Monday, June 16, 2014

Central Oregon takes to the skies

The wind kicked up by the B-25 bomber’s twin propellers nearly knocked Joey Pavlich off his feet.

 But the 5-year-old Bend resident quickly recovered, and watched the World War II-era plane taxi down the runway at Bend Municipal Airport on Sunday.

The bomber, nicknamed “Grumpy,” was getting ready to take off for good after three days of tours and rides at the airport, part of the Wings & Wheels event that ran from Friday through Sunday.

When Joey’s dad, John Pavlich, asked what he thought, Joey’s one-word answer summed it up nicely.


Several hundred people gathered at the airport Sunday to take in a collection of old and new planes, helicopters, even a few classic cars and motorcycles.

Grumpy was the headliner. The plane tours the country, part of the national Historic Flight Foundation’s collection spanning from the 1920s to 1950s.

But Bend airport businesses also got a chance to show off some of their planes. Outside of Advanced Aviation’s airport hangar, a pilot showed 11-year-old Mariah Tuck how a plane’s rudders help it steer through the sky.

“I might want to be a pilot when I grow up,” the Bend resident said.

Planes weren’t the only vehicles on display. Several classic cars and motorcycles, including a blue, 1957 Harley Davidson, lined the tarmac.

Despite it being Father’s Day, several dads said making the trip was about giving their kids a chance for an up-close look at some powerful pieces of machinery.

Rick Hormel brought his sons, 7-year-old Micah and 4-year-old Thomas, for just that reason.

“Thomas goes nuts when he sees a plane on TV,” Rick said, as Thomas sat on his shoulders. “I’ve brought him out here before to watch planes take off, but this is the closest he’s been to one.”

At that moment, a member of the local Experimental Aircraft Association, the “High Desert Flyers,” announced over a microphone that Grumpy was due for another air show in Washington state.

Thomas watched as the B-25’s two rows of seven-cylinder engines roared to life and kicked up a huge gust of wind — so much that it practically toppled the High Desert Flyers booth 100 feet away.

Grumpy taxied down the runway, then all went quiet. Two or three minutes later, the sound of its engines returned as it zoomed back into view and took off.

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