People approach vintage airplanes at an event at the Ontario airport
Members of the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club flew approximately 40 planes to the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15 to close their 2021 Northwest Air Tour.
Pilot Dave Bole in his Howard DGA 1943 receives instructions on where to park after a successful landing on Thursday July 15th. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
ONTARIO – A crowd of about 50 gathered at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15 to watch about 40 vintage planes make their final stop on the Northwestern Air Tour of July 2021.
The aerial tour was organized and conducted by the Puget Sound Antique Air Club of Washington State and began at La Grande on July 11, making some stops in eastern Oregon and western Idaho before ending the tour in Ontario.
One of the first to land at the Ontario airport was Dave Bole in his 1943 canary-yellow Howard DGA, which is the literal abbreviation for “damn good plane.” His plane was a fan favorite.
“This tour is basically trying to recreate a bit of the barn storm that happened in the 1920s and 1930s,” Bole said. “We visit small towns that don’t see a lot of small planes, especially 40 of them.”
A crowd waits in the shade as antique planes begin to land at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
Bole has been flying and working on airplanes since obtaining his pilot’s license in 1976. He worked as an inspector for Alaska Airlines for 40 years before retiring.
Barnstorming was a form of aviation entertainment made popular after large numbers of trained pilots returned from overseas after the end of World War I, according to hartzellprop.com.
In the past, these air shows typically rotated in rural areas, and skilled pilots performed tours with their small planes, either in groups or solo. Once the show was over, the pilots would land in nearby fields, effectively turning local barns into places to showcase their planes to the public.
The group that came to Ontario “doesn’t do aerobatics,” Bole said. The aim of the flying club is to present small planes to communities that rarely see such planes up close.
A series of well-polished, pristine planes followed the 1943 Howard de Bole, landing at the small airport on a hot and hazy July afternoon before lining up in rows.
After all the planes landed and the propellers stopped spinning, Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero and Acting Airport Manager Dan Beaubien gave the crowd the green light to exit on the tarmac to talk to the pilots and check out their beautiful plane.
“This event had been in the works for two years,” said Beaubien, who is also a pilot. “Ontario has never had something like it stopping here, so I’m happy to see so many people coming out.
A mother and son discover the giant propellers of Dave Bole’s Howard DGA 1943 on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
A member of the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club waves to the crowd as they arrive at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
Participants view the cockpit of Dave Bole’s Howard DGA 1943 as he inspects the engine on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
Dave and Brenda Lawrence, members of the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club, in their 1959 Cessna 180B as they landed on Thursday July 15th. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
George Clifton, center, enjoys some shade with fellow Airmen from the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club under the wing of his 1943 Stearman PT-17 on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
On Thursday July 15, three pilots took advantage of some shade on a 100 degree day under the wing of a 1943 Stearman PT-17. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
Mike Warner cleans his 1941 Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 on Thursday July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
A huge American hangs from an Ontario fire truck at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON / The Enterprise)
Tip for the news? Contact multimedia reporter Austin Johnson: [email protected] or (541) 784-7151
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