It’s been an exciting month. First the Aero South Africa Exhibition, then the UK visits and airshows, Ontario Canada, Oshkosh and finally the American Northwest. In between I was able to recharge my batteries in Bonneville, Alberta visiting my daughter. After a 1500km dash into the Washington and Oregon states, I am finally on my way home to complete the task of compiling the Spitfire MkIX Build Manual and Plan Set.
Washington State, and in particular Paine Field in Everett, turned out to be amazing. Not only is it home to Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, it also hosts the Historic Flight Foundation and the Seattle Museum of Flight Restoration Centre. And if you’re still looking for something to do after all that you can always go tour the gargantuan Boeing assembly facility at the same field!
These were all very worthwhile visits. The FHCAM contains a huge collection of mostly flying WWII aircraft, including a Spitfire and a Stuka Dive-bomber that is being restored.
The Historic Flight Foundation also have a Spitfire and were having a mini airshow when I visited. They had a Bearcat and Avenger up in the air. I was able to have a chat with one of the pilots after the show and introduce the HFS Spitfire simulator to him. He expressed interest and was going to pass on the flyer I gave him to the owner of the collection. So hopefully I will hear from them at some point in the future.
Tacoma in Oregon had a different sort of surprise. During WWII the USA built some 10 bases with massive wooden hangars to house their convoy escort airships. One of the two original hangars at Tacoma still exists, the other having burnt down. It contains an eclectic assortment if aircraft, the star of the show though is the hangar itself.
My final call was at the Evergreen Aviation Museum which now houses the aircraft with the longest wingspan ever built – the Spruce Goose. Ironically it is actually built of mainly White Birch, but then that doesn’t rhyme very well 🙂
The unique aircraft is immense and was certainly worth the visit.
Now back to business!