ASW Destinations

Tanks, Rifles, Collectables and More Tanks Oh Boy: Danville Tank Museum

By TC FREEMAN
March 2018, Danville, Virginia

Most everyone has one of those semi- local travel destinations that is on a bucket list but never seem to get to, I call this the backyard theme-park syndrome. You have the best intentions of going, one day, but it's just around the corner so to speak. The destination for me is the Danville (VA) Tank Museum, and I might add, it was awesome as friends have been telling me all these years.

Fly into the Danville Regional Airport (KDAN) and take an Uber for a 15 minute trip to the museum, easy. Admission is $12 at the time of this writing and be sure to check their website calendar for special events, such as tank demo days, RC tank battles and flame thrower demos. Believe you me, nothing warms the heart (and body) like a nice flame thrower.

It's hard to know where to start due to the shear massive square footage of the place but as any self respecting fundraising organization would do, the self-guided tour begins and ends in the way cool gift shop (it's actually a bit cool temp-wise so bring a jacket). It's very easy to spend a lot of time checking out the usual t-shirts and typical memorabilia but the for sale collectables are something to behold. On the day I visited they were selling some museum quality overstock, can't say you see that every day.

As if tanks where not good enough the museum has a very large assortment of uniforms and accessories, I'm talking about a huge variety of hats and helmets, big buffalo head fluffy ones to Spanish Conquistador, poke out an eye metal jobs.

If this wasn't enough, check out the large international assortment of rifles. There's a audio tour option that seems like it would be neat but I couldn't get it to work. This is not a reflection on museum but more of my poor cell service.

At this point I'm thinking it's time to bring on the tanks, and it's awesome! We are not talking about half a dozen tanks parked in parking lot, these are big time displays with backdrops, mannequins and lightning. Now there are several just parked but it's just because, in my opinion, they have so many of the bloody things (not disappointing in the least bit). I can't describe the vastness of the collection with any justice but can you say Sherman, Panzer and M1, just to name a very few.

On the day I was there they had a RC tank battle complete with a huge miniature city/rural area. One thing worth noting is that the tank drivers mean business, looks like a lot of fun to me!

Since pilots make up the majority of the readership I strived to find an aviation connection in a tank museum and I wasn't disappointed. They in-fact had a Cobra helicopter, WWII eta drone (yes, there were drones in WWII), model aircraft, artwork/posters and I hate to mention anti-aircraft artillery. Quick sidebar: Ironically a fellow visitor noticed the Cobra helicopter I was taking pictures of and sighed stating, “they better be careful about getting to much of that crap or they will have to change it into a darn aviation museum!” I bravely mentioned I was working on a article for pilots and he reluctantly directed me to the drone display. Nice of him to step up despite his reservations about aviation.

Don't be like me and put off visiting those bucket list destinations like the very worthwhile Danville (VA) Tank Museum, be sure to tell them you read about it here on AviationSafetyWeb.com "Destinations."

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ASW Destinations

Fun in the Sun at Edisto Beach, South Carolina (May 2016)
by TC Freeman 


I've always been facinated about how to construct the ultimate family trip. Ever since my sister, as an adult, planned a very cool trip for our family and extended family to the panhandle of Florida I wanted to replicate some of her key “success” principles. The trouble with family vacations is a time when various sexes comprised of a diverse age range try to do something together. Some people like to sleep in, others are night owls. Some like to have as much group time as possible, others need a little “alone time” to re-charge. Let's not even talk about doing something as simple as deciding what food to eat, uh. Anyway, I think we came pretty close to the ultimate vacation at beautiful Edisto Beach, South Carolina, which is South-Southeast of Charleston, SC. Let me explain.

Rent accommodations that are big enough. We decided to give in-park housing a try at the Edisto State Park. Everyone had their own room, which was probably way bigger than necessary but added a nice element of personal space and down time. One of my daughters that is having the “dorm experience” in college had new appreciation for this aspect of the trip. She came out of her room for the first time bewildered, not knowing what to do with so much space. The “cabins,” as they call them, are basically houses with a nice rustic feel and they overlook a very remote marsh. There are about a half a dozen of these homes in the park plus and RV section, book early because they book up fast. We decided to go in the third week of May, just as both my daughters were out of college for the summer.

Location, location, location. The real estate folks are right, it's all about the location. I've done the tactic of staying well outside of the resort area to save a few bucks routine, it's not worth the hassle most of the time. Edisto State Park is a great location in which the family can romp around the park and feel safe. My only warning would be for city dwellers, remember you are in a dense forest and therefore wildlife in the area. We had a opossum, fox and a snake that came around the campsite from time to time. No big deal, just keep your wits about you. You might be wondering, “Where is the beach?” While the cabins are not technically at the beach the Edisto Park they have a beach-side mini-park a couple of miles from the main entrance. Since my daughters are adults they have the liberty of taking the car to the beach. I noticed a few folks making the trip quite nicely on bicycles. Edisto Beach is small town America, there a few basic restaurants, one grocery story and a few tourist trap shops.

Most will fly into the Charleston or Charleston Executive Airport then rent a car for the nice country drive to Edisto, it's about an hour to hour and a half trip. To clarify, it's nice once you are outside of the busy and very popular Charleston area. We wound up doing the opposite and came direct to Edisto Beach then traveled to Charleston to visit the area on a day trip. The key for our day trip was doing some online research beforehand and allow each person to come up with a thing or two they would like to do while in the city.

Many folks are familiar with the Charleston area and I won't go on and on about a location that has been written about thousands of times. We did have a great time taking the horse driven carriage ride around the town, especially since one of my daughters is crazy about all things equestrian. I had no idea that Charleston is one of the busiest places in the country, if not the busiest, with horse drawn carriage rides. Sure it wreaks of being a typical tourist but it is well worth it. Our tour guide and horse driver encouraged people to buy local food and products during our trip, especially at the “Slave Market.” Interesting thing about the name of the area that now houses hundreds of small business vendors, it was never actually the location of a slave market. The tour guide explained to us naive tourist that the name was actually concocted to draw people, like tourist with money, to the area for shopping. Amazing, I learn something new every day. I am actually happy to say we shopped from local vendors and had a nice meal of locally caught seafood at the Fleet Landing Restaurant followed by a very nice, and sinful, desert at Carmella's Desert Bar (my other daughter's pick).

Hanging on the beach, playing ping-pong in the local restaurant-bar, visiting the historic city of Charleston, a nice time indeed. Our key to success was packing too many things into one day (although the Charleston day trip was a little busy) and allowing everyone to pick out favorite activities. Be sure to book your Edisto Beach, South Carolina vacation early!


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BLOG by TC FREEMAN, Aviation Safety Specialist, AviationSafetyWeb.com.

About the author:​
TC has been flying since he was a teenager  and for the last two decades has been employed as an Aviation Safety Specialist for state government. 

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