Starting only a few miles north of Seattle, Snohomish County is a beautiful place to visit and explore. The area’s rich aviation history make it an ideal destination for those who love to fly or are just fascinated with aviation. As a former Navy aviator, I’ve always enjoyed my visits to this part of Washington State. Here’s a guide to exploring the history of aviation in Snohomish County, Washington:
Boeing factory tour I would start my adventure with a visit to the Boeing factory, the only place in the world where the public can watch planes in production. Currently the company is focused on the 787 Dreamliner, which is the company’s modern answer to recent competition from Airbus. The Future of Flight Aviation Center is open for tours seven days a week and also gives visitors the bragging rights of saying they’ve visited the world’s largest building. Measured by interior volume, the factory is 472,000,000 square feet. Kids are welcome but must be at least four feet tall. Older visitors (like me) should note there is a lot of walking and a few sets of stairs to climb. The facility is in Everett and tickets can be reserved by phone or online. A limited number of walk-up tickets are available at the door each day. During the summer season, adult advance tickets are $18 and kids tickets are $12.
Flying Heritage Collection Next on my aviation tour would be the Flying Heritage Collection, owned by Microsoft co-founder (and billionaire) Paul Allen. As a WWII veteran, this is right up my alley, as all the planes are from 1935-1949 and all are fully restored, many in flying condition. A “Skyfair” is held each summer where many of the planes are flown and put out for display. There are over 20 fully restored warbirds always on display, from Germany, Japan, Russia, England and the USA.
Museum of Flight Restoration Center For a close-up look at how vintage aircraft are restored, the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center at Everett Field is open to visitors. You can actually get up close and personal with over 30 aircraft in various stages of the restoration process. The restorations are done by volunteers and many are retired Boeing and other former aerospace workers. Adult admission is $5 and kids are $3. The museum is also home to some flight simulators, including one that allows 360 degree barrel rolls.
Where to stay We like Holiday Inns and tend to seek them out when traveling. The quality is consistent and they offer good value for the price. The Holiday Inn Downtown Everett is close to the freeway and conveniently situated in the city’s popular downtown area.
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