The caption for a photo on page 24 of the April 20 issue (Tough planes, tough pilots, tough flying: Montana Mountain Flying Museum showcases the best of aviation in the Big Sky State) states that “Smoke jumping got its start in Missoula…” I don’t think this is true.There is no doubt the Missoula smoke jumper base is a very important fire fighting facility now and has been for many many years. However, it arrived on scene after the first jumps were done at what is now the North Cascades Smoke Jumper Base located in the Methow Valley, Washington.The first jumps were in eastern Washington at Methow Valley State Airport (S52), then known as Intercity Airport. Take a look at the 1939 Field Report titled “Parachute Jumping in Forest Fire Control: Report of Field Experiments” located at: might go to the home page of for a tour of the base, and for other history.Next time you are in the area land at S52 and take a tour. They’ve got a good story to tell.JOHN TOWNSLEYvia email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *