Tuesday, September 30, 2008

August in Seaside, Part II

Ladybug's dad and I took a day trip excursion south of Seaside about an hour to visit the Tillamook Air Museum.

The museum houses the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world. That link was from Wikipedia, who also has this to say about the museum:

Constructed by the US Navy in 1942 during World War II for Naval Air Station Tillamook, the hangar building housing the aircraft is 1,072 feet long and 296 feet wide, giving it over six acres of space. It stands at 192 feet tall. The doors weigh 30 tons each and are 120 feet tall. Hangar "B" is one of two that were built on the site originally, Hangar "A" was destroyed by fire in 1992.

The place is very big. It is easy to spot from miles away and is just as impressive close up. Using meatball math, I figure it is about nine football fields in size. It took a lot of trees to make it too.

(Small aside...I apologize for the graininess of some of my pictures. This camera is cheap and less adaptable than I would like. I think my next camera will be the old style...my expensive digital camera only lasted about 6 years. Not enough.)

This place is a wonder for anyone who loves a beautiful airplane. I think a few other Snabulus readers share my regard for the designs of pre-1960s aircraft. I took a few pictures to give you a taste, but you should really go see the place to get the full sense of it. I am sure my dad, Moody Minstrel, and Pandabonium could give you more details and I might even mess up IDing the planes, but believe me when I say that my attachment to these pieces of engineering is an emotional one. I've seen precious few of these in the air, but for some reason I've had aviation dreams my whole life. I'm the annoying person in the passenger jet with the shades up during the movie staring at the clouds and the geomorphology of the space below me. I've even had my share of flying dreams. I probably should have been a pilot.

Anyhoo, after stepping into the heat, we paid our admission and stepped into this giant, cool space. One of the first planes I laid eyes on was not American, but instead a Soviet Mig-17.

If you need to fold your plane for storage, then a Grumman FM-2 Wildcat might be right up your alley.

This Douglas DC-3 is certainly more than any craft the tiny town of Garibaldi, Oregon has now, but it seemed necessary at the time.

The Grumman J2F-6 Duck was a biplane used right into WWII.

The Spanish Hispano HA-1112 was a German ME-109 with a Rolls Royce engine instead of Daimler Benz. The Germans (notice the Nazi swastika) assisted Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war in the late 30s.

Indeed there were big planes and very small ones like this Chris-Tena Mini-coupe...

The Czech built Aero L-29 Delphin is a gorgeous trainer craft. There is something about the mirror steel finish with the aerodynamic smoothness that always catches my eye.

What trip to a WWII era aircraft hangar would be complete without a glimpse of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

As this simulator shows, flying a plane involved very little that might take your attention away from the skies in front of you. It isn't as if there were dozens of switches and gauges to keep track of, were there?

Over 100 million people died in World War II, so when it was finally over, the word PEACE! was a big deal. It is still possible that we could sense the good in such a concept now. Of course, they didn't have OJ Simpson to obsess on then.

On the way home, we stopped in Nehalem for a bit of antique store browsing and the weather was gorgeous.

In part 3, we will check out the fog and a disturbing look at today's Coastal mountain range.


Pandabonium said...

Oooo, aaaah, wow! Drooling over all those aircraft. That blimp hanger is a beautiful structure inside in its own right.

My dad and 1st FIL each spent a lot of time in PBY Catalina flying boats.

Note the oil drips from all the planes that have radial engines - famous for that.

Helluva nice collection.

Dean Wormer said...

That p-38 is beautiful

Have you been to the Evergreen museum? I've wanted to head down there since they added the air and space addition.

Maybe a joint trip...

Arkonbey said...

Sweetness. I'd have hit the PBY (love that plane) and was that a super Guppy?

At the Aviation Technical Training Center in N.C. we washed the old HU-16 Albatross staged at the front of the school. It was a gorgeous old flying boat. It was also filled with old songbird skeletons.

The Moody Minstrel said...


And to think I drove (or was driven) past that museum all those times and never went in!


Back in my school days I actually had a model of a P-38 that had decals for a "Tangerine" logo very much like the one in that picture. I'm sure that's a modern restoration, though, but you never know.

Now I know where I'm going next time I visit the States!

Don Snabulus said...


I thought you might like the pics being the flying person you are. Yep, there were a lot of spots on the floor.


There were 2 P-38s there, but sadly one of the crashed about 10 years ago.


Gotta watch out for those songbird ghosts. They'll drive you nuts at about 5 in the morning.


I would like to accompany you on that trip. Keep me posted.

ElTigrez said...

Indubitablly. I dont think the air museum was in the hanger in the early 80s I think that is more recent addition. I do remember visiting when there was the second hanger there before that one burned down. At that time they were thinking of turning one of them into an air museum I believe. I also remember peering inside and it was incredibly empty with the scale of the building.

I have been to the Evergreen museum and the Spruce Goose overshadows everything. it gives an Air Force C-5 a run for the money in the way of sheer size. The wing is so massive looking that all the planes around it look like goselings tucked under the Mother Goose ;).

I remember stories of my aunts and uncles told me of seeing 109s and and 190s flying over their fields during the war. That one spanish civil war Hispano is very rare (on par with a Mitsubishi Zero) but most likely an upgrade after WW2 because the C models probably had 2 blade props in the 30s. Four blade props were late war.

An f-8 Crusader there too? mmmmMMmm P-38s and Corsairs oh my hehehehe. I remember when they went looking for a P-38 in greenland and extracted from under a couple hundred feet of ice. They ended up rebuilding 65% of the plane due 40 years of pressure working in its airframe.


Swinebread said...

It's been five years since I've been

But I'll wait until swinebread jr. is old enough to go again