40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

July 21, 2009

I am often asked how I became interested in aviation. My standard answer is that I was a child of the space age. In the exciting days of the Apollo missions, every future science geek wanted to be an astronaut. And of course the way to become an astronaut was to start as a fighter jet pilot. Even today, NASA still includes "extensive flight experience in high performance jet aircraft" as one of the qualifications for astronaut selection.

Well, my poor vision ended any hope of military aviation, but luckily Intel and Microsoft provided an alternate career path that allows me to pursue my "habit" without any government funding.

In honor of the Apollo 11 40th anniversary, I build for the 2nd time the Revel Apollo Saturn V model kit. The one I built when I was 8 is long gone. This time, I actually painted it, and in the process discovered that the instructions and box illustration had the wrong paint scheme.

I have also been doing a lot of reading on the Internet, and have been amazed by the amount of information so much more accessible now than at the time of the missions. One thing I have learned is that the spaceraft were not all that much different from the aircraft we fly. I had always thought of them as exotic vehicles molded from pure unobtanium using special construction techniques employed only for outer space. But in reality they were mostly aluminum and rivets, wires and circuit breakers, just like our airplanes. (well, except my airplane is mostly glass fiber and epoxy, but there was some of that too)

One thing I have wondered about since I started flying, but have not been able to find: what entries did the astronauts make in their logbooks?

My finished Apollo Saturn V model stands tall in my living room

"I told you not to land this close, now look what you've done! We are in so much trouble!"