Ken Olsson of Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum writes:

“A the Fly-In organizer I’m pleased to say that we have just held our sixth safe and successful fly-in (Sept. 8-9),” said Olsson, who is museum coordinator.

“I don’t consider a fly-in a safe one until all visitors have departed for home with no incidents and I reserve judgment until the museum doors close at 5 p.m. Over 3,000 people attended the event. The count of visiting airplanes was 300 plus 65 from the past two years when airplane attendance was held down by weather west of the Cascades (2010) and large fires, heavy smoke and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) across Oregon and Washington (2011).

The fires near White Salmon could have put a damper on the event but the firefighters accommodated us by shifting the TFR northward to the north shore of the Columbia River, clearing flight access over the river from east and west. We thank them for this accommodation that they could justly have ignored.

“The Eyeopener Lions Club served 714 meals on Saturday alone. Saturday night a movie was shown on the door of the hangar and it had nearly ended when the thunderstorm blew in. Although the museum lost a few shelter canopies to wind damage, no people or airplanes were harmed.

“Several special events and observances were held. The WAAAM/Hood River Fly-In is, perhaps, the only fly-in in the country with an official bagpiper. Volunteer Mark Stanfield provided fanfares and entertainment several times during the event.

Friday was the fifth anniversary of the opening of the museum so on Saturday afternoon we served birthday cake to visitors. We opened the doors to Hangar 1, the restoration hangar, to introduce Tom Murphy’s final restoration project as the museum’s director of restorations, the Stearman Model 70, the one-of-a-kind prototype of the Boeing Model 75 Kaydet series. The Lockheed was dressed in TWA colors because the co-owner is the daughter of one of TWA’s founders and the airplane flew as a TWA research aircraft for years.

“The year 2012 is the centennial of two flights that were reenacted by Tom Murphy. Tom’s 1992 flight reenacted Walter Edwards’ (Kittel) first interstate airmail flight of Aug. 11, 1912, and his 1995 flight from the roof of the Multnomah Hotel (today, the Embassy Suites) reenacted Silas Christofferson’s flight from the same building on June 12, 1912. The airplane Tom flew is the one hanging in the museum gift shop.

“Finally, Tom’s impending retirement was noted on Sunday afternoon with speakers, cake and a commemorative engraved propeller.”

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