This tip has to do with the "main campus" of the museum of flight. There are actually several other locations operated by the Museum of Flight, but this facility is the location most people think of when they think of the Museum of Flight.
Naturally located south of downtown Seattle at Boeing Field (the old King County Airport), and still surrounded by some of one of the Boeing plants, you will find the Museum of Flight.
Set against the stark white of the huge museum of flight building is a bright red structure called "The Red Barn" which is where the Boeing company originally started building airplanes. Today, reasonably completely restored, the bottom floor of this structure includes exhibits dedicated to Pacific Northwest flight pioneers, plus early equipment that was used to fabricate airplanes during those pioneer days.
To the left and right of the red barn are vast exhibitions halls that include everything from the very early days of flight (even small testaments to baloon equipment) up to and including space travel. Sections of aircraft have been cut apart to reveal how they are built. Two layers of the exhibition hall on the north side of the museum are dedicated to World War I (top floor) and World War II (ground floor).
Above the big exhibition hall on the south side, you will find a small room dedicated to the science of flying, including an examination of birds.
There is a child's exploration area that includes a place where they can actually touch real aircraft.
There is a model of an airport control tower that includes live voice feeds from radio traffic from the Boeing field tower and aircraft taking off and landing. While there isn't a huge amount of air traffic here, there is some, and you can see the planes take off (video taken from museum tower display) and land from this tower display.
As of this writing, the most recent addition to the exhibition halls is an entire Amelia Earhart exhibit.
Across the street (you can cross at the traffic light, but it is highly recommended to use the overhead walkway that is part of the museum so you don't need to cross this busy road) you can visit several airplanes up close, including an older model of Air Force One and a British Airways Concorde (see (see photo 1 of my Museum of Flight Companion Photos)).
As of this writing, there are two flight simulators inside the largest of the exhibition halls in the museum. These are not included in the museum price, and are fairly expensive.
So, there is a lot to see here, and you will probably spend a good part of a day here, especially if you want to read all of the exhibit signs and really learn what is being shown here. You may want to come with a fully charged cell-phone battery, as the museum features a number of audo presentations that go with the museum displays. You will find numbers written on the displays (see photo 8 of my Museum of Flight Companion Photos) that are the number you need to get more information about the item or display from the cell phone audo tour.
You will find special events also happen here, such as the current visit of a restored B-17 with ground tours.
Hours: Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Otherwise open 10 to 5, except on 1st Thursdays, when it is open until 8 (and free after 5). The air park on the other side of the street, where the airplanes are on tour, is only open until 4, and closes in the event of inclement weather. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for youth, with several price discounts offered to groups, AAA membership, and other situations. This admission price includes admission to both large exhibit halls plus the display aircraft at "The Airpark" across the street.
There are the five photos that are part of the tip, but as a VT tip can only have 5 photos I have also put 8 photos into a Travelogue of Additional Photos.
Photo 1: The Red Barn: Boeing's first airplane plant, and a landmark along Marginal Way since most of the rest of the buildings that are part of the museum and Boeing plant are white or grey. The parking lot is on the south side of the big exhibition hall behind and to the south of this building.
Photo 2: Historic aircraft of various types that hang from the ceiling in the largest of the exhibition halls in the museum.
Photo 3: Historic war aircraft inside the exhibition hall on the north side of the museum.
Photo 4: "The Airpark" located on the opposide side of Marginal Way from the museum, and included with the admission price. You will find a British Airways Concorde and an Air Force One plane on display here.
Photo 5: Pieces of the space display.
The following photos are from my Travelogue of Additional Photos. Photo 6 is the first photo of the travelogue, etc.
Photo 6: Exterior of the British Airways Concorde. This is one of the first pieces of the museum that you come to if you are coming to the museum from the north. The musuem parking lot is on the south side of the museum, and on the opposite side of the road from this aircraft (though the aircraft is not rooted to one spot, and it is possible for them to still move it).
Photo 7: Inside the British Airways Concorde.
Photo 8: Inside the Air Force One.
Photo 9: Monument to Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson between the Red Barn and the pedestrian walkway
Photo 10: This is the pedestrian walkway that is one of the good landmarks that lets you know you are getting close to the museum. The main museum parking lot is south of this walkway, while the bus stops serving the museum are almost directly under it.
Photo 11: One of the flight simulators in the msuem.
Photo 12: one of the other flight simulators in the museum
Photo 13: Example of a cell phone tour label on one of the displays in the museum.
Unfortunately gfs and me didn't make it to this great Museum Of Flight as there was not that much time left. I yet like to quote from SteveOSF's helpful tips : The Museum of Flight is an outstanding aviation museum. It chronicles the history of flight from its origins to present day. Aircraft from the past 100 plus years are on display and well represent the record of flight. Please take a look at his great Seattle page.
Located near Boeing Field, the museum has a world class collection of aircraft. There is a section devoted to Boeing's history in manufacturing aircraft. There is a display room with aircraft ranging from the DC-3 to a Lockheed Blackbird. A new wing has aircraft of war from the First and Second World Wars. Across the street is the Concorde, Kennedy's Air Force One, and a set of Boeing aircraft. Docents roam the floors to answer questions. There is a small cafe where hot lunches are available.
I highly recommend that you visit the Museum of Flight. There are planes on display outside the museum including the Air Force One. While waiting for your tour inside the plane, you can watch the video on the history of the Air Force One - the President of the United States official plane. There are shows at the theater- student volunteers perform skit for the tourist to watch. There are rooms with audio and some cockpit simulators where you can try piloting a fighter plane!
The entrance fee is usually $16 per person. However, it is free on the first Thursday of the month.
If not for the invention of planes, we wouldn't be writing for virtualtourist.com! Now, we can fly all over the world and see the beauty of nature, wonders of man's creation and experience the cultures of the world!
Hop into your car or into the bus and get into the Museum of Flight! There are so many planes on display inside and out the museum - from the first flight of men to the plane that is as fast as the speed of sound!
Check the bomber planes, the passenger planes, the Airforce One (President of the U.S. official plane), the Concorde One, the British Airways plane, the bi-planes, the Blue Angels plane, etc.
How about maneuvering a spaceship? At the Museum of Flight, there is a station where you can actually have a virtual experience of piloting a space ship! There are three stations to choose from: two seats for pilots and one - standing up as a pilot. The sides of the seats are like the control of the space ship. A huge screen in front shows how you are doing as a pilot and it shows the earth and the space. It is a great learning experience how astronauts control the spaceships vis-a-vis the amount of fuel the space ship has- you need to land the spaceship before it runs out of fuel otherwise, you crash!
Entry to the Airpark is included with admission to the Museum of Flight. The Airpark is located across the street from the main museum entrance. The visitors to the museum should be sure to check out the Airpark, as it contains a couple of gems.
The Airpark includes the actual Air Force One from the era of President John F. Kennedy. Air Force One that is on display is a Boeing VC-137B. Museum visitors can walk through the airplane. You can see the inside of the actual aircraft that Present Kennedy used.
Another aircraft on display is a supersonic Concorde. Visitors can also walk through the Concorde. What I found surprising was the spartan interior and lack of amenities that one would expect on luxury transportation.
Also on static display at the airpark are additional Boeing airliners. These include a 727, a 737, and a 747. These other aircraft are currently not allowed to be boarded by visitors. However, they provide an excellent backdrop for Air Force One and the Concorde for judging size and scale of those historic aircraft.
The Museum of Flight is an outstanding aviation museum. It chronicles the history of flight from its origins to present day. Aircraft from the past 100 plus years are on display and well represent the record of flight. Most of the aircraft are original historic airplanes, while a few reproductions are exhibited to fill some gaps where authentic models are extremely rare or simply not available, such as the Wright 1903 Flier. The original Wright Flier is located in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
The museum’s collection is vast. Plan on spending several hours if you want experience the museum in full. Also wear some good walking shoes.
The Museum of Flight is segmented into various themes. The Great Gallery holds aircraft from virtually every era of flight. Other segments are more specialized such as Personal Courage Wings that hold aircraft from World War One and Two. Here are the various segments of the museum:
--Dream of Flight
--Bill and Moya Lear Gallery (Space)
--William E. Boeing Red Barn
--Personal Courage Wing – World War II Gallery
--Personal Courage Wing – World War I Gallery
To entertain both little and full grown kids, the museum has two flight simulators. One will shake you around a bit while the other is more static. Naturally a gift shop is available. They have a cafeteria where we enjoyed a decent lunch.
I will describe some of the various galleries in the following tips.
After entering the Museum of Flight, you will encounter the Keith W. McCaw Dream of Flight Lobby. Hanging overhead, as if floating above you, are several early gliders. Some have the appearance of giant birds rather than mad made vehicles. The Dream of Flight is a wonderful introduction to the museum and is well position near the entrance of the Great Gallery where the entire history of powered flight is described.
The centerpiece of the Museum of Flight is the Great Gallery. The Great Gallery features over 40 aircraft that detail the first 100 years of powered flight. The tall glass lined gallery is well lit. Many of the airplanes are suspended overhead as if in flight. Others are on the ground level allowing closer inspection. The manner in which the exhibits are displayed is impressive.
The history of aviation is well represented by this vast collection of both civilian and military aircraft. A replica of the Wright 1903 Flier greets visitors to the gallery. Far too many aircraft are present to describe in one tip. The gallery does exhibit some historically important airplanes, such as the Douglas DC-3. In addition, some extremely rare aircraft can be found in the gallery.
The evolution of aircraft can be witnessed by visiting the Great Gallery. The 1926 Ryan M-1 has many similarities to another aircraft built by the Ryan Company, namely The Spirit of St. Louis that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic.
Some unique aircraft are among the exhibits. This includes the 1968 Aerocar III. The Aerocar III was virtually a flying car. This car could be transformed from a drivable car into a flyable airplane in about 15 minutes.
Former adversaries are now side-by-side on display. This includes the Mig 15 and the Saber of the Korean War. The first jets to duel it out in aerial dogfights. Also on hand are the F-4 Phantom and Mig 21 who fought to the death over the skies of Vietnam.
An impressive display includes the Blackbird. This Cold War Era spy plane flew high over observation targets and holds the record for the fastest plane ever flown. The Blackbird takes its place of distinction in the center of the gallery.
An interesting component of the Museum of Flight is the Bill and Moya Lear Gallery. The Bill and Moya Lear Gallery is a side gallery off of the Great Galley that focusing on the exploration of outer space. The history of space flight is described through a series of exhibits. Information presented includes details about early rocket pioneers, Sputnik, the race to the moon, the Space Shuttle, space stations, and Mars exploration.
The Museum of Flight contains the William E. Boeing Red Barn. The Red Barn is Boeings Corporation’s original manufacturing plant. This is the actual building that housed Boeing during its early development. Some important innovations in aeronautical engineering took place within the Red Bard.
Many artifacts are on display within the barn. The barn also has detailed displays on the design and manufacturing of aircraft as well as the history of Boeing. Displays show some of the early aircraft assembly techniques. A rather detailed exhibit describes the design and development of the B-17 Flying Fortress.
The Red Barn was built in 1909. It was donated to The Museum of Flight by the Port of Seattle in 1975. It was moved from its original location to the Museum of Flight where it stands today. The Red Barn held the first wing of the museum when it opened in 1983.
The Museum of Flight contains a two level Personal Courage Wing. The bottom level is the World War II Gallery. The gallery is far darker than the Great Gallery within the museum. Scenes are set up around the perimeter that add some additional history and flavor to the exhibit.
Fighters from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and Japan are on display. Some are suspended as if in flight. Others are parked on the floor level. An outstanding collection of fighters fills the gallery.
A rare Japanese “Oscar” fighter is among the collection. A sleek P-38 Lighting is also present. The famous P-51 mustang takes is place among these historic fighters. Anyone interested in seeing P51s in flight show should visit the National Air Races in Reno Nevada.
Here is a list of the fighters on display:
--Messerschmitt BF 109E-3
--Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
--Curtiss P-40N Warhawk
--Nakajima Ki-43-Iib Hayabusa (Oscar)
--Lockheed P38L Lightning
--General Motors FM-2 Wildcat
--Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
--Republic P47D Thunderbolt
--North American P-51 Mustang
On the second level of the Museum of Flight’s Personal Courage Wing is the World War I Gallery. Like the lower level of the Museum’s Personal Courage Wing, the museum has a black background. Scenes and displays surround the exhibit that enhances the feel while providing historical information. The main attraction of the gallery is 18 World War I airplanes.
Some of the airplanes are original aircraft built during the First World War. Others are full size reproductions. Airplanes from both sizes of the conflict are represented. Consistent with the theme of the Museum of Flight, some are on the floor while others are suspended above.
Triplanes, biplanes, and monoplanes are on display. Some of these planes are fairly sophisticated, given the fact that they were designed not too many years after the Wright Bothers first flight. It is rare to see so many of these historic aircraft assembled in a single location.
Among the exhibits is a Sopwith Camel. This was an extremely difficult airplane to fly, yet it was extremely effective with a good plot at the controls. Other Sopwith aircraft represented at the museum are the Sopwith Pup, Snipe, and Triplane.
The museum holds an elegant Albatros. A Fokker D. VIII is displayed banked against a wall of the museum. A Fokker Dr.1 Triplane is suspended in perpetual flight within the gallery.
As you enter the gallery, you are greeted with a Caproni Ca 20. The museum’s plane is authentic (and not a reproduction). This 1914 monoplane has a forward facing machine gun mounted above its propeller. This innovative airplane is considered to be the world’s fight fighter aircraft. Although this was an exceptional airplane, the Italian military wanted the Caproni Company to produce bombers instead. The Ca 20 on display is the only one ever made. The museum’s airplane was stored in Italy by the Caproni family for over 85 years before the Museum of Flight acquired it.
At least six historic aircraft can be found at the exterior of the Museum of Flight. You can have a look at the planes outside of the southern end of the museum for free. The planes on the southern end include a Fiat G.91 Pan, a Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and a Grumman A-6 Intruder.
The F-14 Tomcat was an excellent fighter used by the U.S. Navy, but was eventually replaced by the F-18 Super Hornet. The F-14 was in service from 1974 to 2006.
This aircraft was prominently featured in the 1986 movie “Top Gun” staring Tom Cruise.
The A-6 Intruder was a durable U.S. Navy aircraft carrier based ground attack airplane. If was in service from 1963 to 1997. Although a specialized electronic warfare derivative of this plane remains in service. This airplane appeared in the 1991 film, “Flight of the Intruder” staring Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe.