Seattle: Tukwila Museum of Flight

Aviation nerd: checking in. I love aircraft, airports, radials and turbines, anything to do with flight. Had I been a little more assertive at a younger age, I’d have gone and earned a pilots license. As it sits, I’m content (mostly) to geek out at flight centres and museums. Luckily, aviation makes for marvellous photo subjects. 

I’m ruined for flight museums as the first real one I visited was Air & Space in DC. Still, they don’t have everything. Still on my list to admire in person are a STS, Saturn V, U2, B1-B and many others. We had a good go-round on Twitter recently about the double-edge sword of military aircraft. Shaped by necessity, warplanes can be amongst the most beautiful things designed by man. I checked a box next to a few of the greats on this visit.

The Tukwila Museum of Flight has a large collection, partly sponsored by hometown hero Boeing. The original Boeing design shed is restored and part of the static displays. Wooden models, early turbines, airframes and advertising fill the rooms of the timber frame.

Airframe: shed
Airframe: shed
Turbine: shed
Turbine: shed
Models: shed
Models: shed

There is a two-level gallery of warplanes from both world wars, and I was delighted to see my first P38. They had a Corsair on display that was salvaged from the bottom of a lake and returned to full working condition. Upstairs the Great War gallery houses a selection of rare and delicate pioneers of flight. Too dark for the speed I was shooting, so no film shots here.

Sopwith
Sopwith
Curtiss
Curtiss
WW2 Gallery
WW2 Gallery
Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt
YAK-9U
YAK-9U
Nakajima Hayabusa
Nakajima Hayabusa

Moving onto the main gallery, I was like a kid in a candy shop.

Great Gallery
Great Gallery
Great Gallery
Great Gallery
DC3
DC3
Caged Birds
Caged Birds

I was rounding a display, head in the ceiling and heard a squeal up ahead. Embarrassingly it was aimed at me. A young lady was manning the flight simulator booth and was losing her cool over the Rollei. I offered her a go and she accepted, quivering. Definitely one of the more awkward experiences I’ve had strolling with cameras.

Yours Truly: backfocused
Yours Truly: backfocused
Soyuz
Soyuz

I’ve finally seen the M21/D21 and a Lockheed Electra. In the same room! It was fantastic seeing two of my favourites for the first time together.

Electra Nose
Electra Nose
Flight Surface
Flight Surface
Electra Selfie
Electra Selfie
Electra Sweep
Electra Sweep

Where the Electra was straight-up 30’s elegance, the Blackbird looked like it should be hot to the touch. It was an early ’63 CIA plane, and remains in raw titanium bar the leading and trailing edges. The Drone hid high up between the aircrafts stabilizers, so it was hard to see.

M21/D21B
M21/D21B
Business end
Business end
M21
M21
Sweep
Sweep

Moving outdoors, static displays include a Concorde, F-18, and a Kennedy era Air Force One.

Roller
Roller
Bendy Concorde
Bendy Concorde

These outdoor images were shot and pushed to 3200, with a dark green filter installed. The grain is out of this world, a very classic look.

Concorde
Concorde
Concorde
Concorde
Super Connie
Super Connie
Proper
Proper
TWA
TWA
'MERICA
‘MERICA

Now that everyone is bored to tears, I have to say the Tukwila Museum of Flight was worth the trip out from Queen Anne. Looking over the website now, after visiting, there are many aircraft in stages of restoration as well as a whole pavilion on the 787 that isn’t yet open for guests.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this set, as well as the other two instalments of our first trip to the Pacific Northwest.


Monotone images in this set are courtesy of Rolleiflex MX, F3.5 Xenar, loaded with Ilford 400 mostly pushed to 3200. Processing and scan are Ilford Ilfosol3 and Epson Perfection 3200 Photo. Colour images are courtesy of the handy iPhone 6.

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