Landmarks in Pacific Northwest Aviation History

From Charlie McAllister’s connection to Orville Wright, who signed his first flying license, to Sunnyside’s Bonnie Dunbar and the space shuttle, the short history of aviation continues to have many ties in the Central Washington area. Yakima was the place that the first woman did a demonstration flight in a Curtis Pusher in 1913. This was just 10 years after Orville Wright flew in Kittyhawk, North Carolina.

Through our displays and tour guides, you can learn the many historic aviation stories of Central Washington.

The Museum showcases 55 individual displays, 7 aircraft engines and 2 of our own aircraft  for visitors to enjoy – celebrating aviation throughout the ages.

See Photos from Museum Visitors on Google

Featured Displays

Bob Hill’s Model Aircraft

This display features military aircraft used from WWI to Vietnam, each country and war theater is featured separately with a header naming the country and aircraft insignia used in that war. Aircraft models are identified with a model identification and the country markings identified, such as a Curtiss P-40 with Chinese, USA, or Russian insignia.

To add further interest to the display we included a compass used in a Japanese bomber, and a Japanese flight computer used by fighter pilots that they strapped to their leg. Also included is a Japanese handheld wind speed/compass used in the Willow trainer; this item was sent to us by a Japanese visitor who had recognized the Willow model in the Museum’s display.

Another addition is a survival radio that U.S. fighter pilots carried in case they were shot down during the Vietnam war. Most of the airplane models were painted in the markings and paint scheme of a particular pilot that Bob Hill referenced from his collection of KOKO FAN magazines which we have in our archives.

Bob Hill (1935-2009), Model Aircraft Builder and Aviation Artist

After serving in the Air Force Bob Hill worked for several sign companies before taking a job as a graphic arts instructor at J.M. Perry Institute, he instructed there for 20 years before retiring. Bob did striping and murals on hundreds of cars around Yakima plus advertising signs on commercial businesses. One of his hobbies was building model aircraft, another was aviation paintings. After he passed away his family donated to the museum 288 of his finished model aircraft and 7 of the 48 aircraft paintings he completed. Volunteers built the display cases, identified the aircraft and paid for the glass shelves.

Charles Lindbergh

Our display on Charles Lindbergh focuses on his New York to Paris flight in 1927. This thrust him into world wide fame but Lindy became much more than a pilot during his life. He went on to become involved with ventures into Engineering, Inventing, Exploring. Humanitarian, Environmentalist and authored many books.

Born in 1902, one year before Charlie McAllister. In 1922 Lindbergh took flying lessons, but didn’t solo until he bought a war surplus Jenney in 1923 then started barnstorming for money. This prior flying experience was a big asset when he joined the Army Air Corps in 1924 and trained as a fighter pilot flying S.E.5 fighters. Promoted to Lt. he was discharged to serve in the reserves.

In 1926 he signed on with the newly created Air Mail service flying DH-4 aircraft. While flying the Air Mail he heard about the $25,000 Ortega prize to fly nonstop from New York to Paris and was convinced he was well qualified as a pilot to enter the competition.  Convincing backers in St Louis to finance him he decided on the Ryan Aircraft company to build a special aircraft for him. He talked the Wright Engine company into building one of their J-5 Whirlwind engines with modifications for the long flight.

After returning from Europe by ship in 1927 with the Spirit of St. Louis, the Guggenheim Foundation sponsored him to fly the Spirit of St. Louis to all 48 States to promote aviation. He flew over the Yakima State Fair where Alister and Charlie McAllister were in attendance, Lindberg dropped a streamer over the fairgrounds and continued his flight onto Seattle. The Yakima Airfield was dedicated in 1928 as well as many others across the world because of these flights.

In 1931 and 1933 Charles and his wife Ann flew exploratory flights in a specially built Lockheed Sirius equipped with floats. The first flight from New York to Japan and China. The second flight from New York to Europe, Russia, South Africa and back to New York via South America. This second flight covered 30,000 miles and 21 countries.

The Spirit of St. Louis and the Sirius are both on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

Museum Displays

Selected displays are highlighted below. See a Complete List of all Displays at McAllister Museum of Aviation.

Leonardo DaVinci

Born in 1452, Inventor, Sculptor, Artist (Mona Lisa).  Was he the first to envision manned flight?  He envisioned and illustrated the Parachute, Helicopter and a Man Powered Flying Machine the Ornithopter which is the model in the display case.

Wright Brothers

In 1903, the Wright Flyer was the first powered aircraft to fly under the control of the pilot. Rather than using ailerons they used wing warping and rear rudders for turns, the elevators were at the front of the flyer. The propellers were over 90% efficient using the same profile as the wings.

Red Fuel Pumps, 1930s Tokheim 850 Clock Face

Charlie purchased the first of these in about 1946, he eventually had 6 in service. The pumps were taken out of service when the existing fuel terminal was installed in 1998. We currently have 2 by the fuel pump outside and 2 on display in the museum, the other 2 were sold. The fuel hose and nozzle for each were stored in buried 55-gallon drums away from the pumps for easy access to aircraft.

Warnick Brothers Guest Ranch

Located 28 miles N.W. of Yakima in the Wenas Valley you can still see the home from the end of pavement on the Wenas road. Open from 1935 to 1952, it was open year round and a great fly-in destination for “Real Ranch Style Meals”. Also a Dude Ranch for those wishing to stay for awhile and take in the area by horse back. The boots in the display belonged to Washington State Senator for the 13th district Judy Warnick of Moses Lake.

Helmet Display

Shows the evolution of helmets and hats from the Golden Age to the recent airlines. Captains hat donated by our volunteer Jim Polley a retired Alaska Airlines Captain.  The aircraft canopy is from a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer which first flew in 1948.  The goggles on the Golden Age helmet were very special as the lenses were ground from billets of glass and would cost the average worker of the time a months wages. Fighter pilots often wore scarves around their necks to reduce chaffing. Humans flying above 10,000 feet usually require oxygen via masks unless their aircraft is pressurized like current airliners.

McAllister Flying Service – 1926 to 1998

This display depicts the progression of ground school training tools. Starting with Charlie using the same Tex Rankin training booklets that he and Alister used for their lessons. Then to the use of the crank handle scrolled illustrations, 16mm projector and finally to VHS tapes.

Aerocar, The Flying Car

Designed and built by Moulton Taylor of Longview, Washington in 1949. A total of 5 were built before production was halted. Taylor had contracted to build 500 cars but could only pre-sell 250 so production was halted. The Aerocar could travel on the highway at 60 mph and had a top speed in the air of 110 mph. One of the Aerocars is on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Two of the aircraft are still being flown and one is currently for sale for 1.25 million.

Alys Mckey, Woman Pilot

In 1912 Alys answered an advertisement in Los Angeles for a woman to learn to fly and become an exhibition pilot. She answered the call and learned to fly a Curtiss Pusher biplane. Her first exhibition flight at the age of 32 was May 3, 1913 for the Blossom Festival at the fairgrounds in North Yakima. She went on to be the first woman to fly in Seattle, Portland, Boise and Canada. She enjoyed Boxing, Deep Sea Diving, Motorcycling and Instructing pilots.  Alys died at the age of 74.

Air Fair Poster Collection

We have the complete set of framed posters illustrated by local artist Phil Kooser with additional art work and his signature. The set was donated by Judge Bruce Hanson who was a waist gunner on a B-24 during WW-2.  The Air Fairs ran from 1983 to 1997.

Texaco Diecast Model Collection

The models are of real Texaco Corporate aircraft owned by the company. McAllister Flying Service sold Texaco fuel and products for many years. The TEXACO letters on the display are the same as ones used outside over the hangar doors years ago. The tall sign by the fuel pump is also Texaco.

Jensen Jeep

Kids pedal car made of plywood was sold by Montgomery Wards in 1943.

Boeing 377 Stratocruiser Airliner

Developed in 1947 and was in service until 1963. It featured a pressurized cabin and a cocktail lounge in the lower deck. Seating for up to 112 with some versions having sleeping berths. Many components were used from the B-29 bomber such as the entire wing, tail and lower part of the fuselage.   It was powered by four of the Pratt and Whitney R-4360 engine. Other versions were the C97 Cargo/transport, KC97 tanker.


