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Seattle’s Museum of Flight — so much bigger since 2003

2 April 2014

Seattle’s Museum of Flight — so much bigger since 2003

47° 31′ 07″ N / 122° 17′ 50″ W


Museum of Flight — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight parking lot entrance — photo by Joseph May

The Museum of Flight has been greatly enhanced since we last saw it during November 2003 when there was only the large atrium — known as The Great Gallery — to explore as well as The Red Barn. We revisited the museum last month to re-explore that gallery and the barn; along with its newer aircraft as well as the newer constructions of The Personal Courage Wing and Air Park (along with the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery). This is a mega-sized facility and spending two hours to an entire day would be reasonable planning. Parking is free, adult tickets are a bit less than $20 with other lesser fees available (including a return the next day), the architecture is spectacularly — marked by curves with right angles notably absent, aircraft appear factory fresh (except a few in dioramas for context and a few in the air park, though they hardly appear abandoned), bathroom facilities of course, child friendly and a pleasant café run professionally by a catering business — on a fair day sitting on the café’s patio overlooking Boeing Field watching the aircraft come and go is an enjoyable break, as well. The entire museum is handicapped accessible, as well.

The museum’s lobby has several exhibits suspended from the ceiling (see table below) and are nearly within reach so their details are quite easy to view — as is how frail looking they seem to be (intrepid pilots required for these aircraft).

Museum Lobby

Chanute-Herring 1896 biplane glider [reproduction] Da Vinci Cigno (Swan) [interpretation] Lilienthal 1893 glider [reproduction]
Rumpler Taube (Dove) [reproduction] Wright 1902 glider [reproduction]
Museum of Flight ATC section — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight ATC section with the WB-47 Stratojet in the background — photo by Joseph May

The main building’s architecture is modern in appearance while meeting its purpose quite handily. A control tower-like structure contains the Air Traffic Control (ATC) exhibits as well as standing over the parking lot giving a good view of Boeing Field.

Museum of Flight — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight from another aspect angle — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight Red Barn — photo by Joseph May

The Red Barn as seen from the pedestrian bridge with The Great Gallery to the right — photo by Joseph May

The Red Barn is a substantial remnant of the original Boeing factory and is in newly built condition with all the roof carpentry joinery in view. The Boeing Company history is largely displayed in this long two-story structure. A stylish pedestrian bridge protects visitors from street traffic and adverse weather when they wish to see the Air Park as well as the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.

Museum of Flight pedestrian bridge — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight pedestrian bridge to the Air Park and Charles Simonyi Space Gallery — photo by Joseph May

The Air Park has five aircraft which are either unique or historic and the area adjoins the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery housing, among a few things, the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer.

Museum of Flight Air Park— photo by Joseph May

Charles Simonyi Space Gallery (L) and note the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer as well as the Air Park (R) with the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde in full view from the street — photo by Joseph May

Air Park & Charles Simonyi Space Gallery

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde Boeing 727-022 Boeing 737-130
Boeing 747-121 Boeing VC-137B Stratoliner “Air Force One” Lockheed 1049G Super Constellation

In the neighboring Charles Simonyi Space Gallery

Blue Origin Charon Test Vehicle

Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer

Soyuz TMA-14 Descent Module

The Great Gallery is the main event in terms of numbers of aircraft an is essentially a soaring atrium. Aircraft are on the ground, on platforms as well as suspended so visitors can see most of them from individual angels — especially with the use of a second story platform to one side. There is also a Space Exploration room which is accessed on the lower floor.

The Great Gallery

Aeronca C-2 Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper Beech C-45H Expeditor
Bell UH-1H Iroquois “Huey” Boeing 247D Boeing 80A-1
Boeing B&W [reproduction] Boeing Model 40B [reproduction] Bowers Flybaby 1A
Bowers Flybaby prototype Bowlus-Hawley BA-100 Baby Albatross Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk6 (license built F-86 Sabre)
Cessna CG-2 primary glider Curtiss-Robinson Robin C-1 DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Perlan glider
Douglas A-4F Skyhawk Douglas DC-3 Fairchild 24W
Fiesler Fi 103 “V-1 Buzz Bomb” Granville Bros. Gee Bee Z Super Sportster Grumman F9F-8 Cougar
Heath Model V Parasol Howard DGA-15P Insitu Aerosonde Laima
Insitu ScanEagle Lamson L-106 Alcor glider Lear Fan 2100
Letov LF-107 Lunak glider Lockheed D-21B Tagboard drone Lockheed M-21 “Blackbird”
Lockheed Martin RQ-3A Dark Star Lockheed Model 10-E Electra Lockheed NF-104 Starfighter
Lockheed YO-3 Quiet Star MacCready Gossamar Albatros II McAllister Yakima Clipper glider
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 15bis “Fagot” Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 21 PFM “Fishbed”
Northrop YF-5A Freedom Fighter Piper J3C-65 Cub Pratt-Read PR-61 glider
Ryan M-1 Sikorsky HH-52 Seaguard Sorrel Cool Crow I Parasol
Stearman C-3B Stearman PT-13A Kaydet Stephens Akro
Stinson Model O [reproduction] Stinson SR Reliant Swallow Commercial
Taylor Aerocar III Taylorcraft Model A Wright 1903 Flyer [reproduction]
Museum of Flight main hall — photo by Joseph May

Lockheed NF-104 Starfighter in the Great Gallery — photo by Joseph MayMuseum of Flight main hall — photo by Joseph May The Great Gallery from the second floor — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight WW I gallery — photo by Joseph May

Fokker Eindecker replica (above) and RAF S.E.5A among other aircraft in the Personal Courage Gallery — photo by Joseph May

The Personal Courage Wing is a two-story interpretive and emotive affair housing exhibits of World War II fighters on the lower floor as well as World War I fighters on the upper floor. Many other exhibits are present as well as aircraft displayed in settings which bring the visitor to what life was like back in those days of combat.

Personal Courage Wing

Aviatik D.I [rare] Caproni Ca.20 [rare]
Albatros D.Va [reproduction] Curtiss J4-4D Jenny [reproduction]
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk Fokker D.VII [reproduction] Fokker D.VIII [reproduction]
Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker [reproduction] Fokker E.III Eindecker [reproduction] Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
Lockheed P-38 L Lightning Bayerishe-Flugzeuwerke Bf 109E-3 Nakajima Ki 43-III-a Hayabusa “Oscar”
Nieuport 24bis [reproduction] Nieuport 27 [reproduction] Nieuport 28 C.1
North American P-51D Mustang Pfalz D.XII Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5A Sopwith Camel [reproduction] Sopwith Pup [reproduction]
Sopwith Snipe [reproduction] Sopwith Snipe 7F.1 [reproduction] Sopwith Triplane [reproduction]
SPAD XIII [reproduction] Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX Yakovlev Yak 9U “Frank”
Museum of Flight WW II gallery — photo by Joseph May

The lower floor of the Personal Courage Gallery — photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight grounds— photo by Joseph May

Museum of Flight on the main entry road — photo by Joseph May

A handful of fighter and attack aircraft stand as parade guard along the main entry road to the parking lot as well as a Boeing WB-47 Stratojet at the main entrance.


Museum Grounds

Boeing WB-47E Stratojet Fiat G.91 PAN Grumman A-6E Intruder
Grumman F-14A Tomcat McDonnell Douglas AV-8C Harrier Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 17 “Fresco”

More posts on the galleries and their exhibits will appear in during subsequent weeks since this museum is too large, thankfully, to cover in a single post.


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