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Museum's planes have their day in the spotlight

June 14, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- When Sandra Brown's husband died in December, she decided that the PT-26 Fairchild aircraft he flew for about 10 years should return to the area where it was built.

Brown, of Woodbridge, Va., and her daughter Lisa Brown, of Leesburg, Va., donated the 1943 aircraft to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, which displayed it along with nine other museum planes during an event Sunday at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, off Showalter Road.

On Saturday, cars and trucks were on display during the first day of the Aviation Museum's Wings & Wheels event that drew about 1,000 people, museum Treasurer John Seburn said. He expected a similar crowd Sunday, to see nine museum planes and five visiting aircraft.

Sandra and Lisa Brown said they attended the event to see their father's aircraft again and to support the museum. The event, which Seburn said marked the first Aviation Heritage Day held at the airport, was a fundraiser for the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

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Seburn said he hoped the event would become an annual fundraiser.

Sam Venneri of Middletown, Md., a museum board member and former director of flight for NASA, spoke during Sunday's event. He gave a presentation chronicling the history of flight, and also sharing some photographs, videos and other items from his collection of flight memorabilia.

Sunday also marked the first time that the engine of the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was started since the plane was flown to Hagerstown in November 2008, Seburn said.

Spectators also took in an air show later in the afternoon, watching some of the planes on display take flight.

Frankie and Missy Smith of Hagerstown attended Sunday's event with Missy's son, Jacob Hoover, 11, and her granddaughter, Makayla Hoover, 5.

Frankie Smith said they actually are "car people" and were hoping to see some older cars Sunday. Although they were a bit disappointed, he said the family also wanted to see the planes, and Makayla was especially excited to watch them land.

Carlo Cilliers and his girlfriend, Lin Caywood, of Baltimore, flew to the Hagerstown Regional Airport in an Air Cam they displayed Sunday.

Cilliers said the flight took just more than an hour, and the Wings & Wheels event was the fourth fly-in they had attended at the airport.

"This is just something we love to do," Cilliers said.

Terry Fields of Hagerstown said he attended Sunday's event with his girlfriend, Joan Milligan, also of Hagerstown, because he likes airplanes.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1962, and spent much of that time working on aircraft. The couple also said the weather was an incentive to attend the show.

"It's a beautiful day to be outdoors," Fields said.

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