In Spokane: the world’s oldest flying Boeing airplane

I’ve been touring Spokane, WA and the surrounding countryside this week in search of unusual people, places and events to include in the 3rd edition of Washington Curiosities, one of the books I write for Globe Pequot Press.

The week will end with a visit to Felts Field to meet Addison Pemberton, who found and rebuilt (with the help of more than 60 people) the oldest Boeing airplane still flying.

I’ll report back on my visit with Pemberton and his airplane, but in the meantime, take a look at my new Spokane buddy. I found him while touring Marvin Carr’s One of a kind in the world museum, which is filled with wonders ranging from the oldest typewriter in the world to a taxidermied giraffe and Elvis Presley’s 1973 Lincoln Mark IV.

Spokane museum Marvin Carr squirrel

First-time trike flight

For a while up there on Prosser Butte, just outside of Spokane, WA, I was hoping the sun would set before it was my turn to get strapped into the back seat of the two-seated, three-wheeled, motorized, kite-like contraption that Denny Reed insists is a perfectly legal light sport aircraft, or trike.

Spokane Backcountry Aerosports light sport aircraft

But there was plenty of light left after the four writers I’m touring Spokane with each took their turn flying low over nearby hills and wheat fields with Backcountry Aerosports owner Denny Reed as their guide.

So when it was my turn, I had no choice but to climb in, buckle up, and hold on tight.

You know how this turns out.

There was nothing whatsoever to be worried about. The sampler flight – maybe ten or fifteen minutes max –was a bit scary at take-off, but incredibly exhilarating after that.

As Reed promised, the aircraft (I’m still uncomfortable saying I flew in a trike) felt stable and safe. And when we flew down low, it was indeed possible to feel changes in air temperature.

So, I’m now a convert.  I’m not saying I’m ready to sign up for the flight training courses Reed offers and get my own Ultralight  or Light Sport Aircraft anytime soon.  But if I had the opportunity to ride along with someone again, I’m game. I might even seek it out.

And I promise: next time, no whining. In fact, next time, I’d like to fly first.

light sport aircraft trike prosse butte