By Dave Gauger
Pilots from throughout the northwest flocked to the Willapa Harbor Airport Saturday (August 6). The promise of famous Ekone Oysters brought 22 aircraft into the Raymond airport from throughout Washington State, California, Nevada and Canada. The hungry pilots consumed more than 300 oysters while swapping tales, showing off their proud flying machines and enjoying a special brand of camaraderie unique to aviation buffs.
This was the second annual fly-in sponsored by the Willapa Harbor Pilots Association EAA attracting exotic 70-year-old vintage aircraft as well as modern machines, including several homebuilt models. Attracting greatest attention were two Nanchang CJ-6s, Russian designed trainers built in China. The Nanchang CJ-6 is a two-seat plane in which fledgling pilots train prior to entering high performance fighter jets. The Nanchang CJ-6 along with a Romanian Army Air Force trainer and an American manufactured Navion arrived in tight formation leaving a smoke trail.
The oysters were expertly prepared by Robert Scrim. He’s a professional chef in addition to serving as WHPA’s secretary-treasurer. The oysters were served with a choice of three salads. Blueberry cheese cake topped the menu. A make shift kitchen and long rows of tables and chairs were set up in the large airplane hangar. Chris Fosse guided visiting aircraft from the runway with his “Follow Me” four-wheeler who then handed the pilots off to WHPA President Craig Murray and Lelund Guggenbicker who supervised final parking.
WHPA meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. Members promote an appreciation for the important role private recreational and commercial aviation can play in our community. The group provides continuing education for area pilots, emphasizing increased skill levels and enhanced safety. They also foster area youths’ interest in aviation for either recreation or as viable career options. The group supports the Port of Willapa Harbor’s efforts to gradually upgrade the airport and its basic infrastructure with primary emphasis on safety related issues.
Members include active and retired civilian and military pilots, aircraft owners and non-owners, and retired and active commercial airline captains. WHPA welcomes new members to its meetings. For location of the next meeting call the group’s Secretary-Treasurer Robert Scrim at 875-0155.