Grant County Airport Welcomes Classics

Blue Mountain Eagle | July 16, 2013 1:36 p.m. | Updated: July 16, 2013 8:36 p.m.

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Blue Mountain Eagle

JOHN DAY – Shiny classic airplanes swooped over John Day Monday, July 15, as part of the Pacific Northwest Antique Aircraft Air Tour.

It was the tour’s first visit to the Grant County Regional Airport. The event drew 27 planes, and started in Richland, Wash., The pilots also planned stops in Prineville, Chiloquin, Ashland, Cottage Grove and other communities before ending the tour this weekend in Aurora.

“We go to smaller communities to visit and help promote general aviation,” said Curt Kinchen, a Bellevue, Wash., pilot with the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club.

The array of planes visiting Grant County included old warbirds like his – a World War II training plane used to teach new pilots the basics of flying. Also on hand were some recently completed home-built aircraft, and classic Stearmans, Cessnas, Pipers and more.

Local residents got to chat with the pilots and get a close-up view of the planes.

The travelers stayed overnight in John Day motels, and dined at local restaurants before flying on again Tuesday.

Airport manager Patrick Bentz said the group seemed to enjoy their visit to Grant County.

“We encouraged them to tell all their friends about the airport,” he said.

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