Fly back in history

Wonder what it was like to fly during the “Golden Age of Travel?” You can find out, thanks to the Oakland Aviation Museum and its Solent flying boat.

The second Saturday of each month, the museum caters dinner for between two to eight guests aboard the famous flying boat, which was featured in the hit movie “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The Short Bros. Solent MkIII was built in 1946 and provided the ultimate in luxury air travel on the England to South Africa route for the British Overseas Air Co. (BOAC) from 1949 to 1951.

The idea to host dinners aboard the historic aircraft started a few years ago as a fundraising raffle for the California museum, according to B. Scott Buckingham, operations manager.

“We decided on a gourmet dinner for four guests aboard the Solent as a prize,” he said. “The dinner prize winners enjoyed the experience so much, they told friends about it and repeatedly asked if the museum would be doing it again.

“With a little more research and teaming up with a local gourmet caterer, we have been able to exactly duplicate one of the meals on the BOAC menu from this England to South Africa route,” he continued. “The meals are lovingly recreated down to the smallest detail by Joanne Bailey, owner and head chef of J. Gourmet Catering in Oakland. We combine this with a tour and history of the boat and a showing of the award-winning short movie, ‘Stagecoach in the Sky,’ which was made on the boat in 2010. All of this makes for a two-hour evening program.”

Total cost for the experience is $150 per person.

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