Washington DC Trip Epic Fail, Part II

Yesterday I gave the highlights of my recent Mom/Son trip to Washington, DC. Good times were had in between the complaining (you can read about it here). However, I saved the best part of the trip till today because it truly deserved it’s own full Shitastrophy post – it was that bad.

Since first grade my son has heard about his Great Great Uncle’s plane Flak-Bait that is on display in the Smithsonian. Yes, you read that right…my Great Uncle James Farrell’s World War II fighter plane is on display in one of the greatest museums in our country. He was a World War II Flying Ace and the government paid homage to his service, and the service of other flying aces, by displaying the Flak-Bait cockpit and my Great Uncle’s bomber jacket for millions to see.

I first visited Flak-Bait when I was in elementary school with my parents, and then again on my 8th grade pilgrimage to DC. My niece sent me pictures of her and her friends when they visited Flak-Bait when she was in 8th grade. Yup this plane has had many many eyes on it, and many photos taken of it. It has been on display at the Air and Space Museum since 1976. It was time for me to share my families history with my son who is obsessed with all things historical. He was PUMPED, it was like seeing Superman in person, but this one he was related to.

I planned a whole day for this museum because it meant so much to him. We entered the museum and his excitement was palpable. I was instructed to take pictures of EVERYTHING. We stopped and got a map and headed in the direction of the exhibit. Here was where it was gonna all come together for this history lover. We took the escalator upstairs and first entered the World War I exhibit. He could barely contain himself he was so excited, which meant we made it through the whole exhibit in under five minutes. We exited to the left and passed the row of seats for all the tired museum tourists and walked right up to the World War II exhibit and that’s when shit went south real quick.

The exhibit was closed. Fucking CLOSED! I shit you not. This has been open to the public for 37 years and now it is CLOSED! My son broke out in a panic, he looked at me with total disbelief and horror in his eyes.  This was not happening, the moment that he had looked forward to for five years was now impossible! I thought he was going to cry.

Air & Space Collage

I turned to my Aunt frantic, we are family maybe she could go talk to someone and see if we could access the exhibit! Surely they would understand that a young boy had looked forward to seeing his Great Great Uncle’s plane for half of his life. My Aunt nodded and was off. She returned with the grim news, the plane was no longer in the museum it had been moved to the Smithsonian extension location at Dulles Airport. The good news, we could go visit it the next day. Thank God, crisis averted. We finished up the day with a Ducky Tour of the Potomac (highly recommend) and had planes almost land on our craft. The 10 year old was even able to pilot the boat!

Score, all was well. Until it wasn’t.

The next morning my Aunt called the Dulles hangar to make sure the plane was there – she spent 40 years working in the government and is well aware of the potential that just because one person says it’s there it may not be. She knocked on my hotel door with the news. The plane was there…but it was undergoing restoration and was not accessible. Holy Fucking Shit. The whole reason we were in DC was for him to see this plane. This plane that had been in the Smithsonian for 37 years was moved..wait for it…the WEEK BEFORE!

Talk about a fucking Shitastrophy, total and complete epic fail of monumental proportions.

He is now planning the next trip to DC for when they unveil the completely restored Flak-Bait – and you can be damn sure I will call ahead before visiting. Oh and The Hubs is taking him cause I am all tapped out.

Want to read more about Flak Bait? Just click here.

Washington Trip Part II



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  1. Of course it was moved a week prior. OF COURSE IT WAS. That’s exactly the kind of thing that happens to me–except we don’t have any connections to historical planes. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    P.S. I’m sorry for you and your son. Hope he has fun next year!

    • Now I can’t wait to meet you at BlogHer – of course we won’t be able to stand to close to each other or we will probably get struck by lightening or something.

  2. Oh no!!!!!!!!! Never mind your son, I think I would have cried!!!!! xo

  3. Terrible news. Hard to recover from this stuff. Same thing happened to my mom and me in Paris. A big part of the visit was to see the original “Girl With a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer. Instead, we saw a sign, “Painting On Loan.” Crap.

  4. That sucks ass…royally. Ugh. Poor Mom and kid! On a completely unrelated note, I went on an 8th grade voyage to DC too! Good times, good times.

    • Yeah it was a definite low point of epic levels. I think I enjoyed my 8th grade trip just for the reason I was away from my parents.

  5. Why do things like this always happen? Seriously?! My husband, who travels a LOT during the summer for work was free the Saturday after July 4th and decided to take our daughter and I to the pool for the afternoon as a family. After being there for all of 20 minutes, our daughter pooped in pool and so the lifeguards had to evacuate the pool for the rest of the afternoon while they drained, cleaned, and then refilled the pool.

    • That sounds horrendous! My theme is – No good deed goes unpunished totally applies to that Shitastrophy!

  6. He’s going to remember this all his life, you realize. LOL

  7. Dave says:

    A whole week prior? I would’ve guessed the day before.

  8. Dave says:

    Oooh….just read about Flak Bait. Cool. Especially since it was a B-26, a horribly designed plane that often just fell out of the sky. You’ll note that there are no more flying (last one, yes, crashed), unlike the B-25 that are around in numbers.

    • The fact that you know this is very intriguing…dare I ask how you know it?? Are you a history buff too?

  9. Holy SHIT! What a complete nightmare of a bummer. I’m sure I’ve seen that plane–I grew up in DC and my dad worked for several local TV stations (he even covered the opening of that museum)–so I went down there a lot. I feel terrible for your son. I swear, when I read that about the exhibit being closed, *I* almost started crying. What a disappointment. I hate it when kids get their hopes trampled. I hope his next trip makes up for this.

    • To say it was a low point would be an understatement of epic proportions. How very cool though that your dad was on the TV there!

  10. ASSES. They always do stuff like this but in the defense of DC Dulles, they have one kickass Air and Scare every year that we go to. Still, SUCKS that was the one time that your boy could have seen it and it wasn’t there. GRUMBLE>

  11. Denise says:

    We just got back from DC this week. You don’t want to hear this, but Flak Bait’s cockpit could be seen on the restoration floor–way in the back–from the observation window. We were there Tuesday. I hope you took the kid out there, my hubs and boys were going bonkers for all the cool planeson display.

    • OMG NOOOOO!!!!! We didn’t go since they said it was in restoration and inaccessible. They didn’t mention it was able to be seen though. Grrrr…was there any info on when it would be done with restoration?