Charlie McAllister built this boat, it is made very much like early aircraft with spruce components and covered with aircraft fabric.  In high school Charlie took drafting classes and drew plans for a home and later blue prints for the “Yakima Clipper”.  Charlie was the woodworker and his brother Alister was the mechanic and metal worker.

Norden Bombsight, 1st Lt. Vern Arnold – 1916 – 2011

During WW-2 Vern flew as a lead bombardier and chin turret gunner on a B-17G bomber.  He flew 30 missions from bases in England bombing Germany. In the picture of his B-17 you can see the first thing out of the bomb bay is a smoke flare which tells the rest of the squadron (toggliers) to drop their bombs. You can also see the ball turret has been replaced by a radar dome which allowed him to see through the clouds to the drop site.

Weather Station

In this display is a real weather balloon, these are still sent up twice a day all over the world, they gather information that is transmitted back to the ground. Also in the display is a Radiosonde unit that goes up with the balloon, it collects information on temperature, wind speed and direction, elevation, atmospheric pressure, ozone and other things that are transmitted to the ground by FM radio signal to NOAA National Weather Service. At the Yakima Airport is a ground monitor unit similar to the louvered unit on the display.

Japanese Balloon Bombs WWII

The Japanese had studied the jet stream around the world prior to the war. They knew that a high percentage of the jet stream traveled from Japan to the United States during the months November to March. Hoping to start fires in our forests and bomb our cities they launched 9300 balloons. Two of the balloons went as far as Michigan but the majority fell in Oregon and Washington State. The only people killed were 6 school girls on an outing by Klamath Falls, Oregon, they found a live balloon on the ground and were dragging it when it exploded. It is hard to start a fire in our forests when they are under snow this time of the year. Most of the balloons traveled to the U.S. in 3 days.

Charlie McAllister’s Northwest Glider Record

Charlie built his first glider when he was 16 in Wasco, Oregon. Over the years Charlie’s interest and expertise continued to grow. In 1933 Charlie succeeded in getting a Northwest soaring record in the Yakima Clipper that is currently on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. To find out the story about what kept him from getting the world record, stop by the McAllister Museum of Aviation.

1st Lt. Melvin Stohl, B-17 Bomber Pilot WWII – 1921 to 2015

Stohl was on his last mission flying out of England when he was shot down over Germany. The crew all managed to bail out, soon after his parachute opened Stohl could hear bullets flying by so he played dead.  Upon landing local farmers arrived and started beating on him with shovels and pitch forks, soon German soldiers arrived and rescued him. He never thought he would be glad to be captured by German Soldiers.  Stohl was held captive at Stalag Luft 3, this is where the movie “The Great Escape” was about. He arrived about 3 months after all of the escapees were caught. During internment Stohl was able to create his Diary which is on display in the case. A duplicate copy is on the display for you to read. After the war Stohl became a doctor with his office in Yakima.

Chuck Babcock, U.S. Navy Ensign – 1921 to 2015

During WW-2 Chuck trained Navy pilots to fly from carriers on Lake Michigan. To shield the carriers from submarine attack the Navy converted many ships on the Great Lakes to carriers for training pilots. The ship Chuck served on was the USS Wolverine that was converted from the cruise ship SEEANDBEE. Chuck was an F6F Hellcat pilot and a Landing Signal Officer (LSO).

Nose Art Replicas

During 2008 Chuck Naasz created a project to have local artists recreate nose art found on WW2 aircraft. The museum volunteers had aluminum panels donated for the project and installed aircraft rivets in the panels. Warren Robins made the Melvin Stohl display to show where the nose art was on Stohls B-17 bomber “Black Puff Polly”.

