Chantilly Trek

Go the distance for the air-and-space rewards at the Udvar-Hazy Center

By Will O'Bryan
Published on August 15, 2013, 6:08am | Comments

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

(Photo by Todd Franson)

Depending on traffic, where you're coming from, and a few other variables, getting to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center can be a bit of a trek. But if you're in any way a fan of the Air and Space mother ship downtown on the National Mall, it's a trek worth taking. If you don't have a car, rent one. Take Metrobus to Dulles International and transfer to a Virginia Regional Transit Association bus for the short hop to the center. And how many museums offer directions to visit by air?

''Welcome Pilots!'' reads the Udvar-Hazy greeting. ''Fly your own plane into Washington Dulles International Airport, Leesburg Executive Airport, or other nearby fields.''

Seriously? Yes. This is a far-out complex – roughly 30 miles from downtown Washington – that takes everything related to flight very seriously. It's evident the moment a visitor pulls into the parking lot, where inscribed airfoils create the ''Wall of Honor,'' recognizing great names of aviation and space exploration, along with those who've helped make the center a reality.

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