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The Museum of Flight

Seattle Attractions--Museums

 

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Goodyear F2G Fighter in the Great Gallery

 

 

PAGE INDEX
  Introduction
  Charles Simonyi Space Gallery
  The Airpark
  The Personal Courage Wing
  The Great Gallery
  Museum Store, Cafe, Photography
  Map
  Public Transportation
  Hours
  Phone Number
  Admission
  Museum Web Site
  Photo Gallery
  Summary

 

Boeing Field south of downtown Seattle (click to see MAP)

 

INTRODUCTION

This is one of Seattle's great attractions and rightly so.  This museum is an impressive display of aviation history from the Wright brothers Flyer to our most advanced spacecraft.  It has a lovely campus, graceful architecture, and well-designed displays to interest and educate its guests.  Over 400,000 guests including 120,000 students visit  the museum annually.

What does it offer?  The Museum of Flight ("MOF") takes the visitor through a history of aviation and space travel.  The MOF features over 150 planes and other aircraft.

History can be either dry or exciting.  At the MOF, you see history presented at its best.  The two main galleries and the Airpark are loaded with beautiful presentations of the finest examples of aircraft in aviation history. 

The MOF was designed to present examples of important aircraft in impressive displays but it was also designed to educate the museum visitor.  The efforts of many years by countless employees and volunteers help make a visit to this great museum special.

Some museums get swamped when they try to absorb large crowds.  The MOF is designed to accommodate large crowds. It offers ample free parking. The museum has very helpful staff and they are customer centric. 

One tip for visiting the MOF (this applies to almost all museums) is to arrive at opening time.  You will enjoy a while to savor the place before the late morning throngs arrive.  I think the first time visitor should start at the Great Gallery and do activities like sitting in the Blackbird cockpit and using the simulators before any line builds up.

 

SPECIFIC GALLERIES AND DISPLAYS

THE CHARLES SIMONYI SPACE GALLERY

The Space Shuttle Trainer

Space Shuttle Trainer

This 2012 addition to the Museum of Flight is a blockbuster permanent exhibit.  You can see and walk in the actual trainer that was used for 30 years to prepare all of the astronauts to fly into space on the Space Shuttle.  The Space Shuttle Trainer is one of Seattle's major attractions by itself.

The Space Gallery also features a half size replica of the Hubble Space Telescope and the beautiful Boeing Interial Upper Stage.

Please click here to see our full feature article about the Space Shuttle Trainer

 

THE AIRPARK

 

Several planes are displayed in this open air museum including the first flightworthy Boeing 747.  My personal favorites are the Concorde and Air Force One. 

 

 The Concorde

 

 

The Concorde

British Airways donated this example of the world's fastest passenger aircraft.  It is thrilling to walk around and inside of this gorgeous machine.  The Concorde had to be carefully designed to achieve Mach 2 (over 1,300 mph) while cruising at 60,000 feet (11 miles high).  The Concorde went from New York to Paris in 3.5 hours compared to the normal jetliner flying time of 8 hours.  This plane looks like it is moving when it is sitting still.

Air Force One

Museum of Flight Air Force One

 

This Boeing 707 was the first jet used by the President of the United States.  As you walk through the interior, you can feel the power wielded by the government officials that traveled on this jet.  This plane was used by Kennedy, Johnson,  and Nixon.  This was the plane that took Nixon and Kissinger to China on their historic trip to visit Beijing. 

 

THE J. ELROY MCCAW PERSONAL COURAGE WING

 

Museum of Flight Personal Courage Wing

 

The Personal Courage Wing is a bold statement in this great museum.   This Wing is dedicated to presenting the aircraft used in World Wars 1 and 2.  The exhibits feature some of the most important fighter planes from these massive conflicts.  The MOF has done a spectacular job of displaying history with an emphasis on excitement and of conservation.  Because of the fragile nature of many of the fabrics and materials on exhibit, both levels of the Personal Courage Wing are displayed in low light but with floodlights to adequately present the aircraft, uniforms, aircraft models, and other items.   

