History of the Museum

The Hiller Aviation Museum was founded by helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. and opening to the public in June 1998.


Stanley Hiller as young boy in 1930’s.

The museum can trace its origins to the 1970’s. A group of eclectic aircraft, collected by Stanley Hiller, Jr., was gathered within a warehouse in Redwood City but only accessible to the general public by special appointment. The growing collection consisted of unique early aircraft, one-of-a-kind prototypes and cutting edge test vehicles, some of which came from the Hiller Aircraft Company and many from other manufacturers.

The importance of an adventurous and innovative spirit is evident in the aircraft collection. These traits were Stanley’s hallmark over decades of invention as a helicopter manufacturing pioneer. They reflected Stan’s own participation in Northern California aviation history in which he produced innovative aircraft the world had never seen, from personal flying platforms to ramjet tipped rotorcraft.

Stanley understood that progress in solving global transportation issues, with aviation as a key element, required a relentless capacity for innovation. He recognized the strength the Bay Area possessed in harboring the talent, science, progressive attitudes and capital resources needed to develop science and aviation in the 21st Century. A museum devoted to communicating the richness of this legacy and its promise for the future was Stanley’s vision.


Stanley during museum opening in 1998.

To fulfill this dream, the museum’s Board of Directors built a structure with the flexibility to house and display inspiring examples of aviation technology, to tell the stories of adventurous aviation pioneers and to provide facilities that allow the community to gather and explore science and technology through the gateway of aviation.

The museum was opened to the public in June, 1998, and has continued to thrive ever since.

For information on Stanley Hiller, Jr. click here.

Our Mission

We use aviation as a gateway to embrace innovation and adventure while using tools of science to explore how the physical world works and how the dream of flight is made into reality.