Wash. museum will fly first responders in historic planes to honor pandemic response

Three planes built between 1927 and 1957 will fly five first responders and healthcare professionals in a parade over Washington State landmarks and medical facilities


Rebecca White
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash. — After planes and public access were grounded due to smoke, wind and COVID-19, Spokane and Kootenai County residents will have a chance to see several historic planes this weekend during a flight to honor first responders and medical professionals.

Executive Director of the Historic Flight Foundation Sheila Geraghty said the museum hoped to highlight how much nurses, EMTs and firefighters had been through during the pandemic, by giving them a chance to fly in historic planes across the region.

There will be three planes from the museum that will take off Saturday and a variety of others from across the region that will join in the aircraft parade. The planes will carry five first responders and medical professionals.

Geraghty said she hopes it will remind people of all the struggles emergency and medical workers have endured during the pandemic, but also will be something positive to look forward to doing.

“The whole vision of the flight was for people to take a moment to realize what some of these first responders and frontline workers have gone through,” she said.

She said the foundation had hoped to do the flight in September instead, but delayed due to smoke and wind. She said the museum also recently reopened after months of closure to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

The passengers will include an ICU nurse, a deputy chief from the Spokane Fire Department, an emergency services director from Providence Sacred Heart, a caregiver from Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene and a paramedic from American Medical Response.

Geraghty said the planes from the museum were all made between the years 1927 and 1957. She said museum planes that will fly include a T-6 Warbird, a Stearman biplane and a amphibious beaver plane.

The museum opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the planes will take off at noon. The hourlong flight will cover the parking lots at Spokane Fairgrounds, Spokane Arena, Joe Albi Stadium, NorthTown Mall and Spokane Valley Mall, and the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex.

The parade will also fly over the major South Hill medical facilities, downtown Spokane, Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in northwest Spokane and Coeur d’Alene before returning to Felts Field.

The planes will fly at around 1,000 feet so they should be easily seen from the ground.

Geraghty said spectators should be able to see the planes from the parking lots outside the museum as well.

She said viewers can purchase a ticket to go to the museum and view the planes take off at the facility, but the view from outside or in parking lots is free.

“Families just need something fun to do to get out of the house,” she said.

“It’s all around going to be a wonderful fun event for a family, or a veteran.”

The historic Flight Foundation is at 5829 E Rutter Ave. in Spokane.

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©2020 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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