A Soaring Success
Hundreds turned out for the Classic Memories aviation and car show at Cape Fear Regional Jetport on May 29.
Everything came together perfectly for the Classic Memories event at the Cape Fear Regional Jetport. Temperatures in the low 80s with a nice offshore breeze, interest in both the World War II and current aircraft on display, dozens of classic automobiles and hot rods, plus the tunes of Brunswick County Big Band all came together to make for an ideal Saturday outing for hundreds of Cape Fear residents and visitors.
Members of the Oak Island Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 939 quickly created Classic Memories after the planned tour stop of the EAA’s B-17G bomber “Aluminum Overcast” was cancelled because of maintenance issues. Not wanting to let the community down, the directors of the chapter decided to go ahead with a scaled-down gathering, and Classic Memories was born.
The event began with a pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 11 am while show cars arrived from various car clubs in the Cape Fear area. Clubs participating included the British Motor Club of the Cape Fear, Cape Fear Cruisers, Tri-Beach Cruisers and the Wilmington Chapter of the Antique Car Club of America. The free event drew visitors curious about airplanes and cars.
Of special note was the Cape Fear Cruisers support for the event. They relieved the Chapter 939 members from parking the cars participating in the car show and also took over operation of the 50/50 raffle.
“Their voluntary involvement made the event so much less stressful for our chapter members,” says EAA Chapter 939 President Rich Largent.
Largent served as the master-of-ceremonies, ring master and head man in charge of the event. One volunteer from the Cape Fear Cruisers was Robin Summer, a past treasurer of that organization. Her dedication to selling the crowd on the benefits of participating in the 50/50 raffle no doubt led to the significant amount of money raised for the EAA Chapter’s Young Eagles initiative.
Young Eagles is an international program created by the EAA to engage America’s youth in aerospace education and experience. The program exposes young people to flight at an early age, followed by mentoring and even financial support for flying lessons, as well as scholarships to attend various EAA