Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hiller Aviation Museum

The Hiller Aviation Museum, in San Carlos, California, offers a terrific aviation experience for flight fans of all ages.

Focused on the many historic achievements in flight from Northern California, the museum is filled with exhibits dating back to the dawn of flight in the 1800s, including the Avitor (an "aeroplane" that flew on the San Francisco Peninsula), a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, and the Buhl Autogiro (a precursor to helicopters). The present includes a Pan Am Clipper, Boeing SST, and an exhibit about Women in Aviation. The future looks to the Oblique Wing, Blended Wing, and NASA Swing Wing. Engines are displayed, as are jet packs.

But the museum is not just about looking, it is also about experiencing. Visitors can try their virtual hand at flying and landing a flying platform and a helicopter, and check out the Flight Sim Zone.

Just outside the museum building sits the front end of an actual Boeing 747, where visitors can climb into the cockpit and see the incredible amount of switches, levers, and controls pilots use to keep a commercial jet going.

A children's area is provided downstairs with riding airplanes, coloring, and other hands-on activities for little ones.
For those interested in learning how old aircraft are brought back to life, the museum has a restoration workshop where visitors can watch through huge windows the dedicated craftsmen preparing new exhibits and lovingly restoring aviation's past.

For more field trip ideas,
check out GHF's Virtual Field Trips pageal Field Trips page.
The museum also provides many education and scout programs, as well as a monthly reading time and the Captain Michael King Smith Research Library. The museum store offers an extensive selection of aviation books, posters, crafts, gifts, and toys.

For airplane and helicopter watchers, the museum sits right next to the San Carlos Airport, and even has a raised observation area.

Finally, just down the road is a flight-themed Burger King, complete with an actual helicopter for children to play in and have their imaginations take flight.

Location, directions, admission hours, tickets prices, and membership information can all be found at the Hiller Aviation Museum's website.

Article by Sarah J. Wilson

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