In Seattle, Washington, United States at Boeing Field (KBFI) there is The Museum of Flight with 120 aircraft of all ages and sizes.
The Museum of Flight is an avgeek’s paradise, housing a collection of more than 120 aircraft of all ages and sizes. There are also spacecraft in the collection, alongside many notable artifacts too. It’s hard to pick only five of the best aircraft in the collection from the Aeronca C-2 to the Yakovlev Yak-9U Frank but here goes.
Any list of the top five airplanes for Simple Flying must start with the Boeing 747-121 – the first “Jumbo Jet”. The Museum of Flight has kept the Boeing prototype which was a testbed for not just Boeing 747 but also new engines for the Boeing 777. One can now go inside, and occasionally The Museum of Flight opens up the spiral staircase for guests to look inside the upper deck.
The Museum of Flight also preserves the first Boeing 727 ever built in United Airlines livery and seating. The Boeing 727 made air travel much more accessible to the masses by being able to service more airports and packed an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to enable operations at airfields lacking a power cart. As pictured below, the author was at the last take-off on March 2, 2016.
The first Boeing 737 ever built is also in the Museum of Flight’s collection and maintained as the Transport Systems Research Vehicle, known as NASA 515, with registry N515NA. NASA 515 was used for testing modern cockpits and airborne windshear detection systems among modern avionics; while the cockpit is factory standard with all the dials, knobs and other dusty tactile inputs of the 1960s.
Today’s 737s use multifunction displays and head’s up displays so the aircrew can see relevant information at a glance. Below are two photos from the author’s collection of cockpit photos – always taken with permission – to show the differences between the generations of 737:
Of course, any conversation about the Museum of Flight’s aircraft collection must include G-BOAG, the Concorde kindly donated by British Airways. One of the first supersonic jetliners, visitors can walk inside and see the luxury seating and the cockpit all protected by plexiglass to protect the historic aircraft. Plus, the views from the Concorde’s staircase of the Aviation Pavilion are amazing.
Finally, there is the Boeing 787. The Boeing 787 is a jetliner with pieces – mostly composite – manufactured all around the world. The Museum of Flight’s third 787 ever built has guests able to see inside not just the airliner configuration and cockpit but also the flight test equipment and interpretive displays.
There you go – five of the Museum of Flight’s best aircraft in one article. Thing is, all five of these aircraft are in the Aviation Pavilion. There are more across the street from biplanes to the Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird, plus some spacecraft and space artifacts like the Space Shuttle trainer. There are also many aviation artifacts like an air freight display kindly donated by Federal Express (FedEx).
Let us know in the comments what aircraft you like at Seattle’s The Museum of Flight.
Journalist – When not reading and writing about aviation, Joe is photographing it. Joe Loves educating the public about aviation, and generating enthusiasm around flying while supporting all those who work in aviation. Based in Skagit County, United States
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