Thursday, June 21, 2018

880 South: Oakland, Oakland Aviation Museum


Oakland Aviation Museum

exterior of Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
exterior of Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California

8252 Earhart Rd./Swan Way, (510) 638-7100.  W-Sun 10-4.  18 $12, 60+ $10, 13-19 $8, 5-12 $6.  Housed inside a 1939 airplane hangar that once was home to the Boeing School of Aeronautics, this aviation museum is located on the North Field at Oakland Airport--just two blocks from where the airport bus drops riders at the Rental Car Center, making it a candidate for something to do if you have a long wait for a flight.  The vintage aircraft collection includes a crowd-pleasing favorite--a rare giant 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat that once flew passengers from London, England to Johannesburg, South Africa and to Australia.  It is sort of a baby Spruce Goose, and the last of its kind in the world.  Those long journeys took even longer--four days--because the plane flew only in daylight hours, so everyone overnighted along the way.  The Solent was featured in the 1981 movie "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark," and is the star of this collection.  This treasure is opened at an additional fee for tours on weekends, when you can capture a selfie seated in one of the comfy seats inside, but can always be viewed from the outside.  And it can be rented for special events--think a birthday party, an anniversary.

1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


interior seats on 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
interior seats on 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat in action at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat in action at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


None of the planes displayed here are flyable.  The collection also includes a T-3 tail glider that was built on the premises, a scale-model blimp hanging from the ceiling, a Hiller helicopter from a local aviation company, and a small plane like the one John Denver flew.  Young children will especially enjoy the playground in front featuring kid-sized planes to play on, as well as a play table inside and a few models to climb in for a photo op.

crashed plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
crashed plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


interior of hangar at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
interior of hangar at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


Kitfox Classic IV-1200 Taildragon plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
Kitfox Classic IV-1200 Taildragon plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


toy Flying Tiger plane for kids at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
toy Flying Tiger plane for kids at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


Small side rooms hold focused collections, including the Engine Room where engines from different eras and types of aircraft are displayed, Women in Aviation featuring photos of Amelia Earhart (who landed here in Oakland in 1935 at the conclusion of her record-setting flight from Honolulu, and who also famously began her ill-fated 1937 flight around the world right here), Black Americans in Aviation & Space that details the famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, and the General James Doolittle Room (this famous World War II aviator was born in Alameda).

Amelia and Carole prepare for takeoff at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
Amelia and Carole prepare for takeoff at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California

Open Cockpit Day is held periodically.  Visitors then can enter a variety of aircraft.  Additional special activities might include Canine Companions for Independence, live music, refreshments for purchase, and roller derby demonstrations.



More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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