Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Tillamook Air Museum

Tillamook, OR is home to the Tillamook Air Museum and housed in the WWII Tillamook Blimp Hanger. This picture of the hanger is from about 1 mile away and it is huge even from this distance. This building originally housed large blimps for the US Navy that were used to patrol for submarines off the Oregon coast in WWII.

This picture shows how the blimps were stored during the war - Rick learned that these K class blimps were about 250' long each and these 8 blimps could easily fit into the hanger with room to spare.

 Rick learned that the building is 1,072' long, 192' high and 268' wide. Plus, it is built almost entirely of wood, since strategic materials, such as steel, were in short supply in WWII. Amazingly, this huge structure was complete in only 27 days in 1943.

 The hanger provides an interesting and ideal building for the Tillamook Air Museum collection of aircraft and related materials. This collection consists of a wide variety of aircraft, many of which are in flyable condition, such as this great P-47.

 The museum offered exhibits from many different time periods and included items from WWI days, such as this Curtiss OX-5 V8 engine from 1917. This 90hp engine was famous for powering such aircraft as the popular Jenny from that era.

 Naturally, the museum housed a wonderful P51 Mustang from WWII, and again, it was in full flying condition. This is arguably the best overall fighter from WWII and made a dramatic difference to Allied air power in the war.

This is an interesting and rare plane -- the Grumman J2F-6 Duck amphibian. This flyable plane is equally at home on the runway or the lake and is in great condition. We learned that the museum has its own restoration operation and has worked on most of the planes in the collection.

This F4U Corsair is another beautiful plane that appeared ready to fly. You can also get an idea as to the size of the hanger from this picture. The Corsair is located about half way back in the hanger, so there is still several hundred feet of hanger remaining. Indeed, if you look closely on the right side of the hanger, you can see several large motorhomes (40+ feet) parked in storage. The huge hanger made these RVs look like miniatures.

Here is one of Rick's favorites - the PBY Catalina flying boat. This was a real workhorse of the Navy in WWII and was used extensively for scouting and searching for submarines.

Here is a very unique aircraft is a Bellanca Aircruiser which has been restored by the museum to flying condition. This aircraft has the remarkable ability to carry more cargo than it weighs, largely due to the extra lift built in to its W shaped lower wing.
Rick loved visiting the museum! Seeing the planes was great, but to be able to see them in one of the largest wooden structures ever built. In fact, this photo shows the helium filling room that was used to fill the blimps. It was great to wander around and experience this great hanger that was used in WWII.

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