In addition to the main events of AGF13 David managed to get some other benefits for this years attendees. Saturday included admission to most of the aviation attractions. The Museum of Flight has a restoration centre] at Paine field that works on the aircraft that will eventually end up in the muesum at Boeing Field. This facility was only open on Saturday but showed some of the meticulous work that creates the displays you see elsewhere. In a nice twist one of the projects is the restoration of a dehavallind Comet 4C The first commercial jetliner that beat the jets from Puget Sound to market by all–most 5 years. So seeing that British jet in the heart of Boeing country was a bit of a surprise. We had a great conversation with Bob who was working on the restoration.
The two other private collections on Paine Field added more to the ultimate AvGeek weekend. These also came with our AGF tickets which added more to the value for the money. But I tossed some money in the basket at all the sites anyway.
The Flying Heritage Collection has some of the most unique flying examples of classic WWII aircraft. I one room you can see 3 aircraft that don’t exist anywhere else and 4 more that have no other airworthy examples. Several have a Canadian connections, the best story is probably the Hurricane which was manufactured by Canada Car in Port William (Now Thunder Bay), was recovered from a field in Ontario,and is now painted in the colors of 135 Sqdn RCAF based at Patricia Bay (now Victoria International). The Docent at FHC was kind enough to point out the RCAF markings and the local connection. Very much in keeping with the rest of the weekend it is the conversations that are as valuable as anything.
The other stop is a smaller but also noteable collection called Historic Flight Foundation. having a smaller group of aircraft it also has some spectacular examples of WWII vintage. This collection lets you get up close and personal to the aircraft. No climbing on the planes but sticking a camera inside a Spitfire or Mustang cockpit isn’t a problem. Again one of the museum staff was kind enough to take us on the ramp and into their restored DC–3. Another little Canadian Connection here with a little restoration help on the DC–3 for Sealand Avation in Campbell River.
What makes FHC and HF truely noteable to the AvGeek is the flying state of all the aircraft. At FHC there are oil pans under the aircraft and at HF the B–25 had the cowlings off and was getting engine work done. Appreciating a fine museum example of a rare aircraft is one thing but seeing that these fine flying machines are still able to do what they were designed for, namely fly, gives it a little more reality. To me a couple drops of oil under a Big radial engine or some hydronic fluid from a flag actuator means that these planes are still planes and not a movie prop.
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