History on the wing

Annual Fly-In brings back memories, creates new excitement

Annual Fly-In brings back memories, creates new excitement

October 05, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - P.R. King of Keedysville said seeing the slew of World War II aircraft and jeeps Saturday afternoon at the 10th annual Hagerstown Fly-In at Hagerstown Regional Airport brought back some vivid memories.

King, 86, said he served in the war with Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army.

"The trucks carried the rations," King said. "The soldiers carried the rifles and ammunition."

King said he also worked at the Fairchild plant in Hagerstown as a painter and welder when the facility produced aircraft for the U.S. military. On Saturday, one of the aircraft that King helped build, the C-82, was on display.

The military used the plane to shuttle cargo and paratroopers primarily during the late 1940s and 1950s, said John L. Taylor, 80, of Hagerstown, who served as a C-82 crew member in the U.S. Air Force.

Taylor recalled a time in 1949 when the C-82 in which he was flying almost collided with another. The pilot had to quickly pull up to avoid the collision, he said. The sudden reaction almost caused the plane to stall.


"I was very young," Taylor said. "It was exciting. It could have been bad."

For the most part, Taylor said, the C-82 was a very reliable and steady aircraft. He said the C-82 was phased out of service, however, when the larger C-119 entered production.

Several young aviation enthusiasts attended the Fly-In as well.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Nicholas Lanham, 16, of Martinsburg, W.Va. "It's the first time I've ever been around airplanes."

Nicholas said it was exciting to compare the old planes to the modern ones to see how far aviation technology has advanced over the last six decades.

Although many of the children at the event seemed to think the hulking C-82 was the most impressive aircraft, Dustin Rickard, 16, of Martinsburg, said he preferred the modern twin-engine Beechcraft Baron because of the computer technology in the cockpit.

"It's awesome," Dustin said. "The newer planes are cool."

Dean Truax, a member of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 36 in Hagerstown, said the association holds the Fly-In in conjunction with Hagerstown Aircraft Services to promote aviation. In addition to the aircraft that were on display, local pilots treated children to free plane rides, Truax said. As of Saturday at 2 p.m., about 50 children already had taken rides.

Thomas B. Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Fly-In was used to promote literature as well.

"Hagerstown During World War II - Images of the Maryland Homefront," a book that contains more than 650 images of life in Hagerstown during the war, was unveiled at the beginning of the Fly-In.

The book can be purchased for $35 at the Fly-In, Riford said. Proceeds will go to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

To learn more about the book, call 717-377-3030 or go to

The Fly-in continues today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you go...

What: 10th annual Hagerstown Aircraft Services and Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 36 Fly-in

When: Today, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Regional Airport

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