If you’d like to see a large collection of amazing airplanes, be sure to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, Oregon. The indoor hangar space is more than 3.5 acres in size.
All of the aircraft have been restored to working condition. This process takes a long time and the Museum restores an average of two per year. Our family donated a Fly Baby homebuilt plane, but it’s not yet on display.
The planes are generally arranged by type within the buildings.
Biplanes have interesting designs and they’re a great subject for photographs. I featured one of them in a black and white photograph in a previous post.
Mike and Linda Strong, friends of the family, donated the two 1929 WACOs pictured below. Mike worked as an airline pilot for many years and liked to fly smaller planes in his spare time. He gave me a ride in one of the WACOs years ago and it was a memorable experience.
The first WACO is a taper wing. At high speeds, tapered wings decrease drag and increase lift. They also make the plane lighter and more maneuverable.
WACOs are reliable and rugged, with excellent handling. The CSO model had straight wings and a longer range than similar planes. The Brazilian military used them to deliver mail in the 1930s.
The WACO INF, pictured below, was lighter and smaller than previous models. The INF, a “sport” airplane, is fast and fun to fly.
The New Standard was a barnstorming plane. The description on the WAAAM site describes it as performing “acrobatics slowly and gracefully, ably carried wing walkers and its front cockpit accommodated four passengers for joyrides.”
High wing planes
There is one section with a lot of high wing planes on display.
You’ll find others scattered throughout the buildings. The plane pictured below has the nickname of “Skinny Bird” because of its slim design.
Piper Cubs were known for being lightweight and easy to fly. In the late 1930s, Cubs cost $1,470, much more affordable than similar aircraft.
Did you notice the model next to the airplane pictured above? Several of the planes in the collection have scale models displayed beside them.
Cars & amazing airplanes
As I showed in my Cars from the Golden Age post, this museum also contains a large collection of automobiles. You’ll find many parked in a separate part of the museum, but several are next to the aircraft.
This is the oldest flightworthy Boeing 40 in the world and the oldest Boeing plane still flying. This type of plane originally carried mail, but it was redesigned in 1927 to carry a couple passengers. This airplane was nearly destroyed in a crash but was painstakingly restored over an eight-year period.
Amazing airplanes used by the military
WAAAM also has several military aircraft on display. Bobcats like the one pictured below served as trainers and as cargo and personnel transport. The airframe is steel, but the wings are made from wood. This design gave rise to several nicknames including “Bamboo Bomber” and “Rhapsody in Glue.”
The single engine T-6G pictured below, was used to train military in the United States and the British Commonwealth during World War II. It was in use through the 1970s. Since then, its been in use in airshows and in movies.
The Taylorcraft pictured below was a three-seater glider. It was used as trainer for pilots of the WACO gliders who participated in D-Day.
This section of amazing airplanes includes a collection of gliders. Terry Brandt, the founder of the Museum, grew up in a family of airplane aficionados. His parents worked as Fixed Base Operators (FBO) at an airport in Marysville, California and ran a flight school there. His dad built 200-300 crop dusters in his lifetime. He was also especially fond of flying gliders.
A replica of the glider flown by the Wright brothers in 1902 hangs at the far end of this gallery. A wingtip is the only remaining part of the original aircraft. That small piece of history is in the Smithsonian Institution.
The Schweitzer glider pictured below is a high wing, strut-braced training glider. It carried two passengers.
You could spend a long time looking at these amazing airplanes at the Museum in Hood River. They have a well-stocked gift store near the entrance if you want to pick up a reminder of your visit.
If you plan your trip around certain times of the year, you can also take advantage of the bountiful supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables for sale. This chart shows when various fruit and vegetables are harvested by time of year.