Spruce Goose, Blackbird and Other Cool Planes

April 2, 2016

Over Spring Break, I visited the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This hidden gem has a large array of airplanes and spacecraft, including biplanes, a Lear jet, and rockets.

Most, if not all, planes have continuous maintenance so they are in ready-to-fly conditions. This fun fact is used in an episode of the TV show, Leverage.

What’s the best and most humbling part of the museum? The tour guides. They are all military veterans, many of whom have actually flown the very planes on display in wars. They are ready to share their stories. I can’t think of a more empowering way to support veterans than this museum.

Evergreen also has rockets, a flight simulator and much more in its space exhibit. There’s even a waterpark and a movie theater. The museum definitely needs a full day, but it’s worth the effort! Below are three of my favorite airplane exhibits there

The P-51 Mustang was a World War II fighter plane that became famous as the plane of choice for the Tuskeegee Airmen. The P-51 Mustang (and the Airmen) was responsible for significantly reducing the attrition rate of B-17 bomber planes that flew over Europe by escorting and providing cover to these planes from enemy attacks. Thus, the number of pilots who died flying B-17s dropped about 50% (according to the tour guide) !

The Spruce Goose, which is actually made of balsa wood and not an inch of spruce, is the largest working airplane ever built. It was originally meant to be used in World War II but Howard Hughes, its creator, didn’t meet his deadline. He flew the plane once to prove it worked. The Spruce Goose was designed to fly on land and water. The wingspan itself is the length of the entire museum floor! The Scorsese movie, The Aviator, was partially filmed at the museum and inside the Spruce Goose.

Lastly, their newest exhibit is the Lockheed SR-71Blackbird. SR stands for Strategic Reconnaissance, a.k.a. spy plane. At 2193 mph, the Blackbird is the fastest aircraft in the world! Sleek, painted a blackish hue, and tapered with a razor-thin nose, it looks just like I would imagine a spy plane. Despite some of the plane’s radar equipment being on display, not all of it is fully explained because the information is classified. How cool is that?

Published on April 2nd, 2016

Last updated on January 20th, 2021