A Seattle Day Trip For Aviation Fans

Seattle Day Trip

A Seattle day trip could mean visiting a variety of places. Think “Seattle” and images or thoughts of the Space Needle, Starbucks Coffee or TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” might come to mind. But not far from the heart of the city is Paine Field airport where several attractions represent the past, present and future of aviation. Any one of them is worth a visit. Bundle several together and it’s a day trip from heaven for aviation fans.

Seattle’s Boeing Everett Factory houses the largest indoor manufacturing facility in the world. The space is so big that it can hold 33 football fields and make its own weather system if not properly ventilated. It’s also the home of the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will keep workers busy well into the future. We took a 90-minute tour, walking through the construction process from start to finish.
Next door, Boeing’s Future of Flight Aviation Center is also an interesting walk-through facility designed to stimulate innovative thinking.

Future of Flight includes an aviation gallery with interactive exhibits and displays, a rooftop observation deck overlooking Paine Field, full-size jet aircraft engines, a cutaway slice of an actual passenger jet that shows the areas passengers don’t see and more.

Voted one of the top aviation attractions in the world, visitors can take the only public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America at the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour. The center features everything from airplane designs, materials, engines and flight systems to flight simulators.

Taking a unique look at the history of flight, two other places of interest to aviation fans, the Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation, have nearly 30 actual, flying aircraft meant to be seen, touched and flown.

The Flying Heritage Collection has pieces created with leading technologies of the 1930s and 1940s as combat aircraft in World War II. The collection has U.S., British, German, Russian and Japanese aircraft types, many of which were often pitted against each other in great air battles.

The surviving aircraft were researched, found and sometimes recovered from former battlegrounds and airfields, then authentically restored.

Each summer, planes from the Flying Heritage Collection are flown to keep them operational and exercised on a regular basis. History buffs and aviation fans gather to witness the beauty of the vintage aircraft as they return to the skies, if only briefly. Year-round, some of the aircraft are available for hire, taking fans up in the air to view the area much like aviators of the past would have.

Another venue, the Historic Flight Foundation has engaged the best restoration resources available to return their collection to original splendor. Most always using original parts, the Historic Flight Foundation often searches the world over for what they need to keep the collection in the air. Those who work the collection are quick to point out “this is not a museum; our planes fly”.

Volunteer docents, many with first-hand knowledge about the operation and maintenance of their combined fleet, are eager to share their love of aviation with visitors.

Special events, open to the public, run throughout the summer and into the fall. Continuing this weekend, the Flying Heritage Collection continues its Fly Days series with the Battle of Britain Day on August 25, the IL-2 Debut on September 15 and the Ground Attack Day on September 29.




Photos- Chris Owen

Photo Of The Day: Coca Cola Everywhere

Like the golden arches, the green-backed mermaid and the swooping “Just Do It” check, the red and white Coca Cola logo is that ubiquitous symbol of American capitalism that’s near impossible to escape abroad. Flickr user Kurt Schmidt captured today’s Photo of the Day on the Cvjetni Trg in Zagreb, Croatia, achieving the vintage effect with the help of Instagram. He must have read our recent editorial about whether the mobile editing application is bastardizing travel photography, because he apologized for using the filter: “just liked it!” he wrote in the description. But in this photo of such a classic icon, it works.

Have you encountered symbols from home in the places you least expected? Upload your travel shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

World’s only ski-up Starbucks open for business at Squaw Valley

squaw valley diningTwo days ago, while visiting my brother and his family in Lake Tahoe, my nephew uttered the words I’d hoped never to hear. “Starbucks just opened a ski-up window at Squaw’s Gold Coast mid-mountain complex!” he snorted, before pondering aloud how it was possible to ski with a triple venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte while wearing gloves and holding poles.

Truly, I think the world has enough Starbucks in it, and if you can’t get through a day of skiing without a fix, you just might have a problem. Not everyone feels that way, however, as reported on Eater.com today. Says Squaw Valley president and CEO Andy Wirth, “Nowhere else in the world can skiers and riders enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee without missing a beat on the slopes.” My nephew might disagree with the logistics of that statement, but never underestimate the power of a Frappuccino habit.

How to Break the Caffeine Addiction Cycle

A video tour of 1950′s London’s swingin’ coffee bars

Contrary to popular belief, tea is not the only popular beverage served in London. In fact, ever since the first Italian espresso machine crash landed in England in 1952, London has had a swinging coffee culture. Now thanks to the vintage documentary reel above, you can take your own tour back in time to the beginnings of London’s fledgling coffee shop scene.

Hit play and enter a time when coffee was the king of cool, inside a smoky, bohemian coffee bar, packed to the rafters with young Londoners gleefully puffing on cigarettes as a lively soundtrack of jazz wafts above them. It’s as much a tour of the city’s coffee bars as it is an intriguing artifact of a London that has moved on to trendier pursuits and hangouts. This morning, go grab yourself another cup off the pot and settle in for an intriguing cross-section of life in 1950′s London.

Get Lonely Planet’s 2012 travel guide free this week at Starbucks

lonely planetPlanning a trip for 2012? We’d suggest you do it over a Starbucks coffee this week. The chain’s weekly iTunes’ “Pick of the Week” cards are featuring a redemption code to download Lonely Planet‘s Best in Travel 2012 from the iBookstore for free.

Featuring Lonely Planet’s top places to visit and experiences for 2012, this full-color eBook can only help guide your travel planning for the upcoming year.