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What to do in Seattle? Check Out These Aviation Must-Sees

I have grown up in the Seattle area and have made great use of all the aviation-related things around town. I have been lucky enough to experience quite a bit of aviation awesomeness and wanted to share what you might want to do if you come to visit Seattle (or if you live here). If you ever are going to visit or live in the area and ask, “What aviation stuff can I do in Seattle?” hopefully this an help provide you with some answers.

This is just a partial list and I am only adding things that I have been able to check out first hand. I will continue to grow this list and add more over the coming months. No, I am not getting any kick-backs from any of these places, I just want to share some of these great experiences with other aviation like-minded folks.

Although I am writing this as a blog, I will permanently have an Aviation in Seattle page linked on the left side of the blog.

If you have a suggestion I haven’t covered yet, please contact me and let me know.

FUTURE OF FLIGHT
LOCATION: Mukilteo, WA (map)(website)
BASIC INFO: Learn about aviation’s past, present and future. There is a Beechcraft Starship hanging from the roof, a Boeing 747 tail and entire Boeing 727 cockpit you can play around in. After checking it out, be sure to go on a Boeing tour since they share the same building.
TIP: Don’t miss the roof top Strato Deck where you can get amazing photos and videos of brand new Boeing airplanes taking off. Check FlightAware.com to time your visit to watch something exciting like a Dreamlifter or new Boeing 747-8 taking off or landing.
REVIEW: To learn more and see photos, check out my full review of the Future of Flight done in November 2009.
BOEING FACTORY TOUR
LOCATION: Mukilteo, WA (map) (website)
BASIC INFO: This is a must see. Go inside the Boeing Factory and see where Boeing makes their new 747-8, 787, the 777 and 767. From being in pieces to rolling out of the factory doors, see planes in all phases of being built. Unfortunately Boeing does not allow any cameras on the tour, but it gives you more opportunity to absorb everything.
TIP: Stay close to your tour guide. They are a wealth of information, challenge them with your most difficult questions.
PHOTOS: During Aviation Geek Fest for 2009 and 2010 Boeing took photos inside the factory for us. Feel free to use these to show your friends & family what you got to see: Aviation Geek Fest 2009 or 2010.
MUSEUM OF FLIGHT
LOCATION: Tukwila, WA (map) (website)
BASIC INFO: The history of flight, information and artifacts on Space, a section about World War I and II aircraft and tons of amazing aircraft on display is what welcomes you at the Museum of Flight. You will definitely need to take at least half a day, maybe a full day to enjoy everything available.
TIP: Do not miss the Air Park outside which houses the first Boeing 747 (The City of Everett), a Concorde, an old Boeing 707 AirForce One and more.
REVIEW: Check out my review of the Museum of Flight from September 2010.
HELICOPTER TOUR OF SEATTLE AREA VIA SEATTLE HELITOURS
LOCATION: Seattle, WA (map) (website)
BASIC INFO: Getting an aerial tour on a helicopter of Seattle is a great experience. From buzzing downtown to hovering at Snoqualmie Falls, you won’t regret this tour.
TIP: If you fly when it is warm, they can take off the doors and you get a real sweet ride.
REVIEW:  This is my review of Seattle Helitours Seattle area tour done in March 2010.
SEAPLANE TOUR OF SEATTLE VIA KENMORE AIR
LOCATION: Seattle, WA (map) (website)
BASIC INFO: Kenmore Air runs the second largest seaplane operation in North America and the biggest in the US. Although they have scheduled flights all around the northwest, they also offer a special scenic flight around the Seattle area. Definitely do not miss this unique aerial tour of Seattle.
TIP: Passengers are able to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. Ask your pilot if you can sit up front and bring your camera.
REVIEW: I was lucky to take this seaplane tour on a sunny day in February 2010.
SEAPLANE FLIGHT UP TO THE SAN JUANS VIA KENMORE AIR
LOCATION: Seattle, WA (map) (website)
BASIC INFO: If flying around Seattle is not good enough for you, take it to the next level. Enjoy a sea plane ride up to the San Juans and make an amaing weekend or just fly up to Friday Harbor, walk around for the day and fly back.
TIP: You can fly a land aircraft one way and seaplane back as I did, but I suggest going seaplane both ways since you fly lower. Like with the Kenmore Seattle tour, try to sit up front in the co-pilot’s seat.
REVIEW: Take a look at my flight on Kenmore Air up to the SanJuans and back in August 2010.
SPOTTING AT PAINE FIELD
Location: Everett, WA (map)
BASIC INFO: What better place to spot than Paine Field? Check out a new Boeing 777, 747-8, 767 or 787 Dreamliner take off for the very first time. You might also get to see the unique looking Dreamlifter take off or land (but there is normally at least always one there parked). It is exciting to see these large aircraft wait their turn while smaller Cessna 172′s take off and land. You can drive around Paine Field and get quite close to different aircraft in different locations. The best part is this is totally FREE.
TIP: Make sure you get up on the Strato Deck at the Future of Flight to get a great view. It is important to stay off Boeing’s property. There are lots of places to get photos and view the planes up close without getting a visit from Boeing Security.
MY VISITS: Although I have been to Paine Field so many times and only live minute away, it never gets old. Going up to check out a special event or just to hang out to see what is new is always a fun time. Check out some of my visits and photos of Paine Field.

4 comments to What to do in Seattle? Check Out These Aviation Must-Sees

  • Thanks a lot for this post.. someday, I will be in seattle and will visit all of these… and yes, you have been marvelously fortunate to be an aviation nut and live in seattle.. :)

  • Kit

    Love your blog! Just a little plug, though, for the “other” seaplane operator in town, Seattle Seaplanes. We also offer scenic tours of Seattle, and we share the water with Kenmore down at Lake Union. Thanks!

  • [...] What to do in Seattle? Check Out These Aviation Must-Sees from Airline Reporter  I have grown up in the Seattle area and have made great use of all the aviation-related things around town. I have been lucky enough to experience quite a bit of aviation awesomeness and wanted to share what you might want to do if you come to visit Seattle (or if you live here). If you ever are going to visit or live in the area and ask, “What aviation stuff can I do in Seattle?” hopefully this an help provide you with some answers. This is just a partial list and I am only adding things that I have been able to check out first hand. I will continue to grow this list and add more over … [...]

  • A seaplane ride over Seattle is one of the really nice things I did over there.

    I did one of these tours as well. In case you’re interested, here are a couple of my clicks :
    http://www.thelearningpoint.net/photoblog/seattle-aerialclicksfromaseaplane-partiii

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