Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Hello from Sea Tac, Washington!

Start time: 0845

Start odometer: 22616

Weather: Cloudy day, temperature 49 degrees F.


Spent the majority of the day indoors at two museums.  I helped close the second one at 1700, and when I attempted to drive south on US 5, I got caught up in rush hour traffic.  I saw hotels listed at the next exit, and decided to stop for the evening.  This area supports SeaTac airport, as the field is about one and one-half miles away.


The first stop was at Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, several museums and theatres.  My objective was to see the Experience Music Project (EMP), suggested to me first by a couple I met in Minnesota, as well as others I met along the way.  The EMP opened during the summer of 2000 and provides visitors with quite a variety of entertainment, history, and displays of many facets of music.  An area is dedicated to hands on experience with playing musical instruments, mixing, singing, allowing people to create their own recordings.  They even have a ride similar to the Star Wars ride at the Disney parks!  This hydraulically driven ride allows you to follow the story of two people trying to learn "the funk" after meeting James Brown!  A bit of a stretch!  But I did enjoy the EMP for its great displays and exhibits, including a retrospective of guitars over the past couple of centuries.  Onsite is the worlds largest video screen.  They also had a very tall sculpture called Roots and Branches, containing more than 500 guitars and other instruments.


Worthy of note is the interactive displays and units given to visitors to allow them to choose what they want to hear.  A large display would have a main audio accompaniment you select by pressing a button on a portable unit with headphones.  Many of the smaller portions of the display would have a number that you could press on the portable unit to retrieve more information.  I thought this was a very good system to have in a place like this.


In the bottom level near the restaurant and store is the Digital Room, a space with many computer stations to allow the visitor to access the database containing all the displays in all exhibits.  You can review any of the exhibits, as well as listen to whole albums that only featured clips when heard on the exhibition floor.  Another great feature was the allowance of the visitor to set bookmarks of particular interest, then send them to your home e-mail address to allow further access from home.  Well done!  However, pictures were not permitted in most of the facility, so please look at their web site.

Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

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The exterior of EMP.

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The Space Needle.  I had been up it before, and decided not to re-visit it.

I returned to US 5 and headed south a few miles to near Renton, Washington.  This is the location of Boeing Field, where the company builds and delivers their 737 and 757 aircraft.  This is also the location of the Museum of Flight, my second museum for the day.  What an incredible place!  I took a tour with a Docent to get a great overview of the facility and some of the aircraft.  The tour starts at the original Boeing red barn, the first facility Boeing used to build airplanes.  It had been moved to its current location by boat quite a few years ago.  In the upper level are the engineer offices, with blueprints on display of some of their early aircraft.  Many displays of older aircraft and parts are positioned throughout the building, which is attached to another, larger building.  

There are many aircraft both inside and outside of the museum.  I also found the USAir aircraft mentioned by my friend Coyne!  Aircraft 213, an old 737-200, that had its wings trimmed and aft section removed.  Video screens have been added to the interior for a movie showing a story about commercial aircraft.

Outside they have one of the original Air Force One 707 aircraft and allow you to walk through it.  Plus, they have the original Boeing 747 aircraft!  It is a few hundred yards away, as they have not decided where room is available to place it nearer the museum buildings!

Space travel is also on display, with a Space Station mockup, an Apollo capsule, and a Soyuz capsule.  A mockup of an Air Traffic Control tower can be visited, with panels describing how the system is set up and maintained.  Can you tell I enjoyed this place?

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The former Air Force One, which on one trip was used to carry Nixon to China.

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USAir A/C 213

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Interior of 213.  Seating is two by two.

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Another exterior shot.

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The museum provided a cutout view of the baggage compartment.  I am glad they cleaned my comments off the walls from when I loaded cargo in there!

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An SR-71 with a drone attached.

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Beyond Air Force One, the front section of the first 747 to be built.

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The Presidential Office aboard Air Force One.

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A view from the left rear door looking forward.

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Vertical stabilizer and rudder.

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An old Curtiss.

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A refurbished "Jenny".  The people that rebuilt this aircraft decided to keep the canvas off and show the intricate details of the wings and fuselage. 

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One of many fighters on display.

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Used by the Blue Angels.

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Another view of the gallery.

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Outside by the parking area are may Boeing aircraft.  Included in this picture; an experimental test aircraft with an interesting wing above the cockpit, an AWACS aircraft, and a freight aircraft with a guppy style body.

Tomorrow, if I do not decide to go back to the Museum of Flight, I will head to Mount Rainier, then to the west coast near Neah Bay, and where "a 30-minute hike takes visitors to the northwestern most point in the contiguous United States."  Right up my alley!  Thank you for viewing the page.  

Routes traveled today: Blaine local roads - US 5 - Seattle local roads - US 5 - Side streets to Museum of Flight - US 5

Lodging: Motel 6 -

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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