I stopped in Tillamook on a rainy day to see the air museum. From the highway the building looked impressive and is apparently the world’s largest wooden clear-span building. I pulled into the parking lot and found my way inside the former Navy hanger used to house K-class blimps. The museum is slightly deceiving however as it only fills up maybe a ¼ of the 1072 foot (326 m) hanger. It was a disappointment but it was also Tillamook, a small town in Oregon, so a huge air museum would not be logical.
I did find within the museum several examples of military planes, tanks and helicopters. Probably the most impressive part of the museum to me was the Russian MiG-17. This plane flies at a speed of 710 mph (1142 kph), has a wing span of 30 feet 9 inches (9.41 m) and a 52,296 ceiling height (15,939 m).
The US Navy A-7 Skyhawk sitting next to the MiG-17 held it’s own, but came up shy in a few comparisons: 693 mph (1115 kph), a ceiling height of 43,000 feet (13,106 m) but it’s wingspan beat out the MiG at 38 feet 9 inches (11.85 m) as well as range of the plane. The A-7 has a range of 2,300 miles (3701 km) whereas the MiG-17 only has a distance of 1075 miles (1730 km). An interesting fact about wingspan is that the larger the wingspan the more drag it creates, making the plane less effective at high speeds. On the flip side it requires a lower speed to keep the plane up in the air. The plane was a single seat carrier, which unfortunately meant there wasn’t any room for Goose. This plane is still actively flown just not by the United States military, who retired this plane in 2003.
Another plane worth admiring at the museum was the Tomcat F14-A. You may remember this plane from a certain movie that did allow Goose to sit in the back. A special treat was the staircase that carried you up to the top of the plane to give you a bird’s eye view of where Maverick and Goose would have sat. This plane has a wing span of 38 feet 9 inches (11.85), a ceiling height of 56,000 feet (1706 m) and flies at a speed of 1563 mph (2500 kph). Holy crap, right? This plane was retired from service in 2006.
Included in the museum tour, but found outside, is the Mini-Guppy. There is not much mini about this plane and I would be curious to see it’s “mommy”. This plane is one of two ever built, so it is quite a unique plane. The second Guppy did not have a long service, about two months, before it was tragically lost along with it’s crew on May 12th 1970. The surviving Guppy was mostly commissioned for carrying cargo throughout the years, which suits the plane quite well as it can hold 32,000 pounds (14,500 kg) of cargo. You can walk inside the the large cargo bay of 18 feet (5.5 m) by 73 feet (22.3 m) which makes you realize just how much cargo you could stuff in this plane. The Mini-Guppy has been at the Tillamook Air Museum since 1995 when it was retired from service.
The museum is open 9am – 5pm daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas) Admission to the museum is $9 for adults, $8 seniors, Military $7, Kids (6-17) $5 and 5 and under are free. There is outdoor parking and a dog walk outside the museum for anyone traveling with pets. The Tillamook Air Museum is located at 6030 Hanger Road Tillamook Oregon
PS on IMDB there is a Top Gun 2 listed as “announced” under Tom Cruise’s filmography. I ask you all to cross your fingers with me now to make that film become a reality.
And I will now leave you on the Highway to the Danger Zone.