SAGLE, Idaho — Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is located in Sagle, Idaho, in the north Idaho Panhandle.
Founded by the late Dr. Forrest Bird and his wife, Pamela, the museum features about 20 private aircraft dating from pre-World War I to the present. The collection includes 1933 model American Champion 8KCAB “Decathlon,” an Alon A-2 1967 vintage with folding wings and a 1977 Riley Turbine Eagle, which is considered the flagship of the fixed-wing fleet. “When guests visit the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, they can expect to see historic contributions from great aviators and innovators who have made a lifelong impact on the way we live,” said Rachel Schwam, executive director. The museum highlights a collection of art, military service members, the Flying Tigers, NASA, the Tuskegee Airmen and memorabilia dating to World War I and World War II.
Also housed in the facilities are exhibits of inventions and of inductees from the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Inventions include Dr. Bird’s Bird Respirator, which helped to save real lives and fictitious ones on early 1960s television. When actor Richard Chamberlain as “Dr. Kildare” would call for “the green box” during the medical drama, the script was referring to the Bird Respirator. A variety of inventions are displayed, from Bird’s medical respirator to the Barbie doll from Ruth Handler and Gatorade from Dr. Robert Cade. Other notable inventors include lesser-known names for well-known products. Helen Free is honored for her patent that evolved into the consumer-oriented “dip and read” test to monitor blood glucose levels. The museum’s cafe is seasonal; it offers pre-arranged lunch choices for groups. Admission to the museum is free. Motorcoach parking is available. For more information, call 208-255-4321 or visit birdaviationmuseum.com.