By Dan Bramos
PAX River Naval Air Museum
Preserve – Educate – Inspire
Educate the public about the historic and social significance of the work of the U.S. Navy that is uniquely carried out in St. Mary’s County.
Inspire and encourage excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and embrace its future promise as a pathway to advanced innovations and an improved quality of life.
After much anticipation, the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum opened its doors to the public during a celebration last May on Memorial Day weekend. The museum complex is open to all ages interested in discovering the heritage of naval aviation’s research, development, test and evaluation at Patuxent River, Maryland.
The 20,000 square-foot new exhibit hall, located next to the main entrance to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, is arguably the most recognizable structure on Three Notch Road.
“As many know, design and construction of the museum have been ongoing for several years,” said George Hill, president of the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association. “From its roofline reflecting the shape of an aircraft, to its state of the art environmental controls, this building is a source of pride for St. Mary’s County and all of Southern Maryland.”
First opened in 1978, the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM) now spans three buildings and includes a flight line of [14 different] one-of- a-kind aircraft and aircraft configurations unique to the Naval Test Center here at NAS Patuxent River.
Visitors to the museum will witness a range of test and evaluation-centric artifacts including a replica A-1 Triad, the U. S. Navy’s first aircraft; the X-35 prototype of the Navy latest aircraft; galleries of aircraft engines and ejection seats; and much more. No visit is complete without a stop at the flight simulators [key message here about flight simulator] followed by a trip to the Flightline gift shop, which offers our latest and greatest aviation souvenirs.
The museum complex is open six days a week. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission to the museum complex is five dollars for adults and three dollars for children, seniors and active duty personnel.
“Our Board of Directors, museum staff and dedicated volunteers are truly excited to welcome visitors to this unique landmark and historic collection,” Hill said. “We hope you’ll join us as we journey to preserve our heritage, educate future generations about science, technology, engineering and math programs and inspire our community to never stop pushing the limits.”
The PRNAM is operated by the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. For additional information please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.863.1900.
Meet Oscar Falco
A six foot tall osprey has been spotted in Southern Maryland, and it’s even wearing a flight suit. Oscar Falco, named after its area namesake, the Osprey Falcon, was designed by world renowned aviation artist Hank Caruso in his signature “aerocature” form.
Caruso originally had the idea for the mascot after a Cub Scout pack toured the museum and asked some very intelligent and perceptive questions, leading to discussions on how to engage younger visitors. He went on to talk about the concept of the character, “An Osprey seemed like the perfect choice; they represent our area better than any other raptor… but he did need to have a look that reflected the aggressive personality associated with flight testing”. Hank credits his wife Amy Houle Caruso with the idea and drive and effort that brought Oscar to become a “real bird”.