Michael Payne, director of the Port Townsend Aero Museum, talks to Emily Westcott about the planes he plans to bring to the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire and Sequim Valley Fly-in this weekend. Tentatively, he and other pilots plan to bring three planes dating back to 1928. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Michael Payne, director of the Port Townsend Aero Museum, talks to Emily Westcott about the planes he plans to bring to the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire and Sequim Valley Fly-in this weekend. Tentatively, he and other pilots plan to bring three planes dating back to 1928. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sky high entertainment at Air Affaire

Two-day celebration features antique, experimental aircraft, helicopters, balloons

SEQUIM — As co-founder of the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire and Sequim Valley Fly-in, Emily Westcott practices what she preaches.

“I try to fly as often as I can,” she said.

Westcott — a community volunteer who leads the flower basket program, Christmas lights in downtown Sequim, and a weeding program across the city — took up flying in 1996.

She remembers driving nearly six hours to see friends on Orcas Island but felt it took too long and cost too much. So she chartered a flight because it was cheaper than two ferries and gas to drive. By the time she returned to Port Angeles, her mind had been made up to take flying lessons, she said.

In 2000, Westcott bought her plane from John Davis, former owner of Port Townsend Airways, and now she takes weekly flights across the Olympic Peninsula.

For several years she’s also donated rides to various fundraisers and charities.

The Air Affaire/Fly-In is another long-standing effort of hers that runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Sequim Valley Airport, 468 Dorothy Hunt Lane.

Admission is $10 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday per car load.

Since its inception, the event has been weather-dependent for those flying in.

Two years ago, Sequim’s sunny skies held true and helped bring in 75 planes, Westcott said.

But last year’s forest fires brought a down year of about a dozen planes.

Westcott and other organizers recruit throughout the year to see who can come.

History flies in

A few historic planes from the Port Townsend Aero Museum will visit on Saturday, led by the museum’s director Michael Payne.

Throughout the year, he and other staff and volunteers at the museum work with a number of high school and college students to restore aircraft, fly them and run the business-side of the museum.

Most of the students are en route to college prior to the Air Affaire, but Payne and others will bring a few of the planes from the museum at 105 Airport Road, Port Townsend.

One of the planes, a red and silver CallAir A-2 from 1949, is one of only 16 produced. Museum staff said it’s the same model that Kenneth Arnold was flying when he witnessed the United State’s first widely reported unidentified flying object near near Mount Rainier on June 24, 1947.

Two other planes include a Stinson SM8A “Detroiter” from 1928, one of only 21 left in existence, and a de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk from 1959.

Westcott said the museum’s planes are beautiful and its building’s presentation is as inviting as anything in big cities like Seattle.

For more information, visit www.PTAeromuseum.com.

Fly-in from afar

Staples like the Blackjacks of Arlington will fly by on Saturday in formation and dozens of remote control airplane pilots with the Sequim RC Aeronauts and Port Angeles’ Olympic RC Modelers will take flight Saturday and Sunday with the Tri-Area R/C fliers out of Chimacum as a fundraiser for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.

Captain Crystal Stout will bring her hot air balloon along with another pilot and balloon who offer rides for $250 per person around 7 a.m. each day.

Call 360-601-2433 or email to [email protected] to schedule a flight.

Tethered rides will be available both days for $15.

Atomic Helicopters also offers 10-minute rides for $60 per person around the Sequim area.

Around the airport, at least 10 members of the Experimental Aircraft Association show off their unique airplanes both days and the U.S. Coast Guard is scheduled to fly by.

Car, truck and motorcycle owners can also enter the car show for $10 on Saturday with a chance for awards. Those who enter on Saturday can return for free on Sunday.

As tradition, all planes are welcome to fly-in, too.

The Air Affaire features live music, food, drinks and more being added daily.

Look online to olympicpeninsulaairaffaire.com for more information.

For more information, visit olympicpeninsulaairaffaire.com or call 360-670-6294.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

Reach Matthew Nash at [email protected]

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