Aerocar

Museum Monday: Museum of Flight, Seattle

It’s Museum Monday here at StuckatTheAirport.com, so time to take a look at one of the 694 aviation museums around the country.

This week: a quick look at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, which has just kicked off a new exhibit about women in the aerospace industry: Chasing Horizons: Women in Aerospace.

Associated Women Pilots of Boeing Field (1933-1946). Museum of Flight collection.

The exhibit starts off with pioneer French aeronaut Élisabeth Thible, who became the first woman to fly in a balloon in 1784, and continues through aviation’s Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s, World War II, and to today’s fighter pilots, aerobatic pilots, engineers, and astronauts.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to see here. The Museum of Flight is home to a vast collection of more than 150 rare aircraft and space vehicles.

There’s a control tower overlooking the very active Boeing Field and, in the Personal Courage wing, a display of 28 fighter aircraft.  The major attraction, though, is the six-story Great Gallery where there are more than 20 full-size aircraft on display, including this Lockheed M-21 Blackbird.

Lockheed Blackbird at Museum of Flight

See that little red dot to the left of the Blackbird? That’s my favorite museum artifact – an early flying car known as the Taylor Aerocar III:

The museum also has a Concorde on loan from British Airways and the first presidential jet plane, a specially built Boeing 707-120, which had this ‘high-tech’ conference area.

First Air Force One Presidential plane

Seattle’s Museum of Flight is located just south of Seattle and not far from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. So it’s a good option for an activity during a long layover. See the Museum of Flight website for more information about exhibits, special events, hours and admission.

And let us know if you have a favorite aviation museum you’d like us to feature.

Maggots and flying cars. Need we say more?

Besides the story about the Charlotte-bound US Airways plane that had to return to the gate in Atlanta because maggots started dropping from an overhead bin (watch video at your own risk…)

…the best aviation-related story making the rounds today was about yet another FAA-approved flying car. The Christian Science Monitor’s story about the Terrafugia Transition includes some very cool photos and a video describing the prototype of a two-seater car that can be transformed into an airplane – and purchased for $194,000.

It does seem promising but, The Jetsons aside, it’s not new. Back in 1949, Vancouver, Washington resident Moulton Taylor created a car that did the same thing.

The final version of that car, the Aerocar III, which was actually the sixth version of the car, is on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Flying car

Taylor wasn’t the first to make a flying car. The Smithsonian Institution displays the Waterman Aerobile, which first flew in 1937.

And, from 1950, the Fulton Airphibian

Both the Airphibian and the Aerobile are on display in the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport.

Cool gift to make sure you’re never stuck at the airport again

If you have an extra $3.5 million hanging around and you’re wondering what to get for that special frequent flier this year, consider snapping up the Aerocar Model One Flying Automobile.

aerocar-photo

Invented by Moulton Taylor in Longview, Washington in 1949, the Aerocar was a “roadable” airplane certified for use as both a plane and an automobile.  The coolest feature: if you’re driving the Aerocar you can tow its wings and tail like a trailer. Then, if traffic gets bad, you can transform the vehicle from a car to an airplane in about 15 minutes.

One prototype and four Aerocars were produced. One was destroyed.  Two are in permanent museum collections. This is one of two aerocars in private ownership – and it’s for sale.

If no one ponies up $3.5 million to buy you the aerocar that’s for sale, you can visit this Taylor Aerocar III at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

taylor-aerocar-iii-3_p1

(Courtesy Seattle’s Museum of Flight)