Susan indulged me once again (at her suggestion) by agreeing to travel up to Everett to spend a few hours at the Flying Heritage Collection.
The Flying Heritage Collection is a museum created by Paul Allen, Co-founder of Microsoft, creator of Seattle’s EMP museum, and collector of historic aircraft and military equipment since 1998. What do you do when you are a collector of antique airplanes and military equipment? Open a museum of course!
Situated next to Paine Field near the charming town of Mukilteo, this collection is truly one to be seen.
Housed in two beautifully restored hangers, the collection includes aircraft from the US, Japan, Germany, Britain and Russia.
The bulk of the collection is vintage and beautifully restored aircraft from the first and second World War including some of the most recognizable war birds like the Japanese Zero, the British Spitfire
and the US P-51 Mustang.
Additionally, the collection includes a wide assortment of land weapons like the M1a Abram Turret Trainer, a M4A1 Sherman Tank
artillery like Howitzers
and missiles like an original V-2 Rocket
and a SS-1b Scud-A. One surprise I did not expect was the inclusion of a Russian Mig-29 Fighter that is still flies from time to time. Pretty amazing to see one up close.
Each section of the museum is arranged based on country of origin and includes a wall of information about that country and its history.
One of the most fascinating displays at the museum is the story of of the Night Witches.
The Night Witches were a group of female Soviet Air Force aviators that flew during World War II.
This story is incredible on many levels, starting with the fact that all the pilots were volunteer and most of them were teenagers or in their early twenties.
The Night Witches flew the Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, which you can see at the museum.
These biplanes were developed as a training aircraft and thus were not the most agile and were also very slow. The combination of these two things made them a pretty easy target for the Germans.
To avoid being shot down, the Night Witches would employ three distinct drastic tactics: first, they would only fly at night; second, to insure the greatest level of accuracy during bombing runs, they would fly very low to the ground; lastly, as if flying low and slow was not dangerous enough, these women, before reaching their target, would turn off their engines and then glide the airplane over the target, drop their bombs and then hope their engine would restart and fly off. They did all of this, while not wearing a parachute. The German soldiers on the ground would only hear the wind hitting the nose of the plane as they glided overhead and they likened the sound to the broomsticks, thus the name.
The docents at the museum are not only incredibly knowledgeable about the aircraft and other exhibits, but are also very nice. We really enjoyed speaking with them and learning some of the inside facts regarding the museum and the exhibits.
This museum is not just static displays, most if not all of these aircraft actually fly and their website lists a schedule of events where you can go to the museum and watch them do just that. In fact, we are going to visit again tomorrow for the 3rd Annual FHC Skyfair!
The Skyfair starts at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 30 and promises to include plane and vehicle demonstrations, RC tanks, and WWII re-enactors, plus kids activities, and pc games. We are very excited for this special day where we will watch some of the rarest aircraft in the world take flight! You can find more information on the event at http://flyingheritage.com/TemplateEventsCalendar.aspx?contentId=54 and you can get tickets at http://skyfair.brownpapertickets.com .
Important Travel Notes:
The Museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Ticket prices are:
Adults – $14
Seniors (65+) – $12
Military – $12
Youths (6-17) – $10
Children (5 and under) – Free
AAA discount available
Directions from Seattle: Take the 128th Street exit (Exit 186). Turn left on 128th Street, which will become Airport Road at the intersection of 128th and Hwy 99. Continue on Airport Road, and turn left at 112th Street SW. Turn right onto 30th Street W. Turn slight left onto 109th Street SW, and follow signs to FHC.
Parking: There is free parking in the lot just outside the museum.