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On the opposite side of the runway from the Flying Heritage Collection is the Historic Flight Foundation.

The two collections are similar in size and content, although a true aviation aficionado will find lots of unique elements in each museum.

 
 
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Historic Flight Foundation, Everett

There's Plenty for the Plane Buff in the Seattle Area
 

The Historic Flight Foundation is located in a nearly brand new building at Paine Field, Everett.

 

 

Most cities don't have one airplane/aviation museum.  The small city of Everett has two, plus Boeing, plus the Seattle Museum of Flight's Restoration Center.

The Historic Flight Foundation, like the Flying Heritage Collection, has also grown from one man's vision and passion, although nowadays it is in a formal corporate/charity structure with more people involved in its governance and funding and operation.

The Historic Flight Foundation has a small but excellently preserved collection of planes, with an airworthy B-25 that regularly takes to the skies as arguably its 'star' attraction.

The Many Different Aviation Themed Attractions Around Seattle

Seattle is one of the birthplaces of the US aviation/aerospace industry, along with obvious other places such as Kitty Hawk and some not quite so obvious places such as Wichita.

Whether for this reason or purely by accidental chance, the greater Puget Sound region has a treasure trove of aviation themed attractions and activities.  This eleven part series details many of them.

0.  Aviation Themed Attractions in the Seattle Area - intro/overview

1.  Museum of Flight, Seattle

2.  Boeing Factory Tour & Future of Flight, Everett

3.  Flying Heritage Collection, Everett

4.  Historic Flight Foundation, Everett

5.  Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Everett

6.  Heritage Flight Museum, Bellingham

7.  Fly in a glider/sailplane/balloon

8.  Special Events

9.  Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR

10.  Other Regional Aviation Museums

Historic Flight Foundation - Everett

The other of the two aviation museums at Paine Field is the Historic Flight Foundation.  This is similar in many respects to the Flying Heritage Collection, but still slightly different.

The Historic Flight Foundation's B-25 takes pride of place in this hangar photo.


The two museums are very close to each other, but on opposite sides of the main runway at Paine Field which means you can't just walk between them, and instead have to drive around the airfield perimeter.

A view inside the Heritage Flight Museum's main hangar in Bellingham showing their F7F Tigercat


The Historic Flight Foundation has taken a slightly different and broader approach to the subject, choosing to focus on the period 1927 - 1957, from the dawn of civil aviation through to the start of the commercial jet age, and features both civil as well as military aviation.

You enter directly into the hangar where the planes are gleaming and shining at you, clearly showing the loving care with which they are lavished.  Big band music plays quietly in the background to help transport you back to an earlier era.

Framed by the fuselage of a P-51B Mustang is this 1929 seven seater Travel Air S6000B - the type of plane that launched Delta Airlines (and many other less long lived airlines too), and the first passenger plane with an enclosed cabin.  It even has a toilet on board.


They currently have eight planes in their collection, including a Mustang (a common denominator of most of the region's museums), Spitfire, and a B-25, all three the same (or, to be more precise, very similar) to those at the nearby Flying Heritage Collection.  Of course, the true aviation buffs will see this as a bonus - an ability to see two similar planes and to appreciate the subtle differences, eg between the Spitfire Mark Vc at Flying Heritage and the later Spitfire LF Mark IXe at Historic Flight.

Most of the planes are currently airworthy and do indeed take to the air.

And talking about taking to the air, the Historic Flight Foundation offers the opportunity for members of the public to fly in their planes too - most notably, their B-25, built in 1943.  This plane can take up to six passengers on experiential flights, typically three in the work spaces forward of the bomb bay and another three aft of the bomb bay, and when operating, flies with two pilots.

These opportunities occur from time to time, but can also be arranged on an ad hoc basis.  A two hour experience, which comprises about an hour of pre-flight briefing, 20 minutes of in plane but not flying time, and 40 minutes of actual flying, can currently be arranged for $2500 (as of March 2011), whether it is for one person or for six.

Depending on your perspective (and how many friends are sharing the cost with you), that is either a lot of money or an incredible bargain.  Where else can you get to fly in an almost seventy year old genuine World War 2 bomber?

If time or budget does not allow you to go for a flight in the B-25, you can still go on board the plane while it is in the hangar.  You can climb up into both the front and rear sections of the plane, and even look inside the bomb bay - my thought, upon seeing the bomb bay, was how small a payload the plane actually carried - at least in terms of physical dimensions.

That is a lot of plane - 33,500 lbs of plane and a crew of six to carry 6,000 lbs of bombs or other ordnance - I say this not to denigrate the plane but to put it into its own internal perspective.

The museum was formed in 2005.  A Restoration Center was opened in 2010, allowing for the collection to be conveniently presented to the public.  The Restoration Center is presented as 'a working hangar' rather than as a sterile museum, and when you visit you may see planes being worked on, engines stripped down, and whatever else, as you are to see finished planes.

They also have a second hangar in which the 'dirty' mechanical work is done, and they have ambitious plans to build a new Education Center adjacent to the current hangar.  This is currently pending financing.

They also offer various training courses from time to time.  These range from maintenance training to pilot training, which can go as far as to allow pilot candidates to spend time in their newly restored T-6 and even as a co-pilot in the B-25.

They also offer a ground school for the P-51 Mustang, without a chance to fly the single seater, although they may be able to secure a twin seater trainer, possibly for this summer (2011), allowing pilots a chance to fly a Mustang.

They are also going to offer a formation flying clinic in late April.

They have a small selection of logo bearing gift items arranged along one wall, and two computer flight simulators that are part of the same project as the two up in Bellingham at the Heritage Flight Museum.

In a manner again similar to Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection, the Historic Flight Foundation is largely the child of a single parent, in this case a Seattle area attorney, businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, John T Sessions.

John traces his interest in aviation back at least as far as when he was a young attorney on staff at Boeing, and has parlayed his own growing interest in aviation into a personal collection and now into this public museum, which is evolving away from one man's vision and into a more corporate entity, with a board of seven directors now overseeing the museum.

John has also become a broadly qualified pilot and flies many of the planes the Foundation now owns.

The museum is open six days a week (closed on Mondays).  Admission is $12 for adults, with discounts for seniors, military and children.

For full details, see their website.

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Originally published 25 March 2011, last update 02 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
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