The Inspector wrote:
... It's kind of neat to see something you actually had a hand in bringing to 3 dimensional reality in a safe place for others to admire...
And worth pointing out, as often on WIX this is overlooked, that's what museums are for
- a safe place for our heritage.
Flying some retired aircraft is great, too. It's not a replacement for the museum preservation though.
But, it is far sighted to sock one away, especially a prototype. That consciousness of heritage has been more the exception than the rule over the last century. ...
True - actually it's not so much an exception, as a recent, increasing trend.
There's now an assumption that a service example of an aircraft will be retired to the museum when the retirement comes up; snagging prototypes, usually earlier retired, is a further step on that line, and it's interesting is it not, that the responses in this thread show the latter idea of early preservation is still not as exciting / necessary. Thirty, forty years ago, that reaction was at retirement of the type "that was everywhere" and it took time to realise "they don't seem to be around so much" before the preservation drive kicked in.
Both prototype preservation and sequestering an example of a type on retirement are a function of the increased pull and capability of national and armed forces museums. Less than half a century ago, curators were lucky if they could manage a representative selection of the big name types under a roof.
We are lucky indeed.