Washington has led the way in aviation innovation since the earliest days of flight. This fascination with aerospace is leading the way into the future as the state consistently makes top rankings in this growing and exciting industry, with high marks for productivity, innovation, and workforce ethic.
With the booming airline industry here in the Pacific Northwest, Snohomish County has become home to a multitude of aircraft and innovative aerospace exhibits that offer incredible interactive experiences through museum and facility tours. It’s here that the imaginations of community members take flight as they explore the region’s fascinating air museums, all while learning about our state’s aerospace history and production.
Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum
3407 109th Street SW, Everett
A one-of-a-kind collection of military aircraft, vehicles, and artifacts used in various wars of the 20th century awaits those who visit the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum of Everett, otherwise known as FHCAM. Artifacts in the museum are part of a private collection of fully restored vintage machines from Germany, America, and the Soviet Union. Visitors and locals alike can see the massive machinery in the collection up close and personal thanks to the nonprofit that runs FHCAM, which consists of staff and volunteers who are passionate about education and committed to sharing the era’s rich and complex history.
The museum features three distinct hangars known as the Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. The Charlie Hangar honors the courage and sacrifice of those involved in the conflicts of 20th-century war, while the Alpha and Bravo Hangars feature the technologies and mechanical machines impactful to the era. Here, you’ll find the most iconic land-based fighters of the century, including a P-51, Zero, Spitfire, Hurricane, Tomahawk, and Butcher Bird, to name a few.
Boeing Future of Flight
8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo
Located on the northwest corner of Paine Field, Boeing Future of Flight offers tours of their famous Boeing Factory so residents and visitors alike can get an up-close look at where the magic of flight happens — it also just so happens to be the largest building in the world. Here, visitors can witness firsthand the assembly of their commercial jets, such as 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliner jets. Guests can also immerse themselves in the Boeing Studio, where they’ll witness Boeing stories told through floor-to-ceiling visuals that will transport them into the world of Boeing aviation excellence.
The nearby Gallery showcases the company’s future, where guests will discover the new and exciting projects the facility is currently working on, all while interacting with multiple exhibits. For the kiddos, there is even a Kid’s Zone where fun, hands-on activities await that will inspire open-ended play and creativity.
Museum of Flight Restoration Center & Reserve Collection
2909 100th Street SW, Everett
Flight enthusiasts will witness blasts from aviation past at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center and Reserve Collection. Here, visitors can tour the working 23,000-square-foot hangar where a team of volunteers lovingly restore vintage aircraft. Guests can watch as planes are painstakingly repaired in front of them in what the center volunteers consider a labor of love. These volunteers also have a plethora of knowledge and are happy to answer any questions guests may have regarding the repairs they’re performing.
As guests seem to travel through time and space while at the center, they’ll experience an incredible collection of aircraft, spacecraft, artifacts, galleries, exhibits, and so much more that embody flight’s past, present, and future.
For those who can’t help but soar with all the possibilities that come with flight and are interested in possibly turning their curiosity with aerospace into a career, then Snohomish County is the place to be. In addition to these immersive museums, the region is also home to some of the best aviation centers, where careers take flight as students learn the art of aerospace.
Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center
3008 100th Street SW, Everett
At the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, students learn the skills required for a high-wage, high-demand manufacturing job in just 12 weeks. This educational resource for career pathways in aerospace and manufacturing works in collaboration with other state aerospace centers to deliver premier industry-driven training. Many of their graduates secure jobs at Boeing after graduation, and as of 2023, Boeing is the second largest employer in Washington, with over 60,000 employees.
Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing
9711 32nd Place, Everett
Hosted at Everett Community College’s aviation department, the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing is recognized as a state-wide leader in training future aircraft maintenance and avionics technicians. The center convenes and collaborates with industry, labor, and education partners to build Washington’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing workforce. Here, they link education and industry, support workforce development, and enhance economic vitality.
Snohomish Flying Service
9900 Airport Way, Snohomish
Since 1950, Snohomish Flying Service has offered a full range of Fixed Base Operator services, including Flight Training, Air Charter, Scenic Flights, and Air Tours. The facility has proven to be an industry leader in Career Professional Pilot Training, offering FFA-approved fixed-wing and Helicopter Flight Training Programs from the initial Private Pilot Certificate to the Career Professional Pilot. Here, dreams of being a pilot come to life as you take to the skies with the help of the center’s extensive aviation programs.
With so many museums and aviation centers in Snohomish County, it seems safe to say that many community members have their heads in the clouds, but that’s okay! After all, when you’re leading the world in aviation and aerospace technology, is it really such a bad thing?