General Aviation Day 2013, is on, Saturday, May 18th, Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For details please visit: http://www.painefield.com/
General Aviation Day 2012, is on, Saturday, May 19th, for details please visit: http://www.painefield.com/
Photos & story by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights
Wow, I knew to expect a great event from the warbirds appearing at the General Aviation Day, but I had known idea it would be so fantastic! This dynamic annual aircraft exhibition held at Paine Field in Everett, WA has one of the best settings for such an event and is becoming a major “aviation mecca.”
Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid May, located next to a vast aviation center; including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of it’s commercial aircraft, along with an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport. Located next to these aviation assets are Paul Allen’s, (cofounder of Microsoft and commercial space visionary/developer) Flying Heritage Collection and John T. Session’s (Seattle attorney and entrepreneur) Historic Flight Foundation.
It’s remarkable this quality of event has such minimal admission fees, yet it offers the public a rare opportunity to walk right next to these historic World War II airplanes; to look inside at flight controls and touch the aircraft aluminum skin of these fierce flying machines. Only minutes later these same vintage World War II fighters, bombers and scout planes are beginning to fire up their inline and radial engines; which sounds like a monstrous dragon clearing it’s throat until there’s just a steady roar that grabs everyone’s attention. As one airplane after another takes off and returns making multiple passes, spectators are lining the edge of the airfield and to watch in awe.
At midday the participating, Historic Flight Foundation open house began. Within the Foundation’s grounds were scores of World War II aircraft, along with dozens of people in army uniforms of the era; I had to remind myself… this was not a movie I was watching, nor a dream… but an actual live event. Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have outdone the staging or realism for this assortment of warbirds, soldiers in uniform and military equipment of the era.
Constructed in 1936, Paine Field was a works progress administration project during the great depression. Most of the vintage collections began flying shortly after the Field started operating, so it’s fitting the warbirds are now roosting here. Inspired by history and the original purpose for these aircraft; I employed digital post production techniques for the images in an attempt to recreate a photographic “look” of the 1930’s and 1940’s. In particular, sepia-tone as well as early Kodachrome transparencies inspired my recreated images.
It’s rare to see such multigenerational enthusiasm for a public event. Especially seen within children and adolescent’s eyes were genuine looks of awe and wonder from what these aircraft inspire. Seeing the kids excitement resonated with my own memories about aviation when I was a youth. The fact that these historic fighters and bombers were not just static displays — but actually flying at “tree-top-levels” — whose roaring, rumbling engines you could feel, hear, and smell –captivated every age-group’s attention.
One particular image in the photomontage series below, captures the wonder within faces of a group of youth standing underneath the wing of a Historic Flight Foundation bomber, just as an aircraft roars nearby. The adage –“a picture, tells a thousand words” applies to this one; but also simply put… a face can sum it up with just one… wow!
Here’s my flying quote of the day — “Both optimist and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” ~ Gil Ster