Arts and Entertainment

Museum of Flight is the place to be for speed demons

Patriots L-39 jets pass during air show.    - Cliff George/Patriots Jet Team
Patriots L-39 jets pass during air show.
— image credit: Cliff George/Patriots Jet Team

The Museum of Flight offers a celebration of acceleration with the Aug. 3-4 Need for Speed Festival.

Located next to the launching pad for the Boeing Air Show at Seafair Weekend, the museum's east parking lot will become a village of family activities surrounded by speedy boats, cars and planes.

Special guests include Mach 3 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul and former U.S. Navy Top Gun instructor Dave "Bio" Baranek. Shul and Baranek will be available all weekend at the festival, with indoor lectures at noon and 3 p.m.

Boats include the vintage hydroplane Miss Wahoo; aircraft include one of the Boeing Air Show L-39 Patriots, a Blue Angel Grumman A-4, a Harrier jet and a vintage DC-2. More than 30 high-performance cars will be provided by NW Motive.

Need For Speed offers a beer garden, a barbecue, souvenirs, kids' activities, live music and biplane rides. The festival is all weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is free with admission to the Museum.

Speaker Programs

Lecture and Book Signing

Top Gun Instructor/"Topgun Days" Author Dave "Bio" Baranek

Aug. 3-4, noon

Dave "Bio" Baranek enjoyed a successful, 20-year career in the Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and the elite Topgun training program, and later assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. 7th Fleet. At one point he commanded an F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron, responsible for nearly 300 people and 14 aircraft worth about $700 million.

While serving as a Topgun air-to-air combat instructor in 1985, he had the unusual experience of flying aerial sequences used in the film "Top Gun." He also served as a dialogue advisor on the project, and took some of the few available photographs of the movie's black F-5 fighters in flight. His book "Topgun Days" is a vivid account of flying with the best of the best.

For more info:


SR-71 Blackbird Pilot/"Sled Driver" author Brian Shul

Aug. 3-4, 3 p.m.

Photographer, author, pilot and showman Brian Shul shares stories and photos from his experience as a "sled driver"-an SR-71 Blackbird pilot. The presentation is based upon his book, "Sled Driver," which features Shul's dazzling photography and insightful prose to illustrate what it is like to fly the world's fastest, highest-flying jet, the SR-71 Blackbird. Shul's program includes riveting accounts of Mach 3 runs over hostile territory and star gazing at 80,000 feet.

For more info:

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Tukwila, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for active military, $10 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general museum information, call 206-764-5720 or visit

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