The founder of the Skagit Aero Education Museum in Washington state, Harold Hanson, passed away Oct. 17. He was 81.
Hanson had been living in the Puget Sound region of Washington for decades when he landed at the Concrete Airport in 1998 and immediately saw the potential of the beautiful natural surroundings. On that first trip he knew what he wanted to do: Create a museum and a destination for pilots and aviation enthusiasts who enjoyed aircraft as much as he did.
In 1999 he began collecting some of the small, post World War II trainers he had always admired and in 2000 he began building his first hangar. He started planting grass around his hangar and added two more buildings in 2001 and 2004 (and a lot more grass for a nice place to park airplanes on a summer day).
With a small, but growing collection of aircraft, he founded the Skagit Aero Education Museum with the dream of creating a place where younger aviation enthusiasts could learn about flying and airplanes, and older pilots and enthusiasts could find the same beauty in flying and airplanes as he did. In his later years as he flew the airplanes less and less, he was often fond of saying, “they’re like art, I get my money’s worth just looking at them.”
Over the past decade, the museum collection has grown in size. In recent years, plans have been developed to further Hanson’s dream of putting together a complete museum facility.
A memorial service will be held in Monroe on Nov. 13 and a celebration of Harold Hanson’s life and love of aviation will be held at the museum in Concrete on Nov. 20. For more information: SkagitAero.com