Calm wind welcome at fly-in


The Blue Lady, a Grumman TBM Avenger flown by R.D. “Crash” Williams, left, and named for his wife, draws interest from the crowd at last weekend's air show.

After Friday’s stormy threats, the weekend’s calm was a welcome surprise to local airplane enthusiasts. The wind sports’ loss was the aviators’ gain, resulting in a good turnout for Hood River’s 6th Airport Days Fly-In.

The no-charge, all-volunteer event started Saturday with the arrival of everything from war birds to experimental prototypes, fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. The Columbia Gorge Aviators Association sponsored a steak and salmon dinner, followed by a dance to the music of the White Salmon Jazz Band.

Sunday morning brought an unexpected display of formation flying when a large flock of Canadian geese flew low across the runways and over the crowd, fortunately timed between take-offs or landings.

Air traffic of the man-made sort continued all day as the Eyeopeners Lions Club flipped pancakes for breakfast and the Columbia Gorge Aviators Association took over crowd-feeding duties at lunchtime with burgers and hot dogs.

Most prominent of the visiting aircraft, not only by its size but also by its celebrity, was the Grumman TBM Avenger — the same type of bomber former president George H.W. Bush flew as a 19-year-old Navy pilot when he was shot down in the South Pacific and rescued later by submarine. Of the 9,800 produced during WWII only 16 are still flying today.

Hood River’s own WWII Flying Tiger Ken Jernstedt, for whom the airfield was named two years ago, never misses a fly-in, where he is as popular as some of the planes. Many people stopped to shake his hand or even ask for an autograph as he took in the sounds — if not so much the sights — of the event. Legally blind, Jernstedt still loves to be there and insists the handicap can actually be an asset.

“I’m getting to an age when I can’t remember names, so when people come up to me I don’t feel as bad when I have to ask who it is,” he said.

Even though the usual “look, don’t touch” rule applied for most of the participating airplanes, there were several scaled-down models for kids to climb into, including a kiddie simulator plane operated by Don Rasmussen of McAllister Museum of Aviation in Yakima, Wash. Young pilot wanna-be’s received instructions through headphones and performed climbs and descents or tipped one wing or the other, clutching the control stick.

Airplane, bi-plane or glider rides were available and there were representatives from Evergreen Aviation Museum, the local remote control model aircraft club, and all day long a hayride (or a van for the allergic) shuttled between the main site and a hangar north of the runway, where Terry Brandt had his collection of antique aircraft on display, so there was plenty to see and do.

There was concern early in the day when one plane appeared to be having trouble gaining altitude after takeoff, then disappeared from view (see related article), but word soon came that no one was injured in the mishap.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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