BURLINGTON — History took to the skies Saturday at Skagit Regional Airport.

The Heritage Flight Museum held its monthly fly day — one of the first of the season — with historic World War II- and Vietnam-era planes taking to the skies.

“We’re here for the public to interact with actual historical flying aircraft,” said Alan Anders, the museum’s vice president and director of operations and maintenance.

On Saturday — days after the 73rd anniversary of D-Day — a T-6 Texan aircraft that many World War II pilots used in training took to the skies, as did a T-34, the training aircraft that museum founder and retired astronaut Bill Anders used during his days in the Air Force.

“(The museum) reminds local folks that these war birds represent the various wars that have secured their freedom, particularly WWII,” Bill Anders said.

For Mount Vernon resident Rich Ellison, 84, the Heritage Flight Museum and its aircraft remind him of his early years. He was a teenager during WWII.

“I lived through WWII,” Ellison said. “I had two brothers in WWII.”

The Northwest Washington chapter of the national Victory Motorcycle Club used the fly day as an opportunity to get in a ride.

For the club’s monthly breakfast, club president Ken Ball surprised the group’s members by taking them on a ride to the airport to see one of the hourly sorties.

“For veterans, and for most people who live around here, this is a big deal,” Ball, of Mount Vernon, said.

Sean Dietrich, of Anacortes, agreed. It’s why he brought his two children to the event.

Wearing a flight jacket of his own, Dietrich’s 5-year-old son Maximilian said his favorite airplane was the museum’s P-51 Mustang. It was on display Saturday but was not flown during the event.

“We have a lot of military history in our family,” Sean Dietrich said. “Growing up, instead of watching Sesame Street, I was watching ‘The Longest Day.’”

The Heritage Flight Museum hosts the monthly fly days on the second Saturday of the month from April through October.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,


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