Pilot Dave Bole in his 1943 Howard DGA receives instruction on where to park after a successful landing on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
ONTARIO – A crowd of about 50 people gathered at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15, to see approximately 40 antique aircrafts make their final stop of 2021 July Northwest Air Tour.
The aerial tour was organized and conducted by the Puget Sound Antique Air Club out of Washington state and begin in La Grande on July 11, making a handful of stops in eastern Oregon and western Idaho before capping off the tour in Ontario.
One of the first to land at the Ontario airport was Dave Bole in his canary yellow 1943 Howard DGA, which is the literal abbreviation for “damn good airplane.” His plane was a fan favorite.
“This tour is basically trying to recreate a little of the barnstorming that occurred in the 20’s and 30’s,” Bole said. “We’re visiting little towns that don’t see little airplanes that much, especially 40 of them.”
A crowd waits in the shade as the antique airplanes begin to land at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
Bole has been flying and working on planes since he got his pilot’s license in 1976. He worked as an inspector for Alaska Airlines for 40 years before retiring.
Barnstorming was a form of aeronautical entertainment made popular after a slew of trained pilots returned home from overseas following the end of World War I, according to hartzellprop.com.
In the past these airshows commonly toured rural areas, and the skilled pilots would perform tricks with their small planes either in groups or as solo acts. After the show was over the pilots would land in nearby fields effectively transforming local barns into venues to showcase their planes to the public.
The group that came to Ontario doesn’t “do any aerobatics,” said Bole. The goal of the air club is to showcase small planes to communities that rarely see these kinds of aircraft up close.
A string of well-polished, mint condition airplanes followed behind Bole’s 1943 Howard, landing at the small airport on a hot and hazy July afternoon before lining up in rows.
Once all the planes had landed and the propellers had stopped spinning, Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero and former Airport Manager Dan Beaubien gave the crowd the go-ahead to go out on the tarmac to talk with the pilots and check out their beautiful aircraft.
“This event was two years in the making,” Beaubien said, who is also a pilot. “Ontario has never had anything like this stop here, so I’m glad to see this many people come out.”
A mother and son check out the giant propellers on Dave Bole’s 1943 Howard DGA on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
A Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club member gives the onlooking crowd a salute as he pulls into the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
Attendees check out the cockpit of the Dave Bole’s 1943 Howard DGA while he inspects the engine on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club members Dave and Brenda Lawrence in their 1959 Cessna 180B at the moment of touchdown on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
George Clifton, center, enjoys some shade with his fellow airmen from the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club under the wing of his 1943 Stearman PT-17 on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
Three pilots enjoy some shade on a 100 degree day under the wing of a 1943 Stearman PT-17 on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
Mike Warner cleans up his 1941 Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
A massive American hangs from an Ontario fire truck at the Ontario Municipal Airport on Thursday, July 15. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)
News tip? Contact multimedia journalist Austin Johnson: [email protected] or (541) 784-7151
For the latest news, follow the Enterprise on Facebook and Twitter.
SUBSCRIBE TO HELP PRODUCE VITAL REPORTING — For $5 a month, you get breaking news alerts, emailed newsletters and around-the-clock access to our stories. We depend on subscribers to pay for in-depth, accurate news produced by a professional and highly trained staff. Help us grow and get better with your subscription. Sign up HERE.