Posts Tagged With: planes


Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon is the new home of the Spruce Goose. We came to see it and we got oh, so much more. The building above houses the Goose. It’s impossible to frame a picture of this gigantic air boat.  I settled for sections of the Goose and resorting to old pictures of pictures. The building is filled with airplanes dwarfed by the Goose, all with interesting histories of their own.

From the farthest upstairs corner of the building,  I captured a portion of the fuselage with the cockpit and two engines visible on an out-of-sight wing.  The wide-angle isn’t terribly wide on my camera.

The Goose on its test run. It had to taxi at 95 mph before it could lift off.  Howard Hughes was the pilot. It lifted off and flew one mile, which was unplanned. Sadly, its one and only flight.

My photo of the tail.

An  old photo of the inside of the cockpit. The K/H-4 (the official name) was the idea of Henry Kaiser who partnered with the government and Hughes to make a plane big enough to carry 750 soldiers, a couple of tanks and other equipment to the war zone because our troop ships were getting badly torpedoed by the Japanese. The government couldn’t spare metals for this ship, so it had to be made from wood. Mostly light weight birch went into its construction, and only 1% spruce. But, it was labeled by the press and the name Spruce Goose stuck.

Hughes finished the air boat with his own money. The war ended before the air boat was completed. Hughes kept it in a specially built hangar tuned up and ready to go for 33 years at $1,000,000 a year. His colorful part in the design, and building of the Goose is well told in video’s and pictures in the museum. The video of moving the Goose from Southern California, taking it apart, shipping it to Portland and then lifting 259 power lines to get the super wide caravan to McMinnville is another fascinating video story.

I said there was oh, so much more. Aviation history,  starting with this replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying device clear through the modern space program,  is on display here through planes, photos, artifacts and historical monologues. The docents, some retired pilots, tell a few  hair-raising stories of their own.

A stunt plane hangs upside down from the ceiling.

Single person flyers were well represented here. This one with a rotary blade.

I liked the Great Lakes Baby and the Alley Cat. The double winged Baby could rise 2000 feet in five seconds. Cost in 1969? $750. I want one!

The Flying Tigers, the story of women wartime pilots, the WASPS, a Japanese Zero fuselage with 140 bullet holes in it. If you’ve heard of a plane, it’s most likely here.

The second building at Evergreen is an Imax Theatre that shows three major aviation films. We arrived at 9:00 a.m. and only completed one building by 11:00. We skipped the theatre and went to the Space building. After seeing the space museum at the Smithsonian, I wondered if this could compare. I haven’t been to D.C. for many years, so I can’t really answer that, but I can tell you this space museum was thorough. From the first Russian Sputnik (above replica), that isn’t much bigger than a beach ball with steel whiskers, the complete history is beautifully and fairly told from every Russian conquest, the virtual race, the mistakes, the secrecy, the surrender of Wernher von Braun and his scientists to an American Private, the atomic bomb… Stuff I never thought we would see is here.

A heat blackened recovery capsule.

Weightless dental work.

Cosmonauts at play. Besides Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and Valentina Thereshkova the first woman in space, the Russian Cosmonauts hold many other space records. The United States was bent on surpassing their accomplishments and did. But, the space program is shared by 18 different countries and promotes cooperation and peace.

It was exciting to see a televised space launch with all of the breath holding expectancy we collectively felt when the launch really happened. The Mission Control Room replica is here. The computer filled a whole room and wasn’t as powerful as the common laptop we use today.

A replica of moon buggies and the vehicles that explored the surface of Mars; thirty-eight ply tires;  the Black Bird; the un-piloted drones, all here. And, astounding snippets of early thinkers who first envisioned that man would take wings to the moon. Make it a point to take your children to McMinnville and visit the Evergreen Complex of Museums. This summer, their fourth building will open. It is the only known building with a plane permanently implanted on the roof.  A water slide starts in the fuselage of the plane.

They grow wine grapes and hazelnuts on the grounds. We tasted their wine and bought a bottle of Spruce Goose Pinot Grigio.

For more pictures:

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Henry Ford was like many of us, he liked to collect “things”. When titans of industry collect it touches every walk of life: invention, history, work, employment, people, machines and how they changed and grew America. Sectioned off into themes, Truth and Justice, Jewelry, Pewter, and Prefab Housing- those are the places we didn’t get to. Art, Sue, Jim and I must have walked ten of the twelve acres under one roof, because the transportation and wheels of industry collection is immense. When you walk in the door, you are face to face with one of the biggest train engines ever made, the 1601, an Allegheny, built with two engines working in concert. Its 76 feet long and could haul 27 million pounds of coal up over the mountains at a fast clip of 60 miles an hour.

A surprising number of successful electric cars, including some made by Ford, were in this museum. In fact, his wife liked the quiet, easy starting car so much, he bought one for her from a competitor after he quit making them. It was considered a ladies car from the start. They didn’t have much range but distance wasn’t an issue when the roads were bumpy and people didn’t travel far from home.

