Take Flight at The Museum of Flight in Tukwila, WA

Museum of FlightWhile we were in Seattle earlier this year checking out the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, my husband toured the Museum of Flight in  Tukwila, Washington. Here are his memories from his visit. The Museum of Flight in Tukwila, Washington is one of the largest aviation museums in the world. It is located next to Boeing Field and one of Boeing’s manufacturing plants, so many classic Boeing aircraft are of course represented, but the collection contains may others.

 When you first arrive at the Museum of Flight, your attention is drawn to the display aircraft outside the museum buildings. Most interesting of these is a Boeing VC-137B known as SAM(Special Air Mission-970).  Sam 970 is the first jet built to transport the President of the United States, and is a specially built version of a 707 airliner.  Most people would call it Air Force One, but it or any other air force aircraft is given that designation only when the President is on board.

Once inside, in the south wing of the east campus, is the glass roofed Great Hall. This is where dozens of historic aircraft are displayed, both on the floor and hanging from the ceiling. Dominating the floor area is a Lockheed M-21.  It is a variant of the Lockheed A-12 Oxcart, predecessor to the legendary SR-71 Blackbird, modified to carry a D-21 reconnaissance drone.  Only two were produced. The other was lost in a testing accident, so this is the only one in the world.  Other notable displays are the North American F-86 Saber next to a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, two Korean War adversaries, as well as a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom next to a MiG-21, two Vietnam War adversaries.

In the center of the west campus, is the building that William Boeing set up his first aircraft factory.  Originally located in a shipyard on the Duwamish river, the Red Barn, as it came to be known, was where Boeing built seaplanes for the U.S. Navy during the First World War.  As the Boeing Company expanded and built other plants, the site fell into disrepair in the 1960s. In 1975, the building was barged and trucked to its present location and restored.  Today, it is restored to look as it did during the early years of the company.


In the north wing of the east campus, there is a display of many fighter aircraft of World War II, with the U.S. well represented, as well as aircraft from several other countries involved in the war.  Upstairs, there is a World War I display with several aircraft from that era.

Across the glass pedestrian bridge over E. Marginal Way, is the east campus.  First stop after the bridge is the Space Gallery.  It has displays chronicling the history of space flight.  Dominating the gallery is a full scale mock-up of the space shuttle, used to train astronauts on shuttle missions.  

Next to the space gallery is the covered open-air aviation gallery, displaying historic larger aircraft, including Boeing’s WWII era B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Super-fortress,  a Concorde SST,  and various jet airliners that Boeing is best known for today.   Visit their website for more information prices, hours, etc,

He had a great time touring the Museum of Flight and took a lot of pictures. Too many pictures to actually put on this page, so I created the short video above. Hope you enjoy his post and pictures. Looks like he had a great time during his visit.

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