McMinnville – Part 2

(Once again, a reminder that you can enlarge any image by clicking on it)

The last blog was cut short when the host, WordPress, informed me that I had used up all my cyber bits and bytes. I had to purchase a business-grade subscription. I was delighted to hear from several subscribers who wanted a part 2. So, now I’ll now finish my photo essay on this wonderful aviation museum. No matter how many photos I post, it is impossible to portray the enormity of this incredible display.

Oh those Russians! There is an amazing number of Russian equipment on display. We tend to forget that the Russians have always been a forerunner in aviation and space technology. These copper borscht kettles are enormous.
I remember Yuri. he followed monkeys into space. They all survived their flights.
Nice ride Yuri!
A pointed relic of the cold war.
“Oof, it must’ve been something I ate!”
“Aw quit your whining and get back in here. It smells fine inside my suit.”
Sikorskys in a row. I have bent wrenches on the two types on the right, an S-55 and an S-58
An S-56. This was a new one on me. It is described as the world’s first heavy-lift helicopter introduced during the Korean War. What a pig it would have been to fly! Note the little girl at the tail. I could just reach the white band on the lowest tail rotor blade. Now let’s clear something up. If you go to U-tube and look up Nazi helicopters, you’ll learn that the Germans had heavy-lift helicopters in the late 1930s! There are films of them flying artillery field pieces. So…fake news? Uh huh!
Remember the Jetson cartoon of the ’60s and the notion of personal commuter aircraft? This is a McCulloch J2 autogyro from that era. It is, apparently, still available from a Nevada builder now as the Pegasus III. At the same time, in Canada, a similar aircraft was produced called the Avian Gyroplane. Despite government subsidies it followed the dodo bird south, just like the Avro Arrow. Today, with some wonderful composite plastic materials available, there are several new-gen gyro products being built. I’ve always wanted one.
The flying lawn chair. This is a home-built Benson autogyro. Plans and kits are still available. I flew one once. That was enough…no airbags! The 2-stroke McCulloch engine on the back was used in WWII target drones.
Of course! The military explores all the angles.
“I just dropped in to see if you have any hand grenades.”

 

A Piasecki Vertol H-21. I have some personal experience helping repair these clatter boxes. Introduced the 1950’s, they were being surplused out from the military by the mid-sixties.. With a metal fuselage, they still twirled wooden rotors.
A Piasecki HRP1 from 1944. With wooden rotors and fabric over tube fuselages, it would take one brave soldier to go for a ride into battle in one of these.
Remember the 1954 film ‘The Bridges At Toko Ri’?
Mickey Rooney played the pilot of one of these rescue machines. It is a Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly.
The office, full of steam gauges and switches. This is the cockpit of an F4 Phantom. Imagine having an intimate knowledge of every item there so you could invade the steaming skies of Vietnam while trying to evade a herd of Mig fighters trying to blow some smoke up your bottom. Today’s fighters have a full electronic display and lots of computers to help you make it all work.
The F4 Phantom
Jet fighters are everywhere, inside and out. I lost track. This is an F84 Thunderchief.
One of the engines from the SR71 Blackbird which could fling it at up to several times the speed of sound and to 70,000′. The huge evil-looking black beast carried cameras.
The SR71 looks like an angel of death from every angle.
I prefer biplanes.
I kept wondering how the museum acquires all these items. It is amazing how billions of dollars in military assets are relegated to the scrap heap.10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- Gone!
Even the humble Piper J3 Cub, all 65 horsepower of it was turned into a weapon called the ‘Grasshopper.’ A light observation aircraft, someone figured out how to lash bazookas to the wings.
The Cessna 337 was similarly employed during the Vietnam conflict.
I can’t take it anymore!
A Skyraider, designed for stowage aboard an aircraft carrier. That monster was flung off the deck with the aid of a steam catapult. It’s something I always wanted to do…as a passenger.
From this…
…To This! In a single century! Imagine if we had applied the same diligence and resources to eliminating war, starvation, malnutrition, and disease. What if we presented God as being on everyone’s side? We would not need all those war toys. It is all a matter of choices and the first should be to overcome our insatiable craving for possession and control.
Finally, I could take no more. The photos in this and the previous blog are by no means all of which I took. Outside there was more. Scrap heaps of parts and engines sit randomly in the dirt and pouring rain.
Like my headers? A corn-cob radial anguishes out in the weather.
The drip! I could not resist this parting shot of the hand of the bronze statue of the museum founder.

 

McMinnville

It is a real place and home of a very fine aviation exhibition, The Evergreen Aviation Museum. I arrived too late to go in for a self-guided tour. I would need at least a half day. They let me park in the back corner, dry-camping next to old US Air Force rockets. There are four massive buildings. The largest one houses the Hughes Hercules and is nearly big enough to fly some of the small aircraft I have known, around inside it! The massive airplane is known worldwide as the “Spruce Goose” although it is actually built almost entirely of birch plywood. Howie himself flew it, once. An icon of dreams, it is the world’s largest wooden airplane ever and among the world’s largest airplanes, even today. Of all the amazing achievements of old weird Howard, this is the big one. Just imagine all the people telling him and his crew that it couldn’t be done. But he did, and so did it. Then WW II ended and the need for a massive air transport machine ended, at least for the time being.

The whole goose and nothing but the goose. This is the centerpiece of all the exhibits, around it and underneath it.
Inside, looking aft. It cost another $39.US to see the flight deck and have your photo taken. No, I did not.
A brilliantly-done cutaway of Pratt and Whitney R-4360. The Goose used eight of these. Each engine had 28 cylinders (With two spark plugs per cylinder for a total of 56 on each engine) They produced a net horsepower of 3500. The Goose sported eight of these. “I say old chap, number seven is a bit rough don’t you think.”  The flight engineer was a very busy fellow.
” Now son, I want you to change the spark plugs. When you’re done on this wing, do the other one. Don’t drop anything.”
The office up there.
Big smoothie. The huge Hughes.
One wing sponson dwarfs a beautiful Curtis Robin.
Where the money came from. Howard Hughes Sr invented this drill bit. He refused to sell it to oil companies, and instead leased it. Howard JR inherited the massive wealth at age 19 and started messing with airplanes. He was, by all accounts, a very skillful test pilot.
A Bell D1, the ubiquitous M.A.S.H. helicopter. Part of my apprenticeship was spent working on these. Wooden main rotors, dozens of grease fittings, it was crude. To trim the aircraft for varying loads, you slide the battery to the correct position in the tailboom.
Just think of it!
A Beech 17 Staggerwing.
When it hit the civilian market in the 1930’s it was faster than anything the US military possessed at that time.
A Pietenpol, probably one of the first home-built designs ever. The engine is from a Ford Model A
One of my flying mentors built one of these during the Great Depression and made an income selling rides. As he travelled, he’d sleep beneath a wing at night. There should be a song: “And that’s why I hit the tree, I couldn’t see, there was a radiator right in front of me.” These are still being built today with modern engines.
Them’s the brakes. A primitive toe-brake on a Curtis Pusher (That means the engine pushes instead of pulls. OK!)
A GeeBee Sportster, gentle sister of the GeeBee racer as portrayed with the model on the floor.
A beautiful full-scale replica of Lindberg’s famous “Spirit Of Saint Louis.” There were others who made the Atlantic crossing in little airplanes when we seldom hear of, but hi was the first successful crossing.
A misty-eyed moment for me. This is a Bell Huey, the most famous Vietnam helicopter. When I was graduating from high school in 1969 three friends  and I were determined to join the US Army. (30,000 Canadians went to ‘Nam) We could learn to fly helicopters for free! The first friend went ahead…and came home in a Glad Bag. We became a lot smarter overnight. It was my second consideration of a military career, and I lost interest for good.
A Le Rhone rotary engine. First World War technology. It was used in an airplane designed to kill…only a few years after powered flight had been proven possible. It was crude. The cylinders spun with the propellor. A 2-stroke engine, the lubricant used was castor oil, which flew everywhere. Pilots carried spare googles to exchange ones which had become coated with oil.
A DC3, probably the world’s most well known aircraft. Introduced in the late 1930s, it was the first to have a full-cantilever wing. (No external bracing) Eighty years later, many are still earning a living in skies around the planet.
An ME 262, the world’s first operational jet fight. Fortunately for us, allied bombers obliterated the factories where these were being built.
These are both real flyable airplanes, a kit-built helicopter and a Bede 4 personal jet. The little boy was completely fascinated by the jet, a perfect size for him.
A FW 190., another very respected Luftwaffe fighter. With its massive BMW radial engine, monstrous torque high-propellor, pigeon’toed undercarriage and short fuselage, this machine must have been a beast to handle while on the ground.

