Sunday, July 27, 2014

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Our moochdocking host asked if we wanted to visit the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. I was going to turn him down since I think the museum is over priced with a $25 entrance fee and I'd visited a number of years ago. Turns out, he's a supporter and has free entrance for his guests through the end of the month, so we headed off to McMinnville to visit the museum.

Because Evergreen's business roots were with helicopters, the museum once had a robust collection of helicopters. I only spotted two on this visit, but they do have the most important one (to me) still displayed. My early aviation career centered around the Hiller UH12 series so it was nice to see a survivor, even if it was decked out in spray gear.

The centerpiece of the museum is the Hughes H-4 "Spruce Goose" which towers over all the other exhibits.

It was impossible to get a complete picture of it from any angle.

They've created a glass walled viewing room in the fuselage. It was challenging to try to get photos without reflections. Because the laminated wood structure is painted, it's impossible to tell at a glance that the aircraft is constructed of birch, not spruce.

Eight Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major "corncob" engines powered the aircraft. Each engine weighs nearly two ton plus the weight of the propeller.

Given the massive size, it's easier to concentrate on assorted details. It's not every aircraft that sports bollards built in.

I couldn't determine if the angles on the face of the beams were made of aluminum or painted, laminated wood.

I decided I liked this offshoot of the Spruce Goose project better than the aircraft. Turns out there are a handful of these 7' dinghies that have survived as collector items. The boat is constructed with the same laminated birch materials and techniques as the used on the aircraft.

There is an eclectic collection of other aircraft including a number of well built replicas such as this Curtis Jenny

and this Messerschmidt Me-262.

I enjoyed the visit, but would have likely enjoyed it more if I hadn't visited previously. The collection has shrunk since my last visit, perhaps a reflection of some uncertainty given the bankruptcy and break-up of the component businesses of Evergreen International Airlines. If you're a serious aviation buff, I wouldn't put off a visit.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting, but I like the dinghy better, too!

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  2. Awesome !! Need to get out there someday !!

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    Replies
    1. It's a fun place for anyone with aviation (or engineering) interests.

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