Wings & Wheels takes visitors back in time with historic planes, vintage cars

October 12, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Spirit of Freedom, a 1945 Douglas C-54 military cargo plane will be one of many planes on display this weekend at the Wings and Wheels Expo at the Hagerstown Regional Airport.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff photographer

There is a magic to flight.

And when it's an old airplane, all the better, for it carries people not just from here to there but across the decades.

It's a chance to revisit the past when such machines were new.

Maybe that's why each autumn, hundreds of people head to Hagerstown Regional Airport to do some time travel.

Wings and Wheels Expo 2011 will be held Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16, at the airport on Showalter Road.

Sponsored by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, the event will include rare and historic planes, vintage cars, trucks and motorcycles, flight demonstrations and living history displays.

This year's event also will include a trade show, as well as job training and a job fair.

"It promises to be bigger and better than ever," said John Seburn, museum president.

"In the past, the museum has held events showcasing Hagerstown's aviation heritage and with a car show component," Seburn said. "But this will be much larger. The museum desired to expand the Wings and Wheels event to showcase area businesses and industry who manufacture and use wheeled transportation. There also will be current military displays."

Seburn said the family-friendly event is a fundraiser for the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. Proceeds will benefit the museum's ongoing efforts to develop a visitor center and facility to house its growing collection of historic aviation artifacts and archives and more than 15 vintage airplanes, most of which were locally built.

Proceeds also will benefit Warrior Aviation of Frederick, Md., in its mission to support wounded veterans. The organization will display its vintage World War II P-51 Mustang fighter and L-39 jet.

Seburn said anyone making a donation of at least $2,500 will be entered in a drawing to win a flight experience in either plane.

Wings and Wheels is the museum's major event of the year, Seburn said, and always has "a very good response from the public, participants and sponsors."

Those attending this year's expo will be treated to the largest variety of Hagerstown-built Fairchild aircraft ever assembled at one time, Seburn said.

More than 60 years of local aircraft manufacturing heritage will be on display, he said, including the Fairchild/Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" from the Maryland Air National Guard; the Fairchild C-123 "Thunder Pig" from the Air Heritage Museum of Beaver Falls, Pa.; and the Hagerstown Aviation Museum's Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar" and C-82 "Packet."

In addition, visitors will be able to tour the Douglas C-54 "Spirit of Freedom" flying museum from the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation of Farmingdale, N.J.

Seburn said a highlight of the day will be a flight demonstration of a replica 1911 Ely-Curtiss bi-plane as part of the U.S. Naval Aviation's 100th commemorative anniversary of flight and the 100th anniversary of flight in the Cumberland Valley. There also will be fly-bys of vintage aircraft, such as the Fairchild 22 and the Fairchild PT-19's World War II Warbirds.

For a $100 donation, visitors can enjoy a flight experience in the skies aboard the museum's vintage open cockpit 1943 Fairchild PT-19.

The Experimental Aircraft Association's Chapter 36 of Hagerstown will offer free airplane rides for youth ages 8 to 17 through their Young Eagles Program.

A variety of children's activities will be offered throughout the two-day event.

The wheels aspect of the show will be represented with vintage cars and trucks, motorcycles, military vehicles, firefighting, emergency and law enforcement vehicles, recreational vehicles, as well as agricultural and contruction equipment.

Organizers said there also will be displays and exhibits from area manufacturers such as JLG and Manitowoc/Grove. Local businesses, including D.M. Bowman Trucking and Smith's Implements/John Deere, will exhibit equipment.

The Commercial Vehicle Transportation Program of Hagerstown Community College and the Pittsburgh Aeronautics Institute will be on hand to discuss career educational programs.

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, visitors are invited to watch a special showing at the Leitersburg Cinemas of the documentary "Hagerstown — Remembering Our Aviation Heritage."  The local film was selected to be part of the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown. A question and answer session will follow. Tickets are $6 at the door or online at

If you go ...        

WHAT: Wheels and Wings

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16

WHERE: Hagerstown Regional Airport, 18434 Showalter Road, Hagerstown

COST: $10; free for ages 12 and younger

CONTACT:  Call 301-733-8717 or go to

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