SEATTLE — As The Museum of Flight prepares to open up its all new Aviation Pavilion on Saturday June 25th 2016, Airways was invited to a special first look at the new pavilion prior to its opening to the public.
The expansion is the largest in the museum’s 51-year history in a project that took several years of planning, moving aircraft around and building the structure. On April 6th 2015 the museum broke ground on the new addition and just 14 months later it is ready to open its doors to the public, establishing a new Seattle landmark and one of the world’s grand displays of historic aircraft.
Providing shelter to approximately 20 aircraft, the pavilion will help reduce aircraft wear and tear from the outside elements such as the infamous Seattle rain. While it won’t be completely enclosed for now (though future plans call for this), the shelter will help reduce the wear and tear the aircraft had previously received at the original airpark.
The Pavilion Collection
For the first time, the Museum’s collection of large commercial aircraft can be seen in one place. The airliner exhibit today includes the world’s only presentation of the first Boeing 737 and 747, a Douglas DC-2, the only Concorde on the West Coast, and one of the prototypes of the 787 Dreamliner.
The military line-up includes three big bombers—World War Two’s B-17F Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress, and the Cold War’s B-47 Stratojet; plus jet fighters spanning the wars from Korea to the Persian Gulf. The Museum’s Boeing 247, Boeing 727 prototype, and the first jet Air Force One will be moved from the Museum’s Airpark to the Pavilion in the fall. Where else in the world can you see a spread like that?
Airways also learned that the Museum’s B-52 parked at Paine Field will be moved down to Seattle the next year, where it will become part of a memorial.
Also featured in the pavilion will be a kidport play area for those parents needing assistance winding the kids down. Another new element being brought in by the Museum is the world’s first exhibit about the world of air cargo transportation. It is being sponsored by FedEx who donated a section of a retired 727 for the exhibit, and made a $1.5 million investment to bring this exhibit to life.
“This visually informative exhibit is the result of an amazing collaboration between FedEx and the Museum of Flight, and we couldn’t be prouder of the outcome,” said Phil Blum, FedEx Express vice president, Fleet Development & Strategic Projects. “Given the evolution of air cargo transportation and its contribution to world commerce during the past 100 years, both organizations realized the history of air cargo needed to be told. To see the FedEx name on this exhibit is a huge nod to the part we played in shaping the express delivery segment of our economy, and we look forward to this display educating and inspiring generations to come.”
Founded in 1965, The Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, serving more than 560,000 visitors annually, and boasting a vast collection of more than 160 historically significant airplanes and spacecraft.