Palmer Airport, that featured this plane:



Overall, the Navy’s Grumman F-14 Tomcat is without equal among today’s Free World fighters. Six long-range AIM-54A Phoenix missiles can be guided against six separate threat aircraft at long range by the F-14’s AWG-9 weapons control system. For medium-range combat, Sparrow missiles are carried; Sidewinders and a 20mm are available for dogfighting. In the latter role, the Tomcat’s variable-sweep wings give the F-14 a combat maneuvering capability that could not have been achieved with a “standard” fixed planform wing.

Someone had a little fun with this plane—or do they really come with shark features?

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The staff there, mostly volunteers, were friendly, sociable, and informative. I’d recommend the Quonset Air Museum as a stop if you are ever in Rhode Island (the state is so small that the museum is accessible from anywhere in it). Further information is available on their website,



Recognizing a Veteran: Robert W.Cornell

Two Photographers Named Cornell

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