When people think of the Puget Sound region of Washington State, most will think of coffee shops, Microsoft, Boeing, grunge music, and rain. But what they would be overlooking is the fact that the region is fast becoming a hotbed in the vintage aircraft movement! With several world class aircraft collections, the Seattle area is an up and coming mecca for aviation enthusiasts that rivals Southern California, Texas, and Florida.
Starting in the northern city of Bellingham, there is the Heritage Flight Museum, owned and run by former Apollo astronaut Bill Anders and his family. Featuring several vintage warbirds such as a P-51D Mustang, and A-1 Skyraider, the Anders’ family has built a very impressive collection located on the grounds of Bellingham International Airport.
Continuing south, and slightly east, the small town of Concrete is not the type of place you would expect to see a collection of unique aircraft! Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, The Skagit Aero Educational Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Golden Age of flight for future generations. E very July, they host one of the best vintage aircraft fly-ins in the country. Throughout the year, they also host various other fly-ins.
Farther south, is the city of Everett, home to the Boeing 747, 767, 777, and 787. Everett is also home to two of the newest and best displays of warbirds in the country! Paul Allen, of Microsoft fame, has assembled an impressive collection of rare and unique aircraft from around the world to form his Flying Heritage Collection (FHC). This vast collection includes several aircraft that actually saw combat in World War II, such as P-47D Tallahassee Lassie, and P-51D Upupa Epops. Along with these notable American fighters, is a gaggle of German, Soviet, and Japanese fighters. An added bonus to this collection is that all aircraft are airworthy!
Across the runway from the Flying Heritage Collection, is the Historic Flight Foundation (HFF). The centerpiece of the HFF is the rare P-51B Impatient Virgin, one of only two B model mustangs currently flying. Several other vintage aircraft, including a B-25 bomber, round out this growing collection. Look for a Soviet era MiG-29 to join the collection soon! During the spring and summer months, the HFF and FHC get together on Saturdays and have joint fly days, where select aircraft from each museum are put through their paces for the public.
To be continued!