Historic Flight Foundation,
There's Plenty for the Plane Buff in the
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
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
Most of the planes are currently airworthy and do indeed take to
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
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
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
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
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
In a manner again similar to Paul Allen's
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
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
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,
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25 March 2011, last update
21 Jul 2020
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