June 9 & 10 the Collings Foundation visited McNary Field in Salem, Oregon. They tour the country with a B-17G, TP-51C and the plane I was most excited to see, a B-24J. As usually happens with events like this at McNary Field, the Flight Deck Restaurant hosted a barbecue for the event and the planes were parked on the tarmac directly behind the restaurant.
Initially, they were supposed to show up on 6/8, but the weather was pretty bad, both here and in Eureka, California, the previous stop. So we went back on 6/9. We got there early and shortly after our arrival discovered that they would be there more around noon or so. Sometime between 11:00 and noon we got word from the restaurant owners that the Mustang was in the pattern. Much sooner than I expected the Mustang made a low and fast pass down the runway and then came around to land. Shortly after that the B-17 showed up. But where was the B-24?
Turns out that one of the pilots had to leave the tour, so the pilot in the Mustang quickly jumped in an Extra with another pilot to go pick up the B-24 in Eureka.
Well, the plane I really wanted to see wasn’t there and I was supposed to be at the Emerald City Roller Girls championship in Eugene, Oregon, that night. We decided to stick around as long as we could waiting for the B-24 before we headed out for Eugene.
It was a spectacular day with dramatic, brooding skies that made for great images. Plus there was a great crowd around and we chatted with many folks about photography and aviation. Unfortunately, the B-24 did not show up before we had to leave.
The next day, fairly late in the afternoon we returned to photograph the B-24. I was feeling a little rough from standing all day at the airport the previous day and then sitting in some pretty uncomfortable positions to photograph the derby. It was a fun day though. There was talking to more folks, this time largely volunteers with the foundation, a very friendly bunch. There was also sneaking around the porta-potties, etc., to get the images.
Hopefully, next time I can take a ride in the B-24 Witchcraft, or ideally I’d love to be in another plane photographing Witchcraft. (Not that I expect that to happen)