SEATTLE — Construction began Monday, April 6, on The Museum of Flight’s Aviation Pavilion — a structure that will cover more than 20 commercial and military airplanes once completed. Aircraft that will be moved to the Aviation Pavilion upon its completion include the museum’s recently restored Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, the 787 Dreamliner, Air Force One, the Concorde airliner and the B-17, B-29 and B-47 bombers.
“Building a permanent cover will help us protect these treasures of aviation history for generations to come,” said Doug King, president and CEO of the Museum of Flight, “The cover will give museum members and visitors rain-or-shine, four-season access to these amazing airplanes.”
The covered gallery will be just a short walk away from the main Museum of Flight building on the site of the museum’s former airpark and visitor parking lot between the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery and Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS). Students at RAHS will have a bird’s eye view of the collection, which will function as a sort of learning playground for students.
“The Aviation Pavilion will greatly enhance the learning experience of not only RAHS students, but all visitors to the museum,” said Museum of Flight Education Director Seth Margolis. “The ability to access and interact with such a wide variety and large number of historic aircraft in one place provides an opportunity for hands-on exploration that enriches learning and will inspire kids.”
The total cost of the project, about $31 million, is funded by private donations. Designed by SRG Partnership, Inc. and constructed by Sellen, the structure will cover an area greater than that of two football fields and will feature a roof that slopes from a height of 90 feet down to 55 feet. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016. The museum will open an exhibit spotlighting the aircraft under the new pavilion later that summer.