Seattle - Special Aviation
There's Plenty for the Plane Buff in the
The Blue Angels are an
annual fixture during the Seafair celebration each summer in
Here they are flying low and fast over Lake
Airshows, special open days,
flying days, lectures, presentations, short term exhibits, and
much more and an ongoing diversity of changing things to
enrichen your aviation touring around the Seattle area.
Some activities follow a regular
annual scheduled calendar, others are more ad hoc and require you
to do a bit of research before traveling to Seattle.
All are hopefully of added
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 -
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
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, OR
10. Other Regional
Regular Annual Aviation Events in the Seattle Area
There are some annual aviation related events that can be relied
on to occur most years.
These include two air shows - one in Lower British Columbia, the
Abbotsford Air Show, and the other in Olympia, 90 minutes south
of Seattle, the Olympic Air Show.
More than a decade ago Seattle used to have its own annual air
show, but it was discontinued due to costing the organizers too
much money to continue staging. So now Seattle residents
have to travel north or south to attend air shows.
Abbotsford Air Show
The Abbotsford Air Show takes place on the second full weekend
in August of each year and extends over three days. This
is a large and well attended show, and 2012 will be its 50th
You can find out more about this air show on
Olympic Air Show
This air show is operated in conjunction with the Olympic Flight
Museum, and is very much smaller than the Abbotsford Show.
As the name sort of implies, it is held in Olympia (Washington's
In 2011 their show is scheduled for June 18 & 19, which will be
their (hopefully lucky) 13th show.
More details on
Seafair and the Blue Angels
Seattle has a several week festival each summer that is known as
Part of the Seafair events each year include two days of
performances by the Navy Blue Angels, with their planes
centering their flying over Lake Washington. This provides
a great natural viewing arena for the public, and the pilots
like it as an unobstructed area where they can safely go fast
On the other hand, maybe I'm misremembering, but it seems to me
that over the years the Blue Angels performances have become
less daring and spectacular and rather more sedate - although,
of course, 'sedate' is a very relative term.
The Blue Angels are scheduled for 6 & 7 August in 2011.
More details on the Seafair
Paine Field General Aviation Day
Paine Field is the airport in Everett where Boeing and three of
the aviation museums are all based.
Each year they have a 'General Aviation' Day which includes some
extra flying activities, planes on display, food opportunities,
discount admissions to some of the museums, and general relaxed
In 2011 this is scheduled for May 21. More details on
Not so Scheduled but Occasional Events
There are other events that occur from time to time.
The most obvious of these would be the monthly (or thereabouts)
flying days staged by some of the aviation museums.
You should visit the websites of the various different museums
(and or telephone them - not everything gets to their websites)
and see what their schedule for events may be while you are
Although the Seattle Museum of Flight doesn't have flying days,
it does have special events on a moderately regular basis, and
also has temporary exhibits that come and go, so it is also
worthwhile checking with them to see what they might have
scheduled during your visit.
Another organization that doesn't have its own museum is the
Cascade Warbirds - a group of people who own former military
planes and who like to go fly together on occasion. Check
their website to
see if they have anything planned, and also for oblique mentions
of other events in the area.
One Off Events
It is helpful to check some of the potential organizers or
promoters/publicizers of special events to see what else might
Paine Field's website
has a section on announcements and events which sometimes
mentions upcoming activities of interest.
The Pacific Northwest Flying website and forum has a
section all about upcoming aviation themed events.
There are sometimes open days and other events at the Whidbey
Island Naval Air Station. In 2011 it is participating in
the Centenary of Naval Aviation celebrations (29 - 30 July) -
Joint Base Lewis-McChord (formerly adjacent Army and Air Force
bases) sometimes has an air show - apparently these days once
every two years. Sometimes the Air Force Thunderbirds
perform at this show, but last year (2010) they did not
There may be another show in 2012 - check for details of this
and any other open day/special events (such as Armed Forces Day)
Other possible activities of note include the Pacific Science
Center in Seattle. This attraction has an IMAX theater
that sometimes shows aviation themed movies (currently - April
2011 - it is showing Legends of Flight 3D).
Check for details on their
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25 March 2011, last update
30 May 2021
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