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Aviation Museums in the USA - Help from you knowledgeable people please

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Aviation Museums in the USA - Help from you knowledgeable people please

Old 10th Jul 2015, 08:35
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Aviation Museums in the USA - Help from you knowledgeable people please

Mrs Bull and I are planning a trip to the USA. I would like to visit a few of the best aviation museums while I am there, but I would appreciate some input from you very clever people (that's if you don't mind helping of course) as to where I should go and, if you have the time, why I should go there.

It is not, however, just a matter of which museums are the best, because Mrs Bull, while a very patient woman, does not share my enthusiasm for aviation museums. I therefore need to choose museums in locations where there are things to do which are unrelated to aviation.

So the Smithsonian in Washington, and the Intrepid in New York seem obvious choices, but there must be many others. Is Boeing in Seattle worth visiting for example?

I like "hands on" experiences and don't mind paying for them. (I know that came out wrongly - I mean things like flight simulators). But I am happy just looking, and I am interested in space travel too. In case it's relevant, I am old enough to remember when Air New Zealand was called Teal and when airliners carried engineers and navigators (I'm in my late 50's).

Over to you - all suggestions gratefully received.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 08:44
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Seattle is certainly well worth a visit, several years since I was there but a fantastic place to spend a day.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 08:51
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Boeing in Seattle is well worth a visit, but as an aviator who grew up on Boeings for me it is more of a pilgrimage!
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 08:57
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One that I enjoy is the Owls Head Transport Museum in Maine. Owls Head Transportation Museum | Owls Head Transportation Museum It's in an area of great natural beauty, coastal Maine, not far from Rockland, Maine. It's more cars than planes, but they have some interesting aircraft so that it's well worth a visit.

If your wife is an art lover, Rockland features the Farnsworth Art Museum, and nearby is the Olson House, now kept as a sort of museum, that features in several of Andrew Wyeth's famous works, particularly "Christina's World" and "The Wind from the Sea." It's a must for admirers of Wyeth.

It's always a problem that one wishes to wander around looking at aircraft and cars and such, when even the most patient wife usually goes a bit impatient after 30 minutes or so. The Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport is a problem that way, because there's nothing else around but that huge, fascinating collection of aircraft. The main Smithsonian, downtown, has something for everybody, on the other hand. You can stay in the Air and Space while the wife just walks across the Mall to look at art or ladies' dresses or whatever.

If you happen to be passing through, Connecticut has an interesting aviation museum near Hartford, at Windsor Locks. It's not worth a trip, but it's worth a short detour.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 09:32
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San Francisco - Hiller Aviation Museum at San Carlos is very interesting and not large so a quick visit can be on the cards. Also, if you remember TEAL, there is a small museum adjacent to Oakland Airport which boasts a Short Solent with Antipodean connections.

San Diego has a fantastic aviation museum at Balboa Park. Lovely city.

I have found a day at Chino is a day very well spent indeed, but your wife might not agree!

Upstate New York? Old Rhinebeck - a display if you can - and don't forget the Quonset hangars across the road!

If you happen to be passing through, Connecticut has an interesting aviation museum near Hartford, at Windsor Locks. It's not worth a trip, but it's worth a short detour.
Good recommendation.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 09:47
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San Diego has a fantastic aviation museum at Balboa Park. Lovely city.


I fully agree and recommend that one. There are so many acivities/buildins/gardens/zoo in Balboa Park to enjoy as well!!
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 10:32
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BHaven't been, but I've heard good things.

The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world in 161,145 square feet (14,970.9 m2) of exhibition floor space.[2] It was established in 1946, as the National Air Museum and opened its main building near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2014, the museum saw approximately 6.7 million visitors, making it the 5th most visited museum in the world.[1]
Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.[2] Almost all space and aircraft on display are originals or backups to the originals.



Boeing do guided, scheduled tours and if you haven't seen a major aircraft production facility, well worth the time. Nice gift shop.


And there's Oshkosh. 20 - 26 July.


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Old 10th Jul 2015, 13:28
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Udvar-Hazy near Dulles. Much less crowded than the Air+Space in downtown DC. There is a Space Shuttle there to satisfy your space curiosity.

Air Force Museum, Wright-Patt AFB, Dayton Ohio.

The Delta Museum in ATL has an actual 737 simulator ($400) that I'm dying to try.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 13:35
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Air Force Museum, Wright-Patt AFB, Dayton Ohio.
Very good museum. But there's not much else (if anything?) worth seeing in Dayton except for a good Mexican restaurant and Hooters.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 14:14
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Pima in Tucson is excellent, if you want to see FiFi, the only flying B29 in the world then the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addsion (think Dallas). Just check that she'll be there as sometimes they have her out on tour. They have a bunch of other warbirds.
The Commemorative Air Force in Midland, Texas, but check their website as they have planes all over the place.
I can vouch for the Hiller Museum in San Carlos (more focused on helicopters though) and Balboa Park in San Diego as well. They will keep the wife happy. Chino is worth a visit if you are in the San Diego/LA area.

If you feel like opening your wallet you can arrange for flights in P51's, B17's etc........
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 14:53
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Originally Posted by HookEcho View Post
Udvar-Hazy near Dulles. Much less crowded than the Air+Space in downtown DC. There is a Space Shuttle there to satisfy your space curiosity.
Recently went here, it's a superb aviation museum. Been to the Smithsonian as well, also excellent but I'd be hard pressed to choose between the two.

If you are going to be in DC anyway seeing other stuff, then sure go to the Smithsonian. If you fly in to Dulles, I'd suggest that Udvar Hazy may offer you all that you want or need.
And ... Space Shuttle.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 15:28
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Pima in Tucson, and while you're there, don't miss the Titan missile museum just out of town as well.


The museum at Hartford is on the airport. Has some great Sikorsky stuff and world war one items, and an engine collection on it's own that is worth seeing.


San Diego as mentioned above, and while there, the USS Midway is a don't miss.


Flying leathernecks, small museum of Marine Aviation on the base at Miramar worth a look too
Chino, both museums.
March Air Force base has a smaller museum, still worth a look.


Castle Air Museum if you are in Northern Cali.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 15:39
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Another vote for Pima.

Also, if heading up to the Northwest, the Evergreen museum in McMinnville, OR is well worth it - it has the Spruce Goose!
Mrs B can amuse herself at the beach (which is what my GF did) or in Portland whilst you ogle the aviation.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 15:55
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If you make Seattle head south and visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinneville, Oregon, just south of Portland. Fantastic range of aircraft including the Spruce Goose and a Blackbird.

.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 17:14
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I visited the Air and Space Museum. Was rather surprised to find that it was filled with all kinds of stuff.


hat, coat, exit
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 17:32
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Another vote for Pima and AAMARC in Tucson.

Also Commemorative Air Force in Mesa AZ.

Also 8th Air Force Museum in Savannah GA.

Also Peterson Air and Space, Colorado Springs -- you have to request 24 hours in advance.

There are also a couple of smaller museums at Paine Field, north of Seattle, if you go there for the Museum of Flight.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 19:55
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We had several hours to fill at Anchorage when our original flight was cancelled so went over to the Alaska Aviation Museum at Hood Lake. Lots of interesting exhibits from the pioneering days of Alaskan aviation with the added bonus of a busy seaplane airport just outside.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 20:00
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Another vote for Pima and Titan Missile Silo (Star Trek Movie partially filmed there)
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 20:31
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Living in San Diego I'm a bit biased but I add my vote for San Diego.

I fully understand the issue with the missus not sharing your love of aviation. I don't share her affinity for shopping malls so I guess we're even. Balboa park is the crown jewel (IMO) of San Diego. Besides the aviation museum, balboa park has many other museums in the park, all a short walk. The San Diego zoo is also at Balboa Park.

The plus side is there's a number of lesser known museums and aviation hot spots within a couple hour drive. March ARB has a really neat museum, Chino airport is a must see as well.

http://www.balboapark.org/in-the-park/museums

Last edited by West Coast; 10th Jul 2015 at 20:55.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 21:28
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Another vote for Pima here, was there three years ago, it was worth the trip.
Wear a hat. Sure, it's a dry heat, but it can get hot.
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