You may have marveled at the Spruce Goose and ogled the 130 other aircraft at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. But why stop there? It’s just one of several aviation hot spots in the West.
The sprawling Museum of Flight in Seattle showcases the restored Red Barn, the Boeing Company’s original factory, lending local flavor to a collection of more than 160 flying machines, among them a replica World War I Sopwith Camel and a Blackbird cold war spy plane. Walk through a British Airways Concorde and the first jet to serve as Air Force One, the “flying Oval Office” of four U.S. presidents.
The Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Montana, celebrates the first 75 years of aviation in the northern Rockies. Housed in a massive hangar at the city’s airport, the collection includes hundreds of vehicles and artifacts, among them a 1929 Travel Air 6000, a TBM torpedo bomber converted to fight fires, and the DC-3 that delivered smoke jumpers to their death at the Mann Gulch wildfire in 1949. The museum is open from mid-May to mid-September.
Displays of classic cars and vintage aircraft fill three vast hangars at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. Most of the planes are kept in ready-to-fly condition, including a World War I Curtiss Jenny military trainer.
Watch jets take shape on the assembly line during the 90-minute Boeing factory tour in Mukilteo, Wash. The tour kicks off from the Future of Flight Aviation Center, where you can wonder at superlight modern materials, digitally design a plane, and watch test flights take off and land at Paine Field, Snohomish County’s historic airport.
Note: Discounts are available for AAA Members at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, Museum of Flight, Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, and the Future of Flight Aviation Center.