January 16, 2004
There was a single flight, the 2nd of November 1947, having already outlived its intended purpose of cargo transport for World War II. It’s made mostly of birch, not spruce (although spruce was used in most World War I-era planes), and painted a metallic gray which camouflages it to some extent, fooling the eye into thinking it is metal. It might well be even more impressive if it were lacquered to allow its natural grain to show through.
It sits in the middle of the great space surrounded by other planes both on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. All eras of aviation are represented -- there's even a replica of the Wright Brothers' plane.
The most recent addition to the museum is a SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, still the fastest sub-orbital jet plane (mach 3) ever built. Unlike most museums, Evergreen didn't cut off the wings (gluing them back on after!) of the Blackbird before locating the plane within their museum. Re-inserting the engines is the only thing the plane needs to be air-worthy again. That and a lot of fuel. The metal of its surface is porous until airborne, when friction causes it to solidify, so the main bulk of the fuel needs to be added in-flight.
There’s also an interesting display of World War II propaganda posters, including some from Germany and Russia. A number of very early American flags can be seen, pretty remarkable, considering the venue.
Another recent acquisition is a Russian space capsule. This carried electronics, not people, into space. Originally painted matte red over its entirety, the blackish ridged appearance of the lower portion is due to heat friction upon re-entry. That is Vladimir Titov‘s autograph on the side, but other than being somewhere where the capsule was at one time he has no other connection to it. Sign my capsule, please.
There is also a cafe and a really nice gift shop.
My favorite item: a postcard which can be made into a paper model of a Spitfire.
Open: 9am-5pm; except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year.
$11, (65+) $10, (4-18) $7, under 4 free. Veterans, active duty, reserves (with ID), and immediate family $10.
Located:1 mile east of McMinnville on Route 18.
Contacts: 503-434-4180, (fax) 503-434-4058, (store) 888-9SPRUCE, firstname.lastname@example.org, online form
The Straight Dope: How Come the Spruce Goose Only Flew Once
Spruce Goose: Where is it Now?
SR-71 An Online Museum
From journal Planes, Trains, UFOs & Historic McMinnville