I was deeply moved as I walked around the World War 2 gallery.  Seeing the ten beautiful engines of war close up really made me appreciate their power and grace.  Airplanes were one of the most powerful weapons of World War 2.  The fastest and most maneuverable fighter planes were the ones that survived. 

 

The P-51D Mustang

 

 

P51D Mustang at the Museum of Flight

 

 

For me, the most impressive plane in the Personal Courage Wing is the handsome P-51D Mustang.  This plane is one of the icons of World War 2 fighter aircraft.  The amazing fact about this plane was that it was designed and built in 120 days to meet the specifications presented by the Royal Air Force.   It is one of the most beautiful airplanes that has ever been built. You could display this plane in an art museum and it would certainly qualify as a work of art.

 

THE T. A. WILSON GREAT GALLERY

 

The Great Gallery in the Museum of Flight

 

Wow!! Those three letters can summarize this magnificent museum hall built of glass and steel and filled with aircraft from the history of aviation.  Numerous aircraft from the Wright brothers Flyer to the fastest airplane in the world are on display.  My favorite aircraft in the Gallery is the SR-71 Blackbird.

 

The SR-71 Blackbird

 

 

SR71 Blackbird

 

This is the fastest airplane ever flown.  It could reach speeds of Mach 3 (2,200 mph) and cruise at 85,000 feet (16 miles or 27 km).  Introduced to the US Air Force fleet as a long-range reconnaissance plane in 1966, it was retired in 1998.  Since 1976, it has held the speed record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft.  This sleek, titanium plane was built in secrecy at Lockheed's famous Skunk Works.  It was the first plane designed as a stealth plane. 

I think the SR-71 is the rock star of the MOF.  It is a magnificent machine that was designed to perform a specific mission and do it exceptionally well.  A highlight of the Great Gallery is an actual cockpit that was restored from a wrecked Blackbird.  Visitors can sit in the cockpit of the world's fastest airplane. It is one great place to take photos.

Please click here to see our full feature article about the SR-71 Blackbird.

 

 

MUSEUM STORE

 

The MOF has a large, high-quality museum store.

 

WINGS CAFE

 

The Cafe serves hot entrees, soups, salads, and sandwiches.  It is open during museum hours.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Photography is allowed in most of the museum.  You cannot use flash in certain areas such as the Personal Courage Wing but you really don't need it in the Great Gallery.  The MOF is a fabulous destination for photographers.

 

 

 

MAP

 


View Museum of Flight in a larger map

 

Boeing Field south of downtown Seattle

9404 East Marginal Way South

Seattle, WA 98108

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

From downtown Seattle, you can ride King County bus number 124 to get to the Museum.  The bus stop is in front of the Museum.

Please click here to get the bus' timetable and route map.

 

 

HOURS

The MOF is open daily (except for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The MOF is free on the first Thursday of the month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

PHONE NUMBER

(206) 764-5720

 

 

ADMISSION

Please click here to go to the Museum's web site page about visiting the museum to see current admission prices.

 

City PASS

 

MUSEUM WEB SITE

 

Please click here to go to the Museum of Flight Web Site.

 

PHOTO GALLERY INDEX

We also have a photo gallery with four pages about the Museum of Flight. Click on the page number below to go to the photo gallery pages.

  Page One
  Page Two
  Page Three
  Page Four

 

 

 

SUMMARY

The MOF is a fascinating place.  You can easily spend three to four hours in this place and still find a lot more to see and do.  It is designed to be interesting and entertaining for visitors of all ages and it definitely fills this mission in grand fashion. This is one of the great museums in the United States. 

What I really like about the MOF is that it is large but you can digest it a little bit at a time.  Unlike some giant museums like the National Air and Space Museum that are daunting or impossible to tackle in one visit, you can see most of this museum in a few hours.  If you break up your visit with a coffee break and maybe lunch,  you can spend a few hours at the museum and have a great time seeing most of its offerings.

I rank this as one of Seattle's best attractions and put it on the short list of must see attractions. As a final note about the MOF, they have been awarded one of the Space Shuttle simulators and that will be a significant addition to the museum's holdings of historic aviation artifacts.

 

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