We took advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday and visitors to go to Hood River, OR. While there we went to WAAAM and had a great time. WAAAM stands for Western Antique Aeorplane & Automobile Museum. It has been in Hood River as an attraction for 15 years. It is not downtown and a place you are likely to find on your own. In fact, it is 3 miles from Hood River’s downtown at 1600 Air Museum Road next to the airport. It’ s a sensational museum that makes a distinction between antique and classic. Currently on view are 147 cars and 200 airplanes.
I especially enjoyed seeing its most recent acquisition, a 1929 Trimotor Ford Aeroplane that was the first commercial flyer. Operated by Pan Am and TWA, it could carry between 13 and 15 passengers and had no toilet. It is definitely worth seeing. I also enjoyed the story about the 2 brothers under the age of 15 who drove an antique Brush auto, The Brush, the only vehicle of its kind to survive, is on display in this museum. Among its autos, I really enjoyed seeing a classic Avanti, a 1923 Locomobile, and a very early French Citroen in an odd color that brought back memories. All of the autos and aeroplanes are displayed in 2 side-by-side wings. I have never seen so many gliders in one place.
I enjoyed learning about early aviation practices. I have never learned so much about important pioneers like William Boeing and the Wright Brothers in one place. Born in Detroit, Boeing founded the Pacific Airplane Company that became the Boeing Company. After he added Pratt and Whitney and United Airlines to his stable, the federal government accused him of monopoly in 1934. A noted horse breeder and timber company developer, Boeing is said to have died of a heart attack at his yacht club on Puget Sound in Seattle where he and his wife had settled. He died on his yacht at the age of 74 and, of course, many suspected suicide. I also learned about aircraft practices before radio communication was possible including navigation beacon towers along rivers like The Columbia that served to keep airplanes in the air. I appreciated seeing airplanes with folding wings and any number of early autos like an antique Packard that still looked new after all these years. Most of the planes on display are kept airworthy and several of the cars are still driveable.
That this museum is in Hood River, OR is largely due to a man named Terry Brandt who used to visit family in this area and learned to love it. The first hanger opened with his donation of 42 airplanes, 24 cars, and 8 jeeps.
By all means take advantage of the items that make this attraction distinctive, like the video of the flight that Tom Murphy made from the rooftop of the Multnomah Hotel in Portland in 1995. A replica of the Curtiss Pusher he used hangs in the gift shop and the video in Hangar M2 is both tender and watchable.