Courier August/September Courier - Page 23

Flights and lights The Virginia Beach area is known for its rich military and maritime history. Those two aspects of its culture can be explored at the Military Aviation Museum and Cape Henry Lighthouse. Boasting one of the largest private collections of its kind in the world, the museum covers the first 50 years of mili- tary aviation history and houses nearly 70 planes, many of which have been restored to their original flying condi- tion. A range of educational program- ming helps provide real-world examples of science, math and history in action. As part of guided tours through the han- gar, docents discuss how gravity, motion, and kinetic and potential energy factor into how planes fly and how they were designed. Groups can explore topics such as whether two wings are better or worse than one and how a larger surface area affects a plane’s ability to overcome gravity. Travel planners also can book ses- sions with a veteran pilot or a Rosie the Riveter impersonator. These programs give travelers a chance to find out more about the contributions of the men and women involved with military aviation across different periods of time. Built in 1792, the Cape Henry Lighthouse stands along the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can climb the 191 steps to the top of the original 90-foot tan structure to take in sweeping views of the coast. Tours of the structure and the on-site museum are available, and officials can tailor programs to groups’ needs. Nearby is a newer black and white lighthouse, which replaced the original as the area’s beacon in 1881. It is not open to the public. For more information, contact Jim Coggin of Visit Virginia Beach at jcoggin@visitvirginiabeach.com or go to visitvirginiabeach.com. —P.H. Military Aviation Museum Old and new Cape Henry Lighthouses NTAonline.com 19