 

Even as modern airplanes go, the Goose thing is a monster. I am amazed at the survival of this wooden wonder. How it has not rotted or burned in 75 years is yet another wonder. The aircraft that I came to see is the only one of its kind ever built. This is my Mecca, the object of a pilgrimage for a guy who has been flying and otherwise messing around with airplanes his whole life. I’m hoping to find inspiration to cope with some tough weeks ahead. I’ve looked up at it already. The only time I’ve know that same feeling before was when I stepped aboard ‘Cutty Sark’ in Greenwich.

The museum itself is massive with its four huge (Ha… Hughes, get it?) buildings, three are for display and a third is a swimming pool. They have somehow hoisted a Boeing 747 (Imagine the fleet of monster cranes required to work in full co-ordination…with no wind)) onto the roof and converted it into the apex of a water slide. The parking lot behind the buildings would be adequate for landing smaller aircraft.. Imagine having rows of jet fighters for lawn ornaments!

Now that’s a lawn ornament!
It sure beats plastic flamingos or garden gnomes. It is a Lockheed T-33 or ‘Shooting Star’ I remember then from my early childhood. they are still flying in a few countries.
Am American drone clone. The US decided to copy the German V-1 and use it for a target drone. Someone has been droning on about something ever since.
Then came the V-2, brainchild of Wernher von Braun. It was the beginning of the space age.
There is something to amaze everyone, even if they’re not interested in aviation or space travel.
How about the lunar RVer?
Or…the lunar ATVer?
After a while sensory overload began to kick in. I began to worry about missing something. I’m sure I did.

The exhibits go on and on, with a movie theatre complex in the middle of the complex. I am a small airplane guy and there were plenty of these dispersed among the big fellows, both civilian and military. It was a dull overcast day for taking photographs, but I managed to click off about one-hundred-fifty frames that I’m keeping. That is a lot of editing. I could have easily taken twice as many.

Evergreen, a private enterprise, draws a very close second to the amazing Boeing aircraft museum in Seattle which doesn’t have a water park. Ha! It also doesn’t have the Goose or, the SR71 Blackbird. There are also two other great aviation museums in the state of Oregon, one in Tillamook and another in Madras. Here are a few of the photos taken at Evergreen, I once again repeat myself in saying that they don’t begin to compare with actually seeing this operation in the flesh. When I was growing up in the post-war, pre-space age, aviation was still a bit of a novelty. That, despite the massive aviation advancements of WWII. By the time we had put men on the moon the reality of flying machines had become a ho-hum fact of everyday life. We no longer look up when an aircraft passes overhead. Yet, clearly, there are a great many people who do hold a deep fascination for a highly and still rapidly evolving technology which is only a little over a century old.

I have long held the theory that the human race is not indigenous to this planet. We certainly do not fit in here. As far back as we know, we have had an affinity for the sky, for the stars, for flight. God is always from somewhere up there ( God being the concept which is our convenient pigeon-hole for all that we cannot comprehend including love, wisdom and infinity) Many of our wisest ancients speculated on ways and means to rise above our earthly bonds. We have scrambled frantically to fly, then to fly ever higher and faster. It is a compulsion which now has us sending machines beyond the known edges of our universe, looking for ways to personally visit and inhabit places like Mars. I believe that it is all part of that ancient quest to find our way home. Yet at the same time, we need to look within and consider our aberrant nature, and that that is perhaps why our ancient ancestors were dropped off here. Once we realize the way to get along with each other, as well as other species, only then will we be truly ready to go home. Then we won’t need to. In the meantime, to survive that long, we need to become considerably more gracious toward the beautiful planet that is hosting us. For now, it is the only place we have.

The computer grinch says that I have run out of space for any more photos in this blog, even in my edited series. I’ve challenged him three times because there is so much more to show. If, readers care to send a comment in favour of posting a part 2 to this particular blog, I’ll be glad to post more images. Happy Landings!

“Sometimes, flying feels too godlike to be attained by man. Sometimes, the world from above seems too beautiful, too wonderful, too distant for human eyes to see. ”   

Charles A. Lindbergh