While we were in Oregon, we visited the Tillamook Air Museum. The aircraft collection (many of which are still flying) are housed in a World War 2 Blimp Hanger - the largest wooden structure in the world. My photos are over on Flickr.
In 1942, the U.S. Navy began construction of 17 wooden hangars to house the K-class blimps being used for anti-submarine coast patrol and convoy escort. Two of these hangars were built at the Naval Air Station Tilllamook, commissioned in December 1942 to serve the Oregon-Washington coastal area.
Construction of the two hangars was rushed to completion. Hangar “B” was the first one built and was completed in the spring of 1943. Hangar “A” which was destroyed in a 1992 fire, was completed in only 30 days. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries or deaths on the whole project.
Stationed at NAS Tillamook was Squadron ZP-33 with a complement of eight K-ships. The K-ships were 252 feet long and filled with 425,000 cu. ft. of helium. With a range of 2,000 miles and an ability to stay aloft for three days, they were well suited for coast patrol and convoy escort. Naval Air Station Tillamook was decommissioned in 1948.
Since 1994 the remaining hangar has been home to one of the top five privately owned aircraft collections in the nation.
The collection was quite impressive and included one of my all-time favourite aircraft - the PBY Catalina.
Outside stood the very impressive, if a little odd looking, Boeing 377 Stratocruiser or “Mini-Guppy”.
Overall, a sweet museum, run by people who obviously love the subject matter. The burgers in the little cafe were pretty good too.