By TED LUEBBERS
Each summer when my wife Joan and I make the trip north from Florida to escape the heat and humidity, we come to Maine to appreciate a more moderate climate for a few weeks.
While we are here, we always stop by the Maine Air Museum at Bangor International Airport to pay our annual dues and visit with the hard-working folks who maintain this facility.
Maine has a rich aviation history going back to Charles Lindbergh, who used fly up in a seaplane to visit his wife’s family on North Haven Island.
In March 1935 Amelia Earhart flew into the Augusta Maine Airport to fly the governor, his wife, and members of the state legislature over the capital and parts of central Maine. It just so happened that one of those legislators was my Aunt Flo.
She was Florence M. Latno, the representative from Old Town, Maine. I find it pretty cool to be able to say that I had a close relative who flew with Amelia. Maybe this has something to do with the keen interest I have always had about aviation.
Maine aviation also played a critical part in protecting the country during World War II, Korea, and the Cold War.
Displays at the museum chronicle this aviation history. In Bangor there was Dow Field, an Army Air Force Base, and another in Presque Isle. The U.S. Navy had the Brunswick Naval Air Station. During the Cold War the Strategic Air Command maintained Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County close to the Canadian border.
During peace time there has always been a very active bush pilot business flying anglers to remote fishing camps on lakes in western and northern areas of the state not accessible by roads.
There are many small airports scattered around the state that support an active general aviation community.
Recently some volunteers joined with the Maine Air Museum to bring in young people, with an Aviation Explorers Post and hosting the Maine Aviation Career Education (ACE) Camp this summer.
The museum has set up a classroom in its archive room to be used for formal instruction by volunteer aviation instructors.
It is good to see this influx of young people to the museum, who will take advantage of their rich Maine aviation history to help kindle an interest in aviation. Some may become pilots and work in other aviation-related careers later in life.
The museum is also a partner with a group of aviation enthusiasts, pilots, and others who are about to restart the hunt for a single engine yellow and white Citabria that was lost on May 2, 1972. Louis William (Billy) Hogan was on a flight from Danbury, Connecticut, to Houlton, Maine, flying the aircraft to its new home at LISAir in Houlton.
Billy was on instruments and at one point thought he might be headed for Augusta, but due to an equipment failure at that airport and stormy weather, he became lost. He declared a MAYDAY by radio, which was heard by the tower at the Portland airport. His location at the time was not reported.
Extensive air and ground searches took place for several weeks, but Billy Hogan and his airplane were never found.
His brother, Jerome Hogan, has pushed for years to continue looking for his long-lost brother with limited results until recently.
It has come to light that aerial photographs taken over Maine about that time have been found which might show some anomaly that could indicate the lost airplane. This, coupled with a hiker’s report of having found some aircraft parts in the woods in Waldo County some years ago, have breathed new life into the search for Billy Hogan.
If you have any interest in helping with this search or finding out about the youth programs at the Maine Air Museum you can contact them at 207-941- 6757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The museum is open on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Memorial Day weekend until the end of September.