The Pacific Northwest is rich in aviation history, exhibits and home to the largest aerospace company in the world, The Boeing Company (Technically, it is now a Chicago based company but the heart is still in Seattle) and summer is the time to visit. For aviation enthusiasts there is an event or exhibit to visit almost every weekend during the blue sky weekends of May through August, here are my favourites:
1. Museum of Flight. The Museum of Flight in Seattle is one of the best run aerospace exhibits I have visited and hosts aviation events throughout the year. The exhibit highlights include the Personal Courage Wing housing fighter aircraft from World War I and II, and the Great Gallery where you can explore aviation history. Memorial Day weekend the museum hosts these three great events:
The Aluminum Overcast: B-17 flight experience in this veteran warbird for $399.
Tuskegee Airmen who became German Prisoners of War, listen to the experiences of the Red-tailed fighters as told by the pilots themselves.
Cascade Warbird Fly-in, aircraft from World War II to Vietnam will grace the tarmac outside the museum.
2. Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour. Looking down on the factory floor, you have to remind yourself that the aircraft under construction are amongst the largest in the world despite being dwarfed in this massive facility. The tour is proceeding with presentations and exhibits on the future of flight and flight simulator ride but the heavy metal on the production line holds my attention longest.
3. Flying Heritage Collection.Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has many passions and the wealth to indulge them. The Flying Heritage Collection is his personal stable of historic aircraft, many restored to flying condition and exercised in the air on regular occasions. Currently located at Arlington Airfield, the collection is moving to Paine Field in late 2007. Tours are by appointment only.
4. Evergreen Aviation Museum. Home of the Hughes Hercules flying boat (Spruce Goose), the Evergreen Aviation Museum has a large collection of rare and unique aircraft.
5. Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-in. The second largest fly-in event in the USA, Arlington is less well known than Oshkosh but no less impressive for aviators. Fantastic home built aircraft sit along side warbirds and wide range of aviation products from books to your next aircraft kit.