Museum of Flight

One event Alice & I planned well in advance for our current trip west was a visit to the Museum of Flight. Technically just outside Seattle, it’s adjacent to Boeing Field and actually incorporates some of Boeing’s original factory. It did not disappoint, and we didn’t even make it through all the buildings.

Among tons of great stuff, the museum has a lot of hobby rockets. There’s a whole corner focused on them, at least one other dedicated display case, and several other models included here and there. You might think they’d be kind of goofy alongside the “real” rockets and planes, but they’re actually really neat and fit in well. Alice was very excited, and told her grandpop all about how Ken’s rocket blew up “so we had to duck!” and Mike’s rocket sailed over the farmhouse and “A COW STEPPED ON TANYA’S ROCKET!!” and many other stories from PARA launches.

Anyway, if you find yourself in this area, I recommend a visit. I put the Museum of Flight here on par with the National Air & Space Museum in DC (especially if you consider just the latter’s museum on the mall and not its Udvar-Hazy annex, whose display of Space Shuttle Discovery puts it over the top, it’s simply an amazing craft to behold). Plan for a full day, the Museum of Flight is a whole campus with half a dozen or so big buildings, all filled with great artifacts.

A display of some of the first commercial model rockets.

An early Estes Astron Mark. Check out the identifier on the fin: NAR member #2, G Harry Stine.

The Fusillade, the museum’s display of a number of rockets collected at a NARAM and from clubs around the country.

Alice declared right away that “Andy would really really like these big ones!”
The colorful tall rocket in the center is the Aeropac, first hobby rocket to cross 100,000 feet.

FAI scale world champion from 1997.
It’s incredible. The physical detail is one thing, the fact that it flies and breaks up appropriately into the several stages is another. But what really struck me is the graphic work. The other elements I could see sinking a ton of time into and approximating the results. But I couldn’t even tell how they did the graphics, they were so crisp and smooth.

“AAAAAHHH, it’s too loud!”
So, ok, we’re maybe not ready yet to move on from model rockets to commanding an Apollo launch…