OLYMPIA, Wash. — First thing you should do when you arrive at Olympic Flight Museum is look up. "It's likely that that's the only one they'll ever see in their life that has an actual cockpit inside," says museum Executive Director Ken Collins.
He's referring to the Buzz Bomb above, used by Germany to terrorize London during World War II. "Because there's no landing gear, they were not expected to land. So they did have to bail out. And that was a very dangerous proposition."
It's just one of the aviation artifacts found in this one hangar at Olympia Regional Airport. "We cover quite a large span of time and it's a very interesting collection for that reason." A Japanese Zero dominates the center of the room. "And this one is our big movie star. It's been in at least 3 different productions. It was in 'Tora! Tora! Tora!'"
Next to the Zero is a collection of samurai swords carried in the cockpit alongside a headband worn by pilots. There's also a large camera, about the size of a microwave, used by American bombers to scout possible targets. And Nazi helmet pins glisten in the next display.
Retired U.S. Army Captain Collins flew a Huey helicopter just like the one in the corner. And he'll fly it again this weekend as part of the 21st Annual Olympic Airshow. Vintage planes will soar overhead. Aerobatic pilots will wow and amaze with "sky dancing." A motorcycle drill team will present the colors. Live music, a beer garden, barbeque, cotton candy, Italian ice and something called a "jet truck" are all part of the festivities.
Olympic Flight Museum 7637 Old Hwy 99 SE, Tumwater, WA 98501. Generally, open Tuesday through Sunday 11a to 5p.
Flying footage courtesy David Louis Quinn.