Hiller Aviation Museum


The museum features over 40 unique aircraft that tell the story of aviation innovation in Northern California and beyond.

Boeing 747

Step inside the Boeing 747-100 Nose Section, a marvel of aviation history. Experience the luxury and grandeur of the Class cabin and get a glimpse into the iconic cockpit of the legendary Queen of the Skies.

Beginnings of Flight

The surprising amount of aviation activity in California at the beginning of the last century reflects the region’s hallmark status as a center of innovation and “out-of-the-box” thinking.   This display tells the story of early aircraft designs, including George Cayley, Rufus Porter, Frederick Marriot, John Montgomery and many others.

Wright “Vin Fiz” – Exhibit and Simulator

Complementing the museum’s flyable replica of the Wright Model EX “Vin Fiz”, this exhibit tells the story of the attempt to claim the first flight across the transcontinental United States in pursuit of the $50,000 Hearst Prize in 1911.   You can fly a simulation of a Wright Model B aircraft, very similar to the first aircraft fly cross-country.

Boeing 737-200 Cockpit

Step inside our Boeing 737-200 cockpit and experience the thrill of flying with United Airlines. This retired aircraft has been transformed into a unique display that offers a glimpse into the world of aviation. Discover this iconic plane’s intricate controls, advanced technology (at the time), and rich history. Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or simply curious about the inner workings of a commercial aircraft, our Boeing 737-200 cockpit is a must-see attraction at the Hiller Aviation Museum. 

SFO Airport Beacon

The Crouse-Hinds Type DCB-36 beacon displayed here was originally mounted around 1945 on the San Francisco Airport Administration Building and Control Tower. Restored by skilled museum volunteers, the beacon is now illuminated and rotates continuously while dominating the center of the museum’s gallery.

Sky Portal

This interactive exhibit uses the real-time power of Google Earth to observe any place on the Earth, to view it from miles above the ground right down to the Earth’s surface. In addition to the unique thrill of finding your neighborhood and house as seen from orbiting satellites and exploring exotic destinations around the world, you can investigate aviation from a sky-high perspective. Included are airports, airspace, and routes of famous flights across the country and the world, such as the flight of the Vin Fiz in 1911, the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, the final flight route of Amelia Earhart in 1937, and the recreation of her flight by Reid Dennis and Linda Finch in 1997.

Women in Aviation

The stories of 29 women from different countries and ethnic backgrounds who achieved their dreams of flight are told in words and pictures spanning over one hundred years of aviation history.

Among those featured are pioneering aviatrixes, including Bessie Coleman, the first African-American male or female to receive a pilot license in 1921, and Martha McSally, the first American woman to fly in combat.   The accomplishments of these brave pioneers and their colleagues have inspired millions worldwide with personal examples of how to follow a dream and, in the words of Amelia Earhart, “just do it.”

Flying Destinies

Ambitious endeavors unfolded uniquely, putting California into the spotlight of aviation history. This exhibit features stories about aviation pioneers like Lincoln Beachey, Robert Fowler, The Loughead brothers, Shaesta Waiz and Jack Northrup. The lore of aviation milestones includes the 1927 Dole Air Race, the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, and many others.

Real Time Air Traffic

Large displays show, in real-time, the complexity of air traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area and flights en route to SFO from around the world. Online platforms featured are Flight Aware and FlightRadar24.

Storm Making

Aviation’s working world is the earth’s atmosphere.   The workings of weather are explored here, including the opportunity to creating your own weather by manipulating a simulation of atmospheric conditions, including temperature and humidity, to make clouds, fog, rain, sleet, snow and thunderstorms.

Aircraft Engines

Discover the heart and soul of aviation with our fascinating exhibit on aircraft engines. From state-of-the-art turbines to iconic radial engines, delve into over a century of aviation history and explore the incredible machines that make airplanes soar through the skies. Unleash your curiosity as you learn about the evolution of engine technology, witness the engineering marvels that power modern aircraft, and gain a deep appreciation for the powerhouses behind the “zoom” we all love in airplanes.

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Download The Hiller Aviation Museum Visitor Guide