San Diego Aerospace Museum Hangar
335 Kenney Street, Santee
This Atlas Missile 2-E is East County's premier anachronism. Its flanks jut up 80 or 90 feet from the low-rise industrial buildings along Gillespie Field's northeastern edge. Developed in the late 1950s as the free world's first ICBM, the Atlas was used for nearly 500 U.S. launches. The rocket and two nearby hangars that compose the museum came from General Dynamics' old Kearny Mesa plant. Inside the buildings you'll find planes like a refurbished 1920s Mutual Blackbird and an AV-SA Marine Harrier with its Rolls-Royce jet engine on display alongside it. Out on the tarmac, you can peruse a Navy Huey helicopter, a Corsair II, an A-4 Skyhawk, a Grumman A-6E Intruder, and a Navy F-14 Tomcat, among others. The F-14 landed at Gillespie Field, but the boys at the museum will tell you it took the entire length of the runway, and the pilot burned brakes big-time bringing it to a stop in time.