Museum Aircraft

Bede BD-5B Home Built Aircraft

Our BD-5B Kit aircraft was built by Robert Clerf, a rancher in Ellensburg, WA. The kits started production in the 1970s; they cost $3500 and took about 3500 hours to complete. Ours is powered by a Honda Civic engine with an added turbocharger. At the 1987 Yakima Airfair a Budweiser jet powered BD-5J performed for the crowd.  The James bond movie “Octopussy” featured a jet version pursued by a heat seeking missile. These aircraft have retractable landing gear and a are fully acrobatic.

Sceptre Composite Aircraft

Our Sceptre aircraft was developed locally by designer Dennis Roberts and financed and constructed by Darrell Hill of Cascade Wind Machines (Orchard Rite).  The Sceptre construction is of Composite oven cured fiberglass/nomex honeycomb panels cured at 250 degrees under pressure. Power is supplied by a 48 hp Rotax 503 two stroke engine. Gary Kissling was hired to fly the required forty flight hours before Mike Schreiner and Dennis Roberts could take the Sceptre to EAA Oshkosh in 1984 and 1985 to promote sales. The selling price was $19,325 ready to fly. No aircraft were ever sold and the project was cancelled. The Sceptre spent the next 30 years stored outside in the trailer enduring heat and cold. The aircraft and trailer were donated by Orchard Rite.

Aircraft Engines

Pratt and Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major

Our display engine is a factory cutaway of the R-4360 that was used by the factory for training and display. The production engine is a 28 cylinder engine of 4360 cubic inches with up to 4300 horsepower. It is basically four radial engines joined together in a gradual spiral creating the look of a corncob, thus the nickname of “Corncob”.

The engine was produced from 1944 to 1955 and was used in aircraft during the Korean and Vietnam wars and also commercial airliners up to the advent of jet engines.

Notable aircraft using this engine include the Spruce Goose which used eight engines, the C-124 Globemaster “Old Shaky”, Boeing Stratocruiser airliner, and the Super Corsair.

JT3D Pratt & Whitney Jet Engine

This engine was a prototype under development for our first commercial airliner the Boeing 707 plus its twin aircraft the KC 135 Stratotanker plus the Boeing B52H Stratofortress bomber. The engine is on its original test frame complete with shock absorbers. The engine was originally a Turbojet but the turbo fan was added to the front to create by-pass air and super charging for the jet engine, making it a Turbofan engine. The JT3D went into service in 1959 but its debut was when Boeing 707 test pilot Tex Johnson did 2-barrel rolls over Lake Washington with the aircraft.

Curtiss OX-5 Aircraft Engine

To train pilots for WW-1 Glenn Curtiss built 6,000 JN-4 JENNY Aircraft and 12,000 OX-5 engines, at the end of the war the 6,000 surplus engines were sold as surplus.

Many of the OX-5 engines were installed by aircraft manufactures up into the 1930s.

Aircraft at the new Yakima Airport in 1928 that used this engine were Charlie McAllister’s Waco 10 and his Standard J-1, Maud Bolin Waco 10. Western Airlines had 2 Waco 10 a Standard J-1 and an Eagle Rock.

You’ll be able to see the OX-5 engine on your next visit to the McAllister Museum; the engine is displayed in the hangar. The OX-5 engine display portrays an engine found in an old aircraft hangar.

Wright R-1820 Cyclone Radial

Four of the Wright R-1820 Cyclone (R stands for radial and 1820 is for cubic inches) air cooled radial engines were used during WWII on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

The engine was supercharged and turbocharged which enabled the B-17 to fly at altitudes of 32,000 feet and sometimes higher in that thin air with a full bomb load.

 Lycoming 0-540

Our Lycoming O-540  (the O stands for Opposed and the 540 is the cubic inch designation) is used on many 3 and 4 passenger General Aviation aircraft.

Continental A-65

This Continental series of engines started out in the 1940s as an A50 (which designates 50 horsepower) and progressed from A-50 to, A-65, A-75, and A-80.

This same engine design is still in use by many small aircraft engines.

The advertising poster on the display shows many of the early aircraft using this engine.

McCullock 4316 Target Drone Engine

Our target drone engine is a McCullock 4316 (as in chainsaw fame) 2 stroke 4 cylinder that ran wide open with the drone traveling 200 miles per hour.