This electric car was one of Henry’s. He sold a lot of them. Others were much earlier models from the late 1800’s made by small companies that faded in time.

The convertible that Kennedy was killed in, with the steps on the back for the secret service. A top was made for it from bullet proof glass and President Reagan used it.

The first motorized school bus made was assembled by an employee of Ford Motors. He built a box with bench seats and attached it to the bed of a Ford Pick-up. It fell apart on the bumpy roads. He quit Ford and began making buses in earnest on a Ford Chassis and started the Bluebird Bus Company that still makes school buses today.

Every Day the museum is open,  a new Model T is assembled on the spot with the help of people visiting the museum. It will run when finished, except, it has no gas in it. They build one each day and are now on their 845 one. Not only do you get to see it put together, and sit in it, etc. but a mini assembly line floats above with the parts for a complete car hanging on wires overhead and moving to their position on the line.

Besides just about every imaginable vehicle, their development, engines and builders, the museum contains unusual vehicles of interest such as one of Charles Kurault’s motorcoachs from his famous television show, On The Road With Charles Kurault.

And Hector Quevora’s Model A, driven from South America to Detroit  because his son wanted to see the museum. There was an early diesel-electric hybrid, from the 1920’s I believe, if memory serves me, and every early bicycle and tricycle known to man.

Consider this “ten speed”.

And this home made model with a fancy eagle head bar.
It was actually bikes that led to flight as Oliver and Wilbur Wright tinkered in their bike shop.

This model of the Kitty Hawk has the actual fabric from the real Kitty Hawk.

There were many women pilots, including barnstorming daredevils in the 1930’s. It only seems like Amelia Earhart was the only woman flier. Bessie Coleman was the first African American Woman in the world  to get her pilots license. (In 1921.)
Then there were the bizarre things in the museum, such as a sealed tube with the last breath of Thomas Edison captured in it. And this letter from Clyde Barrow.

Clyde Barrow so admired his stolen 1934 V-8 Ford that he wrote Henry Ford a congratulatory letter about his “fine car.”  Not long after this letter was received by Ford, Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death in that very car.

He lived wild and free until the guns brought him and his Ford to an end.
Then the little oddities such as this sheet music in the museum.

Jack Frost wrote two songs about the Ford, You Can’t Afford To Marry If You Can’t Afford A Ford and I Didn’t Raise My Ford To Be A Jitney. What a hoot!

I got a kick out of this ad with the sorry looking Amantha and her Cod Liver Oil fan.

And when you read about the wheels of industry? They really were wheels.  Gigantic wheels, that turned turbines and kept those early steam engines pumping.

The oldest known remaining steam pump is in this museum. You will find farm equipment, huge combines and corn planters and threshers, both old and fairly modern. There are craft shops here for younger people to learn how to run and maintain and build working machines of all  types.

If you are traveling with kids, there are a number of places in the museum that have kid’s activities. Here kids are making vehicles that can be tried out on a couple of slide roads.

Or maybe you might simply want to wrap yourself up as a hot dog in the Oscar Mayer Wiener exhibit.
We certainly could have spent another day in this museum. We started the day with breakfast with Art, Sue, Art’s parents and a friend, Lillie. And ended it with the Lambart’s traditional Sunday dinner at home with Art’s parents.

In fact, Lillie, on the right, wrote a song for Faith Hill, the country singer. They were waitresses together when they were young girls.
For more pictures, check out the link below:

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Flying Southwest has become a habit. The comfort of a free check-in bag; getting your boarding pass on-line, open seating. I like it! The crew is great. No meals, simple snacks and drinks. Works for me. Regular food service is a difficult manuever on a plane, anyway. A good excuse to take yourself out for breakfast, or lunch. On my last leg from Vegas to Hartford, (economy, doncha know) the Flight Attendant announced that the smoking area was open-on the wing. If you can keep your cigarette lit, she will give you a free ticket!

One attendant, (her name was Sandy,) was studded with colorful, clever little pins given to her by customers. I wanted to take her picture and she told me no, I could get arrested. Hmmm!  It seems they feel endangered by that act, too many loonies out there. So, along with nice customers who give pins, are the loonies. I asked another flight attendant and she explained it was against company policy.  We do live in strange times. I had to settle for a photo of the airplane after landing in Hartford. It was raining. A good change from the sweltering weather my “weather whimp” partner has been living through, and complaining about, while I returned home for my family reunion.

Jim the mule, struggling with my heavy luggage. He’s such a clown. My luggage is easy rolling. Now, to use his genius to diagnose my put-put computer and hopefully rescue 3,000 pictures into a flash drive before it fails. Changing gears, back to some sight seeing instead of trouble shooting sprinkler clocks, hey…life on the road is interesting and invigorating. 

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