Set along the runway at Skagit Regional Airport with the buzz of airplanes flying overhead is the Heritage Flight Museum. Founded by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders and his wife Valerie, the museum is managed by their two sons, Greg and Alan, and showcases the enduring stories of historic airplanes and military artifacts.  

Fulfilling A Vision 

In 2018, the flight museum launched the ‘First To The Moon Capital Campaign’ to raise two million dollars to expand and improve their facilities, and to achieve their goal of becoming a destination museum and events center. 

“Along with being a museum dedicated to honoring veterans and keeping history alive, we are also very passionate about becoming two things to the community: an events center unlike anything in the area, and an educational resource that fosters our youth through a STEM educational program,” says Greg Anders, Executive Director of the Heritage Flight Museum.  

The improvements are supported not only by campaign proceeds but also by matching funds committed by Bill and Valerie. The initiative is happening in two phases. Phase one, now complete, added much-needed bathrooms for large events and Fly Days, dedicated office space for staff, an archival storage room, and a volunteer break room.  

Fundraising for phase two is in full swing, and to date, they’ve raised $350,000. The plans include a dramatic entrance where visitors walk under a Northrop F-89 Scorpion, an entryway with an Apollo 8 Gallery, and a dedicated maintenance hangar, and more.  

History You Can See and Touch 

Visitors can get close, touch, and peek inside the 15 historic aircrafts on site. The P-51 Mustang “Val-Halla” began the museum’s collection. Used during WWII because of its range and speed, it escorted bombers deep into enemy territory. During the Korean and Vietnam War, the AD-4NA Skyraider “The Proud American” was prized for its ability to carry substantial bomb loads. The Interstate Cadet trainer named the “The Pearl,” is believed to have been the first aircraft to receive enemy fire during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

Visitors can see antique military and utility vehicles, such as a GPW Jeep, a Dodge Ambulance, and a M3A1 Scout Car. There are also military artifacts and uniforms, and an aerial combat research library collection. 

What’s The Buzz About Fly Days? 

For a memorable experience, visit on a Fly Day. Held once a month from April to September, Fly Days feature at least one in-air demo every hour. These themed events give visitors the chance to see the power of the aircraft in flight and appreciate their role in history.  

Dates and themes for  this year are April 19, “Knock of the Moss;” May 16, “Training for War;” June 20, “Honoring Veterans;” July 18, “Combat Search & Rescue;” August 15, “Victory in the Pacific;” and September 19, “Warbird Weekend.” Aircraft from all over the region are known to participate, and some of the pilots are even museum staff!  

The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children 5 to 17, and $5 for military. Fly Days are $12 per adult, $10 for seniors, and $5 for children and military. For more information and to donate, visit heritageflight.org. 

15053 Crosswind Dr., Burlington, 360.424.5151