Evergreen Aerospace Museum

I made an interesting discovery while in the Portland area. They have an aerospace museum. More accurately, McMinnville hosts the Evergreen Aerospace Museum.

A short digression - the museum sits next to the waterpark. The entire gang, minus me, went and all the kids had an absolute blast. Dozens of slides and pools. Four of the slides start in the body of a 747 set on the roof. The youngest ground-mobile granddaughter floated the wave pool while a pair of nieces went dare-deviling all over the place. 

Why didn't I go? Opted for a trip to the Portland Running Company. Love those folks and, since I don't have a running store close, I try to make an effort to swing into PRC when I'm in town. Left with new gear to replace some of my older (more than a decade older) stuff. 

Back to the museum. From the instant you enter, the Spruce Goose dominates the rather large hall. 

spruce goose

For scale, look at the people on the gangway. The windows that you see along the fuselage are passenger observation windows. The actual cockpit sit on top of that - see the little windows waaaay up there? 

Inside, it feels like a whale swallowed you and your companions in one gulp, except maybe a little roomier. Though the ribbing appears to be metal, the majority of the airframe was constructed of wood. Birch, not spruce but I can't think of any birds that rhyme with birch and I guess neither could the original reporters. An amazing piece of engineering. 

The exhibits left plenty of maneuvering room and it never felt crowded. Most exhibits had signage with historical information about the pieces. 

I loved that my  grandson, Jeffrey, got intrigued enough to look over the boards. A first-grader, the verbiage was a touch of his head, but the combination of pictures got him to stop and assess. Very smooth production by the museum. 

Over course, the big kids lingered too. Two of my sons-in-law were there and, at various points, we would scatter like quail, each heading for a different part of the exhibit. 

I found a little aircraft, built from a kit by a Moses Lake man, that stood scarcely taller than an average Duffau grandchild. I'm now lobbying Jeffrey's dad to build an airplane for the kids. The four of us, three adults and one child, decided it would be a 'good' thing, educational even. I'm betting I can get a couple of granddaughters on board. The wives might take a little persuading. . . .

I found a P-38, a World War II aircraft that has always been my favorite for reasons I can't explain. They also had an engine for one, a V-12 brute. Apparently, the engines came in right and left rotations to reduce the torque on the airframe. Interesting stuff to the nerds among us. 

The Evergreen Aerospace Museum also owns a DeHaviland DH-4 that still holds an airworthiness certificate. These aircraft started as single-engine bombers in WWI and were adopted by the US Post Office for the original Air Mail service.  I'm guessing that when I'm pushing a hundred years old, I won't be nearly as able to fly high. Of course, the DH-4 is seeing much better maintenance. 

We hit the theater - they have multiple shows every day - for a documentary on D-Day. I think Peter Jennings narrated but didn't catch the credits. The show was well-done and in 3-D.

We only covered one building of the exhibit as  Jeffrey started to wear down, plus we had to get back for a surprise birthday party. We didn't get to look at the more modern planes, some arranged on the exterior, F-16's, F-18's, an F-4. Inside the other building where we ate a reasonably priced lunch, were drones, including one that I think, if I am recalling my old comic books correctly, was a V-2 rocket. 

On the way out, Will noticed that not only do they have a tank exhibit outside but you get to climb in. Gonna have to come back.