Museum Spotlight: Hiller Aviation Museum

From the ‘Little Looper’ to the Queen of the Skies, the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California, has cool aircraft for everyone.

The forward section of the Boeing 747 proves a popular attraction for pilots and enthusiasts alike to the Hiller Aviation Museum. [Credit: Willie Turner/Hiller Aviation Museum]

We all have our favorite aircraft—even the people who are charged with caring for them at the aviation museums across the country. Since December is the birthday month of powered flight, FLYING magazine reached out to museums across the country to find out what aircraft are the personal favorites of the museum staff as well as the museum visitors.

Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California

Lincoln Beachey was an early pioneering pilot from the local area, with his exploits preserved by the Hiller Aviation Museum. [Credit: WIllie Turner/Hiller Aviation Museum]

William Turner, VP Operations, Hiller Aviation Museum

"My favorite aircraft would be Lincoln Beachey’s 1913 Little Looper. This is the first airplane to do a loop in the United States."

About the aircraft: the Little Looper is a Curtiss-style pusher biplane built by a team working under direction of Lincoln Beachey, a San Francisco native. At the age of 18, Beachey learned to fly powered airships, and by 1913 he was looking at flying airplanes. In 1913 Beachey directed aircraft designer Glenn Curtiss to design and build an airplane strong enough to sustain the forces of a loop. The Little Looper was it. The revolutionary airplane was powered by a 80 hp Gnome engine.

The Visitor's Favorite: 1971 Boeing 747-100

Kids of all ages enjoy a flight deck visit to the 'Queen of the Skies' at the Hiller museum. [Credit: Willie Turner/Hiller Aviation Museum]

You don’t need to have the entire airplane to make visitors happy, notes Turner. The visitor's favorite at the museum is the cockpit of a Boeing 747.

"We have the front end of a British Airways 747. It is painted in Flying Tigers colors in honor of the donor that made the exhibit possible for us. The aircraft is open to the public and they can climb up the spiral staircase and sit in the cockpit. This is by far our most popular exhibit. Especially popular with kids!"

The 747, also known as the “Queen of the Skies,” is synonymous with air travel and professional pilot careers.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter