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Memories of Fairchild Aircraft take off in couple's new book

July 29, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Paul Yaron might not have worked at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown, but his lifelong love of aviation drew him to a book signing Saturday at Dru's Books 'n Things in the Wayne Heights Mall.

"I retired as an aircraft mechanic from the U.S. Navy," said Yaron, 76, of Waynesboro. He left the bookstore with a copy of "Images of Aviation-Fairchild Aircraft" tucked under his arm.

And he wasn't the only one.

Frank and Suanne Woodring, who are widely known as the publishers of Maryland Cracker Barrel magazine since 1991, said there were people lined up to buy their second book when they opened the book signing Saturday morning.

Loaded with 232 pictures and countless recollections drawn from former Fairchild workers and their families, the book already has sold about 150 copies through the magazine's promotions, Frank Woodring said.

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"I'm not sure the book is out widely yet in bookstores," Suanne Woodring said. "And this is our first book signing."

Two years ago, the Woodrings published their first book, which was a similar look back at Pen Mar Park. That 128-page book combined nearly 200 vintage pictures with reflections by people who shared memories of the park's earlier days as well as its rebirth.

The Pen Mar book now is in its fifth printing, Frank Woodring said.

The book on Fairchild was two years in the making.

"What was so great about the Fairchild book is that the company had its own photographers, so there were a lot of pictures out there," Frank Woodring said.

While some of the photos were unidentified, the Woodrings were able to match many of them up with the help of archival copies of two aviation magazines, FAD and Pegasus, which were published by Fairchild.

More than 70 groups and individuals contributed to the book, including Suanne's father, Fred Kuhn, a former Fairchild test pilot.

"We met with a group called the Fairchild Oldtimers, who get together at the Mountain Gate Restaurant here in Waynesboro," Frank Woodring said.

A highlight for the Woodrings was a research trip to Oxford, Md., where they interviewed former Fairchild president Ed Uhl. He invited the Woodrings into his home, and shared his own memories and archives of Fairchild's long tenure in Hagerstown.

Now that the Fairchild book is done, Suanne Woodring said they have received calls from people who have other pictures they wish they had known about sooner.

"The good thing is we can always run those pictures in the magazine," she said, noting three previous issues of Maryland Cracker Barrel have been devoted to Fairchild.

If you go

What: Frank and Suanne Woodring will sign copies of their book, "Images of Aviation-Fairchild Aircraft," on the following days:

·Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Washington County Hospital

·Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Robinwood Medical Center.

The book costs $19.99.

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