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Dover Air Force Base Open House – A Vicarious Adventure

What do you think of when someone mentions Dover, Delaware?  Probably not much.


Dover Sole, the White Cliffs of Dover, maybe?  Or, the place where large corporations incorporate due to favorable tax advantages?


This obviously shows you are not from Delaware, although the last answer would be correct.  Although not much more than a drive through on the way up or down Interstate 95 to somewhere else, Dover, Delaware is the home of the 436th Airlift Wing located at Dover Air Force Base.


Dover AFB is especially known for three things that are the largest of their kind in the military:


1. Home of the C-5 Galaxy – the largest U.S. military aircraft and one of the largest in the world.


C-5 Galaxy can transport an entire space shuttle

C-5 Galaxy can transport 5 helicopters



2. Home of the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) largest airfreight terminal, moving more cargo than Federal Express and UPS combined.


3. Home of the largest joint-service military mortuary processing military personnel killed in both war and peacetime.


At nearly $470 million a year in revenue to the City of Dover, the base is the third largest industry in Delaware.


If you wish to visit Dover AFB there are two ways that are both free.


Air Mobility Command Museum


Hangar 1301 houses nearly 30,000 square feet of aircraft displays plus exhibit rooms, a theater and a museum store.


Outside is a display of over two-dozen aircraft including cargo and fighter jets.


* You must use the museum entrance gate on Route 9, as the museum is not accessible through the main base.

You must use the museum entrance gate on RT 9. 

Admission: Free

Parking: Free

Hours: 9AM – 4PM Tuesday – Sunday (Closed Mondays and Holidays)


The other free option for visiting Dover AFB will actually get you on the base, but is only available one weekend every year.


It is known as the Open House and runs one weekend, usually in June (2009 June 20-21).


From an open field parking area across from the museum, you are shuttled to the main entrance of the Open House.  In other words, don’t expect to drive on the base.  It’s not going to happen!  Those days are over …


You will be searched for weapons, and alcohol, coolers, backpacks, etc. are prohibited, as are dogs, skateboards, and in-line skates.


Strollers, diaper bags, SMALL purses and wheelchairs are acceptable, and sunscreen is highly recommended!


As there are air shows during the day, a blanket and fold-up travel chair is not a bad idea.


If you want to walk through the largest aircraft in the U.S. military fleet (C-5 Galaxy) this is probably the only place and time it can be done.  You can even climb the ladder that puts you in the cockpit high above the huge open doors that open to accept tanks, trucks and other large vehicles for rides all over the world.


Over 40 aircraft are on display, and there are performances throughout the weekend including parachute teams and the Thunderbirds.


If you have never been on an Air Force Base, this is your big chance.

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