Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos, California
The Hiller Aviation Museum had just opened its doors in 1998, when we happened to stay in a nearby hotel. We were really surprised about the quality of its collection.
It is easy to find, as you can see it from the US 101 freeway. Leave the freeway at the exit for 'Holly Street'. Don't follow the signs to Holly Street after exiting, as this would bring you to Downtown San Carlos. Instead, use the 'Redwood Shores Parkway' direction.
You cannot miss the County Airport and when you are standing at this sign, you are not far from the museum. Here are pictures of some of the most interesting objects.
The Avitor was built in San Francisco in 1869 by Frederick Marriott and it was the first flying machine that was heavier than air. A hydrogen filling lifted part of the weight, but it also had wings and rudders Like today's airplanes and was driven by an 1 PS motor and 2 propellers.
A wind tunnel was built for experiments at Stanford University in 1915. Hundreds of designs for airplanes and propellers were tested. The big propeller at the right side generated the airstream for the tests.
Left, a Stinson 8 of Varney air lines built in 1929. Varney air lines later joined three other companies, and the resulting company took the name United Airlines, which is well known today.
Right, in the mid-1960s the Boeing Company made studies to build a supersonic transport aircraft. The project was stopped in 1967. The fuselage of the airplane was being restored in the museum.
Mr. Hiller was the founder of Hiller Helicopters and the main sponsor of the museum. Various helicopters are on display, like the one at the left which does not need a tail rotor. If you are hungry after the visit to the museum, you find a Houlihan's restauraunt and a Burger King in the nearby. Did you ever munch your french fries while you sat on the pilot's seat of a Hiller helicopter?
For more information, you can browse the website: www.hiller.org
Address: Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone (650) 654 6200.