Paine Field Aviation Day – Everett, WA

UH-1H Huey - Paine Field Aviation DayFor warbird and aviation lovers alike in the Pacific Northwest, Everett, WA was the place to be this past Saturday, May 17. Marking the start of the flying season, local museums and regional pilots brought out their beautiful aircraft for the 19th annual Aviation Day.

AH-1 Cobra and UH-1H Huey - Paine Field Aviation DayLocated at Paine Field, home to Boeing’s massive Everett Factory, the fly day was the first this year where resident museums Flying Heritage Collection (FHC), belonging to Microsoft CEO Paul Allen, and Historic Flight Foundation (HFF), owned and operated by Seattle aviation attorney John Sessions, flew an assortment of their warbirds. Visiting groups included a handful of aircraft from the Cascade Warbirds group and a pair of Vietnam-era helicopters from the Olympic Flight Museum based in Washington’s capital city of Olympia. These aircraft and more were on static display before the flying began, including the Seattle Museum of Flight’s Goodyear F2G-1 Super Corsair. The Super Corsair was wheeled out of the museum’s restoration center at the airport and is one of two remaining F2Gs in the world out of the five that were built.

Flying kicked off at noon as the weather gave way from overcast and wet to warm and partly sunny skies. FHC flew first, taking to the skies with their B-25J Mitchell known as “Buster,” P-47D Thunderbolt “Tallahassee Lassie,” and P-51D Mustang “Upapa Epops.” Following their performances, the Cascade Warbirds launched their flight of two T-28 Trojans, three Ryan Navions, a Romanian IAR 823 “Hai Fetito!,” and a Nanchang CJ-6. They concluded their formation flyovers and solo passes to make way for the Olympic Flight Museum’s AH-1S Cobra “Hell’s Angel” and UH-1H Huey. These would prove to be the highlight of the show as the two choppers pounded the tarmac with formation passes and close-in hovering.

Boeing 787 - Paine Field Aviation DayStatic Displays - Paine Field Aviation Day

Once they were on the ground again, HFF’s RC-45J Expeditor took off for a solo show and was joined by two identical Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwings, one from HFF and the other from the Port Townsend Aero Museum. The Staggerwings made formation passes together before allowing HFF’s DC-3 to launch and perform an amazing solo display, seen below in a video shot by Jason Fortenbacher of Fight 2 Fly Photography. As the DC-3 joined the RC-45J and Staggerwings, Boeing made its regular Aviation Day entrance by launching one of their commercial airliners for a test flight. This year it was a Norwegian Air 787-9 Dreamliner. Once it cleared the airport, the DC-3, RC-45J, and Staggerwings made a couple formation passes before landing and concluding the scheduled flights for the day.

Roughly 4,000 people attended this year’s Aviation Day, fewer than years past. This year also saw the flightline empty of Skagit-based Heritage Flight Museum, founded by former astronaut General Bill Anders, as they hosted their own fly day. Despite fewer performances and static aircraft, most kept away by the early morning weather conditions, the show was a delight to attend.

– Anthony Richards

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