For the 25th time since its inception in 1996, the Twisp Airport’s Fly-In Pancake Breakfast entertained and fed the community at the airfield just south of Twisp on Saturday (July 2).
Event coordinator Dan Kuperberg was pleased with this year’s renewal after a couple of years off because of COVID.
“We had a real good turnout,” said Kuperberg, estimating about 20 airplanes and an uncounted number of folks coming by ground transportation. “Everybody had fun, and we had a great group of 25 volunteers who pitched in to provide a fun event and great food.”
Several pilots were also providing short rides above the area.
One of the airplanes that flew in was the replica of the historical craft Miss Veedol, up from Pangborn Field in East Wenatchee. The original Veedol was a single-engine Bellanca CH-400 Special Model J monoplane, according to literature provided by members of the Spirit of Wenatchee Project, a nonprofit organization responsible for the construction and operation of the replica.
Chris Rader, a board member of the Spirit of Wenatchee Project, was the lead interpreter on Saturday, telling how the original Veedol was the first aircraft to fly non-stop across the Pacific Ocean, from Misawa, Japan, to Seattle in October 1931.
The story is that the Puget Sound area was cloaked in fog as the Veedol, piloted by Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon Jr., arrived in the vicinity. Lacking a safe landing spot, Pangborn decided to fly on toward Wenatchee where he knew of a dirt airstrip they could use, betting the north central Washington skies would be more amenable to landing.
The gamble paid off. The crew had dropped the Veedol’s landing gear into the Pacific soon after take-off, a planned jettison of the extra weight to extend the flight, requiring a “belly landing” — and the dirt strip familiar to Pangborn seemed a perfect alternate landing location.
Indeed, it was nearly perfect, a bent propeller being the only damage the aircraft suffered. The landing site eventually bore Pangborn’s name, and now serves as a regional connection to Seattle, Spokane and other Northwest airports.
“It’s not real comfortable to ride in,” said crew member Alan Bokma of the vintage replica. “We fly it around to different spots for educational purposes.”
Bokma said the plane has been to several events already this year, with a few more to go.
“We don’t usually go much further than a couple of hours from Wenatchee. We go to Portland, Moses Lake, Walla Walla and usually about five or six events a year,” he said.
Bokma said that it took about 40 minutes to fly up from Pangborn Field, where it is hangered most of the time.
The replica project began in the mid-1990s with a fundraising effort, the plane’s maiden voyage coming in 2003, total cost around $500,000. More information on the Miss Veedol is available at missveedol.org.