Tillamook is famous for its cheese, more than 1 million people visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory every year where they produce the countries finest cheddar. But our story is not about cheese but rather about airships.
According to Wikipedia an airship or dirigible is a type of aerostatic aircraft that stays aloft by having a large “envelope” filled with a gas which is less dense than the surrounding atmosphere, most people know them as Zeppelins.
You cannot miss the large sign next to the US101 on the southern side of Tillamook that reads “Air Museum”. Our fascination for anything that flies was immediately captured on seeing this, and the closer we got to it the more astounded we were at the size of the building. You could easily see that it is an aircraft hanger but the sheer size of this building is just indescribable. You can park a Boeing inside and it will get lost in this huge hanger.
The hanger doors are huge and if you stand in front of this building you are smaller than an ant, the museum is housed in a former military blimp hangar, called “Hangar B”, which is the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.
On the tarmac outside the Museum stands a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser a large long-range airliner built after World War II, this one was converted into a mini – Guppy mainly used for cargo transport. It is the museums’ intention to restore the Stratocruiser but the materials alone are an estimated USD250,000.
In the picture below Marius is standing in the belly of the Guppy.
Going inside the hanger, it is filled with the most amazing range of planes, inside the hanger, you cannot fathom the sheer size it built out of wood. The hanger was built in 1942 and used primarily to house blimps. The station was the base of operations for Squadron ZP-33, with a complement of 8 K-ships which were designed for patrol and escort duties. It is estimated that these airships escorted more than 89,000 US ships during the II world war.
Below is a photo of a ZMC-2, a metal-clad airship which was the prototype for metal ships, however these were never produced in quantity and used for training and experimentation.
Below are some more great pictures from the museum, if you love planes as much as we do we recommend you visit this museum.
Above is myself and behind me is the P-38 Lightning, this is also the Trip Turbine logo and our mascot.