Oregon Blimp Hangar Ranks Among Coolest Aviation Museums

cool air museums
An A-7 at the Tillamook Air Museum.

It never fails to amaze me how many aviation museums I can stumble across. My latest one is the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon.

To be honest, I didn’t even plan to stop. I’ve seen more aviation museums than I can remember. And the Tillamook Air Museum doesn’t exactly have a huge collection. My plans to skip it ended when I saw the words “AIR MUSEUM” in about 50,000-point font painted on the side a blimp hangar — which also happens to be the world’s largest wooden structure. The overall mojo of the building alone makes it one of the more interesting aviation museums I’ve ever seen.

cool aviation museums
The lighting conditions in the Tillamook Air Museum make things interesting.

Even if the Tillamook Air Museum was completely empty, I’d still stop just to see the inside of the building. It’s that impressive, imposing and unusual – especially out in coastal Oregon. The hangar is the last one left on the site after the second hangar burned down in the 1990s. Less than half the surviving hangar houses the museum, while the rest is RV and boat storage (brilliant re-use of a huge building, really).

But I found a few cool surprises that elevated the experience to one of the better aviation museums: My favorites were the Mini-Guppy, MiG-17, A-7 and F-14 Tomcat. There are also some rather neat gyrocopters and homebrewed private planes in the collection.

cool aviation museums
The Guppy is a centerpiece of the Tillamook Air Museum.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention any WWII warbirds, despite Tillamook Air Museum claiming to be one of the best WWII aviation museums. Some of the static displays and memorabilia are great WWII items, but most of it is post-1940s era.

I was just as fascinated by the area around the hangar as I was by the aircraft collection. The area was known as Naval Air Station Tillamook. It also had airfields and railways; some of the rail lines still house derelict steam and diesel locomotives, which I thought was extra-cool.

My advice: Stop if you are anywhere nearby. It’s $9 for an adult admission to one of the more unusual aviation museums you’ll ever see.

cool aviation museums
The huge interior of the Tillamook Air Museum.
cool aviation museums
I see your blimp is as big as mine. Let’s see how well you use cool aviation museums

A funny-looking chopper at the Tillamook Air Museum.

cool aviation museums
The Mini Guppy looks like one of those Martians from Mars Attacks.
cool aviation museums
There’s cool stuff outside the Tillamook Air Museum, too.

This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!

By Wandering Justin

Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.

Sound Off!

%d bloggers like this: