I recently attended my third Hood River Fly-In and I have to say this event keeps getting better and better.
This year I chose not to volunteer, unlike last year. There was more going on this year making me a little less certain that I’d be able to make it, as well as I wanted a little more freedom to photograph. I do feel a little guilty for not helping out, but some other opportunities to help unexpectedly arose.
By Friday afternoon, I was already getting reports that there were many airplanes there and I was fairly certain from this report that it was going to be a great event.
The Parker Pusher was scheduled to fly early Saturday and Sunday mornings, so I made plans to get there very early. I arrived in plenty of time and met up with a photographer friend of mine who had done much work around the museum. We made arrangements to chase the Pusher in a pickup truck for its takeoff run and be in position for its landing. The chase on the takeoff run didn’t work out as well as hoped, but we were expecting other opportunities. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. It was time for the Pusher to return from its first flight and I noticed that it had turned really early for the runway and the propeller was getting very slow. I was so focused on getting the shot that I wasn’t really hearing the radio, when suddenly the driver said something I didn’t catch and drove off quickly for the trees at the edge of the field. When we reached the trees he braked and swung us back around so we could see what was happening. We got turned around just in time to see the Pusher make a turn on to the runway and the skid at the tip of the wing caught the runway, spinning the plane around on to its landing gear. Turns out, the only damage to the plane was one of the wheels broke all its spokes. The pilot was ok, but it sure did scare us.
The rest of the event was just a great deal of fun photographing a wide variety of planes. To my knowledge, it was the biggest Hood River Fly-In yet. Make a plan to come next September.