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Military Aircraft Museum to Close Down and Sell Its Aircraft

Few things give me the chills like the sights and sounds of old aircraft.  Shiny new airliners are fun to see, and impressive to admire, but nothing is quite like the simplistic majesty of old aircraft.  Every time I talk with friends about winning the lottery and all the stuff we would buy, large amounts of old aircraft are right at the top of my list.

This P-51 Mustang, Impatient Virgin, is just one aircraft that will be on display at Historic Flight Foundation during the event.

This P-51 Mustang, Impatient Virgin, is just one aircraft that is on display at Historic Flight Foundation.

One lucky man is already the owner of just such a collection, though only for a little while longer.  Back in June PilotOnline.com reported that Gerald Yagen of Virginia Beach will be selling his collection of old warbirds and closing the Military Aviation Museum due to financial reasons.  As one of the largest collections of vintage aircraft in the world I can’t even imagine how much it must cost to maintain all of those planes.

In reading the comments with the article, there is apparently a lot of dispute over what has led to this unfortunate situation, but my only concern at this point is for the planes, and what will happen to them.  We have already lost too many of these amazing aircraft, and we can’t afford to lose anymore.

As much as all of us avgeeks wish we could pool our money and save these planes, the reality is that that just isn’t going to happen.  The most that we can do is hope that the right people buy these planes and maintain this history for as long as possible.

Organizations like Historic Flight Foundation and The Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field North of Seattle are amazing organizations that due fantastic work in preserving these vital pieces of our nation’s history.  The Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg, ID is another such group that has committed themselves to maintaining the beautiful history of flight.

"Grumpy", a B-25 bomber at Historic Flight Foundation will be joined by another B-25 from the Flying Heritage Collection on the other side of the runway.

“Grumpy”, a B-25 bomber at Historic Flight Foundation is one of two B-25s at Paine Field.  The other is located across the runway at the Flying Heritage Collection.

There are numerous other groups all across the country that are doing their part in keeping these beautiful aircraft in the air, but we must support them through our patronage, and if possible through financial donations.  It takes a lot of money to keep these aircraft flying, but even more important than that is the continued interest of regular people so that they know their efforts are appreciated.

So the next time you are trying to decide what to do for the weekend get online and find your closest aviation museum.  You may be surprised just how many there are.  I recently heard about a DC-3 being restored at my local airport, so look for more information on that in the coming weeks.

August 26, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Paine Field Aviation Day to Take Place May 18th; Some Free Intro Flights for Kids Available

Going to an airport at any time is an enjoyable experience for me.  I have spent countless hours just watching planes take off and land.  I am even cool with just sitting at home watching videos, looking at pictures, and even reading about planes.  In fact, just tonight instead of storytime with my son before bed, we watched videos of the F-35, F-16, and AC-130.  A much better use of time in my opinion.

This P-51 Mustang, Impatient Virgin, is just one aircraft that will be on display at Historic Flight Foundation during the event.

This P-51 Mustang, Impatient Virgin, is just one aircraft that will be on display at Historic Flight Foundation during the event.

But, when the opportunity does arise for a special event at an airport, it is important to take advantage of it.  One such event will be taking place this coming Saturday at Paine Field in Everett, WA.

The Paine Field Aviation Day will be taking place May 18th from 9am-5pm.  Paine Field is best known for being the home of the Boeing factory where they build 747, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft, but this Saturday the focus will be on the general aviation side of the house.  Here is a list of what to expect from the Paine Field Aviation Day Website:

  • All day Family Friendly Event
  • Average number of attendees 5,000 – 8,000
  • Annual Spring event has been occurring for over seventeen years in May
  • Aircraft from both the Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight Foundation fly throughout the day
  • Access to hundreds of vintage, warbirds, and new aircraft on display
  • Local Food and Beverage Vendors
  • Firefighters’ Fly Day 5k Run
  • Burn Center Charity Pancake Breakfast at the Paine Field Fire Department
  • Free Young Eagles introductory flights for kids ages 8-17 (seating limited)
  • Car collection and fire engine displays
  • Local non-profit organizations information booths
  • Access to the Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight Foundation collections
  • Free parking and shuttles
  • Seattle Seafair Pirates and Moby Duck
  • Kid Zone with bouncy houses, face painting, games and more
  • Take a flight, meet the pilots, see one-of-a kind aircraft, talk with the flight schools, enjoy some great food, and watch the thrilling flying demonstrations – all this and more!
"Grumpy", a B-25 bomber at Historic Flight Foundation will be joined by another B-25 from the Flying Heritage Collection on the other side of the runway.

