Photo by Roger Harnack
Frank Hoogkamer of Buckley (rear seat) and passenger Joe Leonard take off from Prosser Airport in a 1941 Boeing Stearman yesterday.
As of Monday, July 17, 2017
PROSSER Hundreds of area residents and airplane enthusiasts turned out yesterday for the kickoff of a week-long Puget Sound Antique Aircraft Club’s barnstorming Air Tour 2017 at Prosser Airport.
“It’s a perfect spot for the start of our tour,” Molly Littlefield of Kent said, noting at least 40 aircraft were expected at the airfield at 111 Nunn Road.
Littlefield is on the tour with her son, Ben Littlefield, in a 1942 Boeing PT-17 Stearman.
Many of the aircraft flew in Saturday, but several flew in Sunday morning to stay the night.
The tour leaves today for Joseph, Ore., before continuing onto McCall, Idaho, on Tuesday; Grangeville and Orofino, Idaho, on Wednesday; Saint Maries, Idaho, on Thursday; and College Place, Wash., Friday.
The arrival in Grangeville coincides with the reopening of the Idaho County Airport, a public event slated for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Airport Road.
Over the course of the week, at least 77 different aircraft will be participating.
The oldest aircraft in Prosser yesterday was a 1940 Boeing Stearman, a training aircraft for World War II pilots.
At least two lucky aviation enthusiasts were treated to short flights over the vineyards and city.
“Oh, man! Few guys get that privilege,” Joe Leonard of Kennewick said after his flight in the open-cockpit biplane. “I’ve done some pretty trick stuff, but that’s the top.”
He flew with Frank Hoogkamer of Buckley in his 1941 Stearman; it was his first time in a Stearman.
“That might make a young man do it (buy a Stearman),” he said of his exhilarating experience.
Hoogkamer and Leonard flew in formation alongside a U.S. Coast Guard-styled Stearman piloted by Clint Cawley.
The aircraft were also a hit with youngsters.
“I really like all of the planes,” Madeline Miller, 5, of Prosser, said.
“I like them all, too” 4-year-old Jessup Stevens of Prosser said.
Nine-year-old Jacob Scheline of Pasco came with his family for the event.
“They’re awesome,” he said of the historic aircraft.
Scheline also said the watermelon and music available at the fly-in made for a complete day.
Music was provided by the middle school marimba band, Baduku.