As soon as house to a squadron of patrol blimps, Hangar B of Naval Air Station Tillamook now homes Oregon’s Tillamook Air Museum, with a unusual assortment of traditional plane. The star of the present, nevertheless, is the huge hangar itself. It has a 7-acre (2.8-hectare) footprint and stands over 15 tales tall. Amazingly, it is made completely of wooden, and actually it is one of many largest wood buildings on the earth.

Constructed within the early 1940s, Hangar B dates from a time when the army used blimps and different airships in a wide range of roles, together with marine patrols. The Okay-class, first launched within the late 1930s, hunted submarines with a wide range of then-state-of-the-art applied sciences. 

With steel rationed for different makes use of, the hangar wanted to retailer the large airships was constructed virtually completely of wooden. A number of delays, together with inclement climate, dragged out development for months. A sister hangar, Hangar A, was accomplished afterward and solely took a couple of weeks. It burned down in 1992.

NAS Tillamook was decommissioned after World Conflict II ended. Hangar B remained. At present the Tillamook Air Museum’s assortment of propeller and jet plane largely sit inside. The one plane outdoors, the massive Mini Guppy cargo plane might nonetheless simply match inside. Here is a take a look at Hangar B and plane that after and now name this unimaginable constructing house.

Oregon timber

Route 6 weaves its manner up and over the Coast Vary from Portland to the Pacific Ocean, and in a single day snow has left the move a sleety, moist mess because the plows clear slush and drop sand. Google calls out from my cellphone to show, nevertheless it needn’t have bothered: I would caught sight of the huge Hangar B within the distance. 

I arrive shortly after the museum opens, however I am not the one one right here. Airplane hangars are virtually at all times large buildings, however Hangar B is one thing else. Not solely over 1,000 ft (300 meters) lengthy, nevertheless it’s made virtually completely of wooden.

I enter the museum and I am concurrently awed and disillusioned. On one hand, there are only a few plane, and the cavernous house is kind of dimly lit. Greater than half the museum’s plane are saved in a brightly lit tent, however that is not instantly obvious. After the hangar itself, I am most within the Mini Guppy, stationed past the huge hangar doorways. I step out to clearing skies, providing some glorious picture alternatives. The Mini Guppy, the youngest and smallest of the Guppy household of transports, is accessible, not like the Tremendous Guppy I noticed on the Pima Air and Area Museum.


As I stroll again inside, I am unable to assist however consider the window in time that led to this constructing being constructed.

Okay-class patrol blimps

For many years, the US Navy used non-rigid airships, aka blimps, for maritime patrol. Their sluggish speeds and lengthy endurance lent them to fleet and convoy escort duties that may have been far more durable for conventional plane.

The K-class, first flown in 1938, turned one of the crucial profitable patrol blimps. Over 130 had been constructed and had been in use throughout WWII and effectively into the 1950s. Most had been powered by Pratt and Whitney Wasp radials, for a max pace of 78 mph (125 km/h). Patrols typically lasted 24 hours, however even longer flights had been attainable.

The 40-foot (12m) gondola, or management automotive, was cramped, holding as much as 10 males however with no dedicated bathroom. The Okay-class’s menace to enemy submarines was largely by way of their capability to identify subs at a distance far higher than floor ships, both visually or with radar or magnetic anomaly detectors. Nevertheless, they carried a .50-caliber machine gun, and most carried a number of depth costs.

Naval Air Station Tillamook was house to a squadron of Okay-class blimps, with Hangar B constructed to deal with them. Although bigger than earlier patrol airships and Goodyear Blimps, the Okay-class was sufficiently small for a comparatively small floor crew and the flexibility to make use of a cell mooring mast, one thing bigger airships could not.

There are not any Okay-class blimps in existence, although two gondolas are in museums in other parts of the US. There are seven wood airship hangars nonetheless standing: Two just south of Los Angeles, two in Northern California, and two in New Jersey. They are not practically as accessible as Tillamook, nevertheless.

Bygone blimps 

Strictly taken as an air museum, Tillamook is a little bit gentle on plane. There are some gems, although, just like the Mini Guppy and several other distinctive plane discovered inside the hangar-inside-a-hangar tent. As an structure nerd, marveling on the wood marvel of Hangar B was effectively definitely worth the journey. Maybe not sufficient to justify a go to to western Oregon by itself, however the mac and cheese I had at close by Tillamook Creamery practically was, and each are only a quick drive from the implausible Evergreen Air and Area Museum (tour of that coming quickly) in McMinnville, Oregon.

All in all, an enchanting take a look at a uncommon sort of constructing, with some cool planes thrown in. If Tillamook is a bit too far for you, take a look at the gallery above.

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