Seattle, Washington is the home of one of the oldest aircraft manufacturing companies in the world: Boeing. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Seattle is also home to one of the largest private, not-for-profit air and space museums in the world: The Museum of Flight. The history of aviation is covered from the days of the Wright brothers through modern space exploration.
A replica of the Wright brothers’ 1903 airplane is shown above.
“A Plane in Every Garage”
Shown above is a 1968 Taylor Aerocar III. Following World War II, many people envisioned a boom in private aviation and some foresaw a day in which there would be airplanes in the garages of America’s expanding suburbs. The prototype for the Taylor Aerocar was developed in 1949 but was not certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration until 1956. While Taylor came close to having his car mass produced, the deals which would have enabled that fell through.
Moulton “Molt” B. Taylor was born in Portland, Oregon, grew up in Longview, Washington, and graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in aeronautical engineering and business. During World War II he was a Navy pilot and following the war he formed his own aircraft business.
The government has had an interest in making airplanes quieter. The YO-3A has a special propeller which operates the aircraft at a slower speed in reduces the planes noise from 90 decibels (about the noise of a lawnmower) to 60 decibels (about the same as normal conversation).
Shown above is the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, also known as the Huey. This aircraft is best known for its extensive work in Viet Nam. Beginning in 1962, the Hueys served in medical evacuation, transport, aerial assault, and general utility. Over 7,000 Hueys saw service in Viet Nam during the war.
While helicopters saw limited service for medical evacuation in World War II, this capacity fully matured during the Viet Nam War. According to the museum’s display:
“The helicopter’s unique ability to land on, or hover over rough ground made it a vital link between battlefield and the support hospitals. Use of helicopters, combined with improvements in medical treatment, improved the survival rate of soldiers wounded in action from 71 percent in World War II to 81 percent in Viet Nam. From 1962 through 1973, air ambulances transported between 850,000 and 900,000 people.”
The Huey on display at The Museum of Flight is a troop carrier known as a “slick” which saw action in the 1971 Operation Lam Son 719. This 45-day operation was one of the bloodiest of the war.
The Red Barn:
The Red Barn was a part of the original Boeing factory and displays here show how the early aircraft were constructed.
Shown above are some Marine Boeing F4B-3 fighters.
Shown above is William Boeing. According to the display:
“William Boeing was a wealthy Seattle timberman when he saw his first airplane at the 1910 Los Angele International Air Meet. Five years later, after a bumpy ride in a rickety Curtiss pusher on Lake Union, his interest in aviation was ignited. He founded the Boeing Airplane Company in 1917, building his first order of 50 Model C training planes before the end of WWI.”Space Gallery:
This gallery is the home of the NASA space shuttle trainer.
Shown above is a Russian Soyuz space capsule.