Vancouver's Pearson Air Museum was honored Saturday for its place in flight history. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics added the airfield to its list of historic sites.
Pearson is well known as the touchdown point for Valery Chkalov's historic experimental flight across the North Pole, but its history also includes numerous early flights around the turn of the 20th Century, including the first flight across the Columbia, made by a dirigible in 1905. Pearson was also home to several important pilot training programs in its heyday. The Museum and its adjacent airfield is the oldest continuously-operating airport in the Northwest.
The Museum has kept up a steady drum-beat of educational programs and partnerships with local colleges to host aerospace curriculum.
Laureano Mier, Pearson's Director, says Pearson is one of the few designated sites where airplanes still take off and land regularly.
"This field is a continuously operating airfield," Mier says. "A lot of our traffic is dependent on local pilots, but we have our Young Eagles program. Some of those days we see as many as 150 flights a day out of this little museum."
Mier says the airfield recently qualified for as much as $150,000 of federal money for improvements to Pearson's landing strips , drainage, and lighting.