The drone was radio controlled from the ground and was used for target practice at the Yakima Firing Center during the Korean War era.

If the drone was shot down it would deploy a parachute so they could salvage and reuse undamaged parts.

Fuel Truck

Just to the west of the museum parking lot you’ll see one of Charlie McAllister’s three red fuel trucks parked next to one of our old fuel pumps. It’s an 1939 International Harvester that Charlie used for many years, purchased in the late 1940s  The older picture to the left shows a fuel truck in front of the hangar in 1956 still looking new and with the Shell oil logo on it. We’re not sure when Charlie switched to Texaco for fuel.

The Museum would love to find a group of volunteers who would be willing to sand down the truck and give it a paint job!  Perhaps your company’s employee group, service club or volunteer group would like to help us sand off the old paint and arrange a paint job and get it running for us? If so, contact the Museum.

Complete List of Displays

Displays About Aviators

World War 1

TAKACH, JOHN Caissons Unit, supplies, fuel, ammunition

World War 2

ARNOLD, VERN Bombardier B-17
BABCOCK, CHUCK Pilot F6F, Carrier flight instructor, LSO
BARKER, FRANK 92 different aircraft in lifetime
BEEGHLY, FLOYD  U.S. Navy, Carrier
DAWLEY, PAUL U.S. Navy, Carrier
KING, OTTO Crew Chief C-87
MORRIS, CHET U.S. Navy, Carrier
MUNRO, DOUGLAS Gunner, Coast Guard, Medal of Honor
RADER, RAYMOND Ball turret gunner B-17
RAWSON, JOHN Alaska Defense
RED TAILS, Tuskegee Airmen, Colored Fighter Group, P-51
RICHARDSON, GINI Pilot Wasp program, CAP
SHIELDS, FRANCIS Waist Gunner B-17 North Africa
STOTTS, LYLE Pilot P-51 “The Yakima Chief”
TATE, OSCAR Aviation Machinist Mate USN

Vietnam War

MOSSMAN, LARRY Navy Pilot A-6 Intruder MIA

Non-combat Aviators

DUNBAR, BONNIE Pilot T-38, Astronaut Space Shuttle
SCOBEE, DICK Astronaut, Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
YAKIMA AIR FAIR 1986 Aces, Legends, Heroes

Native Americans in Aviation Display

AMBROSE, CORKY Flight Mechanic C-124 – Yakama Nation
ANDREWS, RAYMOND B-26 Gunner – Yakama Nation
BOLIN, MAUD Yakama Aviation Pioneer – Yakama Nation
BOYINGTON, PAPPY USMC pilot – Sioux Nation
COLEMAN, BESSIE Aviation pioneer – Cherokee Nation
HERRINGTON, JOHN Astronaut – Chickasaw Nation
MALATARE, LEWIS Vietnam, Logistics – Yakama Nation
OXENDINE, THOMAS Navy pilot – Lumbee Nation
REXROAT, OLA USAF, Control tower – Oglala Sioux Nation
SCOTT, PEARL CARTER Aviation Pioneer – Chickasaw Nation
TAHSEQUAH, MEECH Pilot – Comanche Nation

Displays about Aviation Objects

B-1 BOMBER Landing Gear
NAVIGATION, Progression of
HELMETS, Evolution
TEXACO, Die Cast Model Aircraft
BOEING, Models & Artwork
TRAILER, Transported the “Yakima Clipper” Glider
BALLOONS, Japanese Balloon Bombs
CLOCK 24 hr Navy Ships
RADIO COLLECTION 14 WW2, Receivers, Transmitters, Oscilloscopes
FIRE EXTINGUISHER WW2 used on Airfields
FLIGHT SIMULATOR Mechanical Controls of Articulating Model Aircraft 1930s
AIRCRAFT MODELS, Large 5’ CanadaAir CL-215, Curtiss Robin,
Grumman Albatross, Curtiss P-6E Fighter plus many
Smaller model aircraft
CHARLIE McALLISTER’s personal collection of photos and Awards on display in lobby
PEPSI POP DISPENSER from the 1950s, still in use