SEATTLE, April 24, 2009

--The Museum of Flight Tower at Boeing Field reopens on May 9 after extensive renovations and the addition of four entirely new exhibits--Animal Flight, Weather and Flight, Physics of Flight, and Flying Machines. The Museum's architecturally distinctive, semicircular "Tower" overlooking Boeing Field/King County International Airport will feature enhanced, interactive displays about air traffic control from both a pilot's and controller's point of view. All of the exhibits are designed to be fun and engaging with interactive displays, dazzling visuals, audio features and short videos. The exhibits were created by the Museum staff with expert advisors from the Federal Aviation Administration, academia and aerospace fields.

"The new Tower allows us to present the subject of flight in ways we are not able to in the other Museum exhibits," says Chris Mailander, Exhibits Director at The Museum of Flight. "It has been an exciting project for us, especially because our goal was to make it as highly engaging as it is informative. We think kids will love it."
For more images: It is actually five new exhibits in one!
This major renovation includes four entirely new exhibits on either side of the 40 ft. by 12 ft. ramp leading up to a renovated exhibit in the semicircular Tower overlooking the runways at Boeing Field. Each ramp exhibit engages visitors with interactive displays and seven videos about the history, environment and enabling factors of flight from prehistoric times to the present. The videos were produced by Discovery Channel and NASA.

Animal Flight
Visitors can inspect bird and insect wings under a microscope, or get a close look at butterflies and other flying insects. Also on display is a cast of the most complete fossil found to date of Archaeopteryx-a prehistoric flying animal with both birdlike and reptile-like characteristics. Videos include the topics of flying reptiles, how a fly flies, and the evolution of feathers and bird flight. Physics of Flight
This exhibit includes an actual wind tunnel model airplane from the Museum's collection and an interactive wind tunnel that allows users to see how wings produce lift. The videos look at the major physics behind flight with explanations of what makes wings work, streamlining, power-propellers, engines and thrust, and how it is possible to fly faster than the speed of sound.

Flying Machines
This exhibit presents the rudimentaries of how machines can fly. The videos tell stories of aviators who pioneered flight with balloons, gliders, airplanes, helicopters, human-powered aircraft, and a look at the future of luxurious new airships.
Weather and Flight
Everything that flies is affected by the weather. This exhibit is an interactive weather station presenting information gathered right outside of the Tower. NASA and Discovery Channel videos bring complex atmospheric subjects down to earth. See how the Sun makes weather and air pressure creates wind, and how the FAA provides accurate weather information to pilots.

Gate to Gate
Following the ramp exhibits, visitors enter the Tower "cab," a highly interactive space evoking the  look and feel of an actual air traffic control tower. Called Gate to Gate, the exhibit space features live audio from Boeing Field ATC with panoramic views of the airport. FAA videos tell the story of air traffic control and the systems in the tower. An interactive computer monitor shows actual air traffic throughout the United States. Recordings of FAA air traffic controllers and pilots recreate a flight from Denver to Seattle; supplementary audio "translations" make the language of flight control operations easy to understand.