June 4, 2013 in City

Warplanes come back to Felts Field

WW II-era aircraft will be showcased at Neighbor Day weekend event
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location

A historic B-25 bomber flew into Felts Field on Monday in advance of the third annual Felts Field Neighbor Day on Saturday.

The B-25, based at Paine Field in Everett, will be on display to the public throughout the week, and paid flights can be arranged through Historic Flight, the company that owns the plane through its foundation.

“It’s probably the nicest B-25 in existence,” said Larry Tobin, a retired TWA pilot and an organizer of the open house. The twin-engine bomber shows its original military colors and is equipped with machine guns in the nose and top of the fuselage.

Historic Flight also brought its World War II Spitfire fighter plane to Felts Field, but it will only be on display Saturday.

The open house will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event has proved to be popular. More than 12,000 people attended last year, said Todd Woodard, spokesman for Spokane Airports.

Neighbor Day is free and is hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Spokane, the Honor Point Military & Aerospace Museum and the Spokane Airport Board.

In addition to the two warplanes from Everett, the open house will have other aircraft on display with pilots on hand to visit with the public.

They include the world’s only flying Boeing Model 40, a biplane built to haul mail; restored 1930s-era Stearman biplanes; and a T-6 training plane.  Also, commercial operators, including Quest Aircraft Co., will have their aircraft on display. Quest builds the Kodiak airplane and trains pilots on the aircraft at Felts Field.

The arrival of the B-25 is the second time in a month that Felts Field has seen a World War II bomber. A B-17 known as the Memphis Belle was in Spokane in early May.

The operators of that aircraft sold about 100 flights to aviation enthusiasts for $450 each.

Historic Flight is also offering $450 flights Friday through Sunday at Felts Field to help support ongoing restoration and operating costs, organizers said.

“It takes a lot of money to keep these old war birds alive,” Tobin said.

Historic Flight was founded by John Sessions, an attorney and 1966 graduate of Shadle Park High School. He operates the collection and restoration center out of a Paine Field hangar. The public can pay an admission fee to go inside. To schedule a flight or to learn more about the business, go to historicflight.org.

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