It was on the Ducati, over the border and down to Everett, WA where the Flying Heritage Museum lives in a couple of hangers next to Boeing.
The majority of the planes in the collection are airworthy and it shows. A lot of WWII hardware can actually take to the skies. When I visited, the fleet was at rest and it was wonderful to roam around a diverse collection of mainly US, German and British planes with a smattering of Japanese and Russian aircraft for good measure.
To add to the spectacle, the museum also has a number of armoured vehicles that are also able to break free of the hanger confines and strut their stuff outside.
This private collection of Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) has been growing since 1998. The desire to have fully operational artifacts rather than static museum pieces whenever possible really sets the collection apart. There's a short 'bio' of each artifact that feeds the imagination making it easy to close one's eyes and visualise that Spitfire or Mustang in the air. The exhibits are simply meticulously prepared and I could have watched the guys working on a ME109 for a long time.
Whilst getting a shot of the SCUD carrier tracks (I was trying to capture the hardware from different perspectives) I had an impromptu chat with Vince from Montana, an older guy visiting the collection. It was a pleasure to meet someone, know the area where he lives and then head off, never to see him again. A small slice of life where journeys meet, paths cross and then go their own way.
It's difficult to pinpoint a favourite exhibit, although I will say that I have a soft spot for the de Havilland Mosquito, maybe because it was such an accomplished all-rounder. Yes, it is possible to do many things to a high standard!
I'm not a military buff, I don't get a romantic kick from armed conflict, it's the design aesthetic of the machinery that attracts me. I also appreciate how innovation can be fast-tracked by the immediate needs of the time. The museums artifacts act as a reminder of testing times for the world, surely times that as a species we do not want to revisit, whilst coincidentally bringing a real appreciation of design and ingenuity. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to FHCAM and will be making a return visit on one of their flying days.
On the photographic side, I had my PEN-F with me and the 14-42 pancake lens along with my 25 (nifty 50). I'm currently finding the 25mm, 1.8 so versatile and most of the images I've posted were made using this lens. Rather than try to capture the complete aircraft or armoured vehicle, I was looking for unique views to showcase different elements of the design. I've recognised that the results are not that dissimilar to some of the stills in the closing shots on old Thunderbirds shows, my memories are being raided for inspiration.