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Thread: Hillar Aviation Museum. Dialup users Beware.

  1. #1
    ian408
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    Hillar Aviation Museum. Dialup users Beware.

    Today, as I was wandering around, I heard the sweet sound of a twin engine
    aircraft. The sound reminded me that I haven't been to the Hiller Aviation
    Museum in some time.

    Let's just say the ride North to San Carlos was quick but did begin with a
    trip to Kal's. A local hamburger joint that happens to serve good old fashion
    breakfast. A great way to start the day!

    Commuters pass by the museum, located just off of Highway 101 at Holly Street,
    and see this.



    A sculpture outside the museum



    Hiller Aviation features planes and exhibits that chronicle aviation in Northern
    California. Notably, the Hiller Aviation Company of which Stanley Hiller Jr. is
    the founder. Hiller Aviation was located in East Palo Alto and employed almost
    2000 people during it's heyday. Hiller spent most of his career designing and
    building helicopters for the military.









    One of the largest displays is this



    And the flight deck looks like this



    Many of the more modern jet liners, including this Boeing SST were restored
    with assistance from United Airlines Mechanics.



    Here's model of the SST's cabin layout



    A mockup of the old Stanford wind tunnel



    Suspended from the ceiling is this Boeing Condor. It's wing span
    is enormous. 201 feet. Almost the entire length of the museum.
    Powered by a six cylinder engine, the plane was capable of flights
    lasting 80 hours. Not to worry, it's an unmanned aircraft.



    Also featured is this NASA Swing Wing aircraft



    And something you've likely seen at an air show somewhere, a
    Christian Eagle.



    One of the old Pan Am flying boats crashed North East of San
    Carlo near Chico California. A plaque just outside the museum
    honors those that perished.



    Hope you enjoyed my visit to the Hiller Aviation Museum and I
    leave you with the obligatory ride shot, a view through the
    windscreen of San Francisco. Trust me, it's straight in front
    of you




    Ian

  2. #2
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ian. I've enjoyed the museum too, and it was nice to see a few of the exhibits again. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Condor and the one-person rescue helicopter (dropped by 'chute to stranded pilots; fits in a 10" x 8' (I'm guessing) cylinder. Another favorite is the cutaway three-row radial engine (mid-50s high-water mark of piston power): it's maybe four feet across and ten or twelve feet long.

    It's a great place.

    (And for those who like aviation museums: make sure to see the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, OR, which has a nice variety of planes parked around Hughes' Spruce Goose, all in a purpose-built building with lots of natural light - a real treat!)
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  3. #3
    ian408
    Guest
    Hiller was incredibly innovative. I think that shows in the various
    aircraft that he produced. From the different helicopter types
    through the Coleopter (a VTOL single pilot vehicle).

    Something else that's worthy of a visit is NASA/Ames Research
    Center. It's opening the "Mars Center" on 12/29. The Visitor's
    center is worthy of a visit too.

    Ian

  4. #4
    Megalodon fish's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tour, Ian. I've ridden by there many many times and every time I think to myself "I really should drop by there one of these days."

    You provided the motivation.
    "No one wants advice -- only corroboration." -John Steinbeck

    Like San Jose BMW Motorcycles on Facebook.

  5. #5
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    What fish said.

    Thanks, Ian!
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  6. #6
    ian408
    Guest
    If you go, be sure to save room for lunch. At the airport is a
    small little coffee shop. Sit back and watch the planes....

    Ian

  7. #7
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    Fine post

    Really liked the paint job on the Christian Eagle - looks like it can haul the mail.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  8. #8
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info- next time I'm out that way...

    Last week I was enjoying Christmas in Orlando with some family I hadn't seen in a while, and while I was there I checked out a couple of aviation museums that I can recommend. The first was Fantasy Of Flight in Polk City (less than an hour west of Oralndo just off I4). This one is run by Kermit Weeks and he has a really outstanding collection and facility. There are a few 'environments' that visitors can walk through that are quite fascinating combinations of scenery, artifacts and film presentation. The collection includes stuff like the one remaining airworthy Hiller ramjet-rotor helicopter, the only airworthy Shorts Sunderland, both Ford and Stinson TriMotors, and several other fascinating aircraft.
    I also visited the Warbirds Restoration Museum in Kissimee. This was a real treat as it is a dusty modest old hangar where real airplanes find new life. They give a tour and show all the projects underway (they are currently restoring a P40 and a B17G that will fly next summer, and the next project is a P38). They have several interesting aircaft in the collection, some airworthy (e.g. DeHaviland Vampire and B25) some not (some in fact appear to be utter junk, such as carcasses of an F100 and F101, and a MiG 21). The hangar is stuffed with neat old junk and parts that any mechanical hobbyist will revel in looking at. They also have a group at the facility that gives rides/lessons in a small fleet of AT-6s and a Bell 47. I took a short lesson in the Bell and *LOVED IT!* Much easier to get the hang of basic manoevers than in an aeroplane much to my surprise (trickier to maintain straight and level with though). So much fun to fly- gotta get me one of those!
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    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  9. #9
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    BTW that's not me flying there- I was behind the camera. The customer on that flight was a Vietnam War heli pilot who lost a leg in combat and it was his first helicopter ride since the injury nearly 40 years ago. He was really smiling afterward too.

    Here's another:
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    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  10. #10
    ian408
    Guest
    Veg,

    Are you a pilot already? Did they let you just pay and
    "fly"?

    Also, I think Hiller's got a ram-jet though it's in parts.
    Very cool idea.

    Ian

  11. #11
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    Ian,
    I'm a private pilot but only rated for single-engine land-based fixed-wing aircraft. Little Pipers and Cessnas in other words. I was at one time training to be a professional pilot, but that plan proved unsustainable. Oh well, I'll go ride.
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  12. #12
    Registered User crvalley's Avatar
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    Kal's?

    Ian408,

    Could you post the address of Kal's? I'm always looking for a great breakfast place...

    Thanks!
    C R Valley
    San Mateo, CA
    '98 K1200RS
    In-Search of '69-'71 R75/5 fixer-upper

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