Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum McMinnville, Oregon

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Not long ago, we had the pleasure of visiting two aviation museums.  The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon and Wings Over the Rockies at the former Lowry AFB near Denver Colorado.

Both present something truly unique in the aviation field along with the standard static displays of military, commercial, and civilian aircraft.  In this post, let’s start with Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum where you can see the aeronautical designs of Orville & Wilbur Wright alongside Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose!

First envisioned by Capt. Michael King Smith (an F-15 fighter pilot with the Oregon National Guard, son of Evergreen International Aviation founder Delford Smith, and president of Evergreen Ventures, Inc.), the museum began with a small collection of vintage aircraft in a hangar at the company headquarters in 1991.  With the purchase of the Spruce Goose in 1992, the museum expanded, from necessity, to accommodate the sheer size of that massive aircraft.

Today, the museum occupies 2 sleek, modern glass and metal hangars located in a vineyard across the road from the McMinnville Municipal Airport.

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Evergreen International Aviation, Inc., founded in 1960 by Delford M. Smith, was known for commercial helicopter operations in agricultural and forestry applications. The airline division operated all-cargo Boeing 747 freighters.
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Delford Smith’s son, Michael who died in an auto accident in 1995, is memorialized in many ways around the museum. Here, we can see the F-15 he flew in the Oregon Air National Guard.
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When visiting the Spruce Goose, volunteers will provide history and commentary about Howard Hughes and his amazing airplane.
Here we are, at the controls of the Spruce Goose!
Here we are, at the controls of the Spruce Goose!
View from the cockpit of the Spruce Goose.
View from the cockpit of the Spruce Goose.
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The Spruce Goose, officially known as the H-4 Hercules, flew only once and for less than 1 minute, less than a mile, and only 70 feet above the water on November 2, 1947. Howard Hughes was at the controls.
The F-100 Super Sabre.
The F-100 Super Sabre.
The F-4 Phantom II.
The F-4 Phantom II.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The SR-71.
The SR-71.
A  MIG-23 Flogger.
A MIG-23 Flogger.
“On June 3, 1965, astronaut Ed White pushed open the hatch on Gemini IV and took America’s first “step” into space.”
The Spruce Goose overshadowing all other aircraft. This hangar was built specifically for the huge airplane!
Michael King Smith’s goal was to create a significant aviation museum. He died before the dream was fully realized. If he could see it now, he’d be proud! This is a facility well worth a visit!
What an awesome experience!
What an awesome experience!


The next post will show you the Wings Over the Rockies Museum near Denver, Colorado.  Fredrick Arnold ‘s moving and emotional sculpture, Lest We Forget:  The Mission, is on display there until April 2019 when it will move to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

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