“Grumpy”, a B-25 bomber at Historic Flight Foundation will be joined by another B-25 from the Flying Heritage Collection on the other side of the runway.

From what I gather this is not just a typical airshow, but is really designed to get people excited about aviation.  I don’t know if you noticed in the list of events there, but it mentioned free introductory flights for kids ages 8-17.  That is exactly the kind of opportunity that can spark a long career in aviation.

Admission is only $10 for adults, and is free for anyone under 17, which is hard to beat.  There will be all kinds of displays and booths for adults and kids.  Even if you aren’t a hardcore aviation nut like me, there will be lots of science stuff for kids, and it should just be an all around amazing event.

If you are able to go, leave a comment below and let me know how you enjoyed it.  You never know when something like this may turn into your new favorite hobby.

May 12, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Every AvGeek’s Dream: My Adventures in Everett: Part 2 Historic Flight Foundation

As I mentioned in my previous post about my adventures at Paine Field, I ended my first day with a trip to the Historic Flight Foundation.  They are located off of Kilo 7 on the field, or in the southwest corner of the airport off the Mukilteo Speedway if you are driving there.  If you don’t have the time to sit around and wait for modern planes to take-off and land then I would highly recommend you spend your time here.

According to their website:

“Historic Flight Foundation was established in 2003 as “John T. Sessions Historic Aircraft Foundation” with the intention to collect, restore, and share significant aircraft from the period between the solo Atlantic crossing of Charles Lindbergh and the first test flight of the Boeing 707. Throughout the intervening years, Historic Flight has acquired at least two aircraft annually and engaged the best restoration resources available to return the collection to original splendor.”

I must say that they are doing an amazing job of fulfilling their mission.  I was only able to take a few pictures (see below) before my phone died, but they are hands down the most impeccably maintained aircraft I have ever seen.  I had the opportunity to see Marine One up close once, and it was not as clean and shiny as these old warbirds, and they all still fly regularly which is an achievement in and of itself.

Their most popular aircraft is probably the B-25, named Grumpy.  It has all of the character that I love about these old planes.  It has a story that tells itself simply by being in its presence.  You can also climb inside and take a look around which gives the whole thing even more perspective.

I had the opportunity to climb into the navigator/bombardier’s seat, and as a current navigator it gave me a much greater appreciation of how they did the job back then.  The things that I take for granted were not even considered back then.  Yet they still had to accomplish their mission just like I do now.

What would a warbird collection be without a good old P-51 Mustang?  Their Mustang, Impatient Virgin? is simply stunning(sorry the pic is a little blurry).  One thing that also makes it unique is that the machine guns are still loaded.  Just one of the many awesome features at Historic Flight that make it special.

They also just recently acquired an old DC-3 that was actually the corporate aircraft for Johnson and Johnson.  Having climbed into a lot of private jets while working at an FBO I must say that the amenities have improved dramatically.  That being said, they once again did a stellar job restoring it, and even have a page from the original logbook when the plane flew most of the way around the world.

The plane that I was most impressed with was the Waco UPF-7.  It is the green fuselage with off-white wings in the pictures below.  Like all of the others it is stunning, but when you see the pictures they have on display of back when the entire thing was in boxes it is incredible how pristine it looks now, and once again, it still flies regularly.

They also had to re-manufacture the wings, so while they were at it they made an extra and turned into a conference room table.  The cool thing is that they could take the glass top off, wrap the frame and it would work just fine as an actual wing.

The thing that probably struck me most about my visit to Historic Flight was the people who worked there.  They are all passionate about their work.  They are well versed on the aircraft they have, and know way more than just the basic details of the model.  Each of the aircraft has a unique story, as many of these older aircraft do, and the staff all know the stories.

With all of the 787s parked all over the field there are actually three parked right outside of Historic Flight which you can see in my picture of the DC-3.  It was really interesting seeing these relatively ancient aircraft sitting next to arguably the most modern aircraft out there, yet it was grounded while these old birds still fly just fine.

Regardless of the technology involved, aircraft will never cease to amaze me.  Whether it is the rumble of an old P-51 or B-25, or the relative whisper of the 787, they all leave me in awe.  Watching them cruise down then runway and then lift off as if being on the ground was just the wrong place for them to be is something that I will never stop enjoying.

Coming up next: The Boeing Factory Tour.

April 25, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.