Seattle, WA, USA - October 2008

I first visited The Museum of Flight back in 1996, and I've made a point of returning every time I return to Seattle. When I participated in a meeting with Boeing in October 2009, I made sure my schedule allowed me a couple hours to wander amongst the old planes. (Trevor McTavish)

There have been some big changes recently. Of great interest to me were the two new galleries created to house a collection of First and Second World War fighter planes purchased from the now defunct Champlin Air Museum. The other, was the supersonic Concorde. (Trevor McTavish)

I started my visit by touring the 'Great Gallery' which houses 39 aircraft on two floor levels, and hanging from the ceiling. I found myself interested in the older airplanes; WACOs, Stinsons, Stearmans and Pipers. Most visitors however will immediately focus on the Lockheed M-21 (SR-71A) Blackbird. (Trevor McTavish)

The Museum of Flight is fortunate to have some extremely generous donors. This inter-war Boeing fighter for example, was donated by a Boeing test pilot. (Trevor McTavish)

Every museum seems to have a DC-3 in its collection, but few are big enough to house them inside, let alone hanging from the ceiling. I really enjoy the hanging displays, and find myself staring upwards every time I visit. (Trevor McTavish)

Another airplane that seems to be in every air museum is the legendary yellow J-3. Obviously the Piper Cub is an important part of American aviation and worthy of the recognition it's been given. It also adds a splash of colour to any collection. (Trevor McTavish)

One of the things that draws me to the hanging displays at the Museum of Flight is the diversity of the airplanes on display. Sleek jet fighters hang side-by-side with homebuilts, prototypes, pre-war antiques and post-war classics. (Trevor McTavish)

On the ground level, there are many displays that seem to rotate on some kind of cycle. As a kid the Blue Angels were my favourite aerobatic group, and I remember watching them and their Skyhawks at the 1986 Abbotsford International Airshow. (Trevor McTavish)

Climbing the multi-story balconies gives the viewer a totally different view of the 'Great Gallery' and the diverse collection it houses. I really liked the mood that was created as the late afternoon cast a golden hue over everything. (Trevor McTavish)

Off to the side of the 'Great gallery' stands the fuselage of a USAir 737-200. Remembering the old 737s I'd worked on and all their skin patches, all I could say was this one was much worse. (Trevor McTavish)

Like any museum, the Museum of Flight has more airplanes than they can house indoors. One of the most interesting displays on the front lawn was a flyable Doulgas DC-2. After seeing so many DC-3s, it was interesting to make some comparisons with its older brother. (Trevor McTavish)

I headed across the street to visit the outdoor airpark. Don't forget to take a glance backwards and give the red barn the honour it deserves. Remember, every Boeing airplane owes its existence to the pioneering work done inside those walls. (Trevor McTavish)