Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 17th Long Beach Aviation History

Oct. 14, 1992 – Spruce Goose leaves Long Beach for the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The Flying Boat sailed north through the Pacific Ocean. After traveling 980 nautical miles, 20 miles off the coasts of California and Oregon at an average speed of 8 knots, the control surfaces, horizontal stabilizers, wings, vertical tail, and fuselage arrived in Portland, Oregon at sundown October 18. Thousands of people celebrated the arrival with an official proclamation of “Spruce Goose” Day on October 22, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The water levels of the Willamette River delayed the Flying Boat’s trip from Portland to McMinnville. The water was either too high for passage under bridges or too low for migration from the river to land. The large pieces remained in storage for several months. So crews pulled the barge carrying the mammoth Flying Boat to an industrial park in Vancouver, Washington and off-loaded it for storage to await adequate river levels to complete the journey upriver to McMinnville. Finally, conditions improved and the Flying Boat slowly made her way up river, setting new records at historic Willamette Falls, for the longest and highest load ever to pass through the locks. After landing near Dayton, Oregon and off loading at the Weston Bar, the caravan of pieces stretched more than 1,500 feet down the narrow road.

The Flying Boat arrived in McMinnville at Evergreen International Aviation on February 27, 1993. A Spruce Goose homecoming parade converged down the final mile of the 138-day, 1,055-mile trip from Long Beach.

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