Aviation Museums

Up, up and away at these museums of flight. 

planes at Museum of Flight in Seattle, image

Ogle the lineup of classic planes at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

You may have marveled at the Spruce Goose and ogled the 130 other aircraft at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore. ($4 AAA discount, 503-434-4185, evergreenmuseum.org). But why stop there? It’s just one of several aviation hot spots in the West.

The sprawling Museum of Flight in Seattle showcases the restored Red Barn, the Boeing Company’s original factory, lending local flavor to a collection of more than 160 flying machines, among them a replica World War I Sopwith Camel and a Blackbird cold war spy plane. Walk through a British Airways Concorde and the first jet to serve as Air Force One, the “flying Oval Office” of four U.S. presidents. $1 to $2 admission discount for AAA members. (206) 764-5700, museumofflight.org.

The Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Mont., celebrates the first 75 years of aviation in the northern Rockies. Housed in a massive hangar at the city’s airport, the collection includes hundreds of vehicles and artifacts, among them a 1929 Travel Air 6000, a TBM torpedo bomber converted to fight fires, and the DC-3 that delivered smoke jumpers to their death at the Mann Gulch wildfire in 1949. Visit before the seasonal closure starts in mid-September. (406) 721-3644, museummountainflying.org.

Displays of classic cars and vintage aircraft fill three vast hangars at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Ore. Most of the 103 planes are kept in ready-to-fly condition, including a World War I Curtiss Jenny military trainer. $1 discount for AAA members. (541) 308-1600, waaamuseum.org.

Watch jets take shape on the assembly line during the 90-minute Boeing factory tour in Mukilteo, Wash. The tour kicks off from the Future of Flight Aviation Center, where you can wonder at superlight modern materials, digitally design a plane, and watch test flights take off and land at Paine Field, Snohomish County’s historic airport. $1 to $2 AAA discount. (425) 438-8100, futureofflight.org.

Photography by Ted Huetter

This article was first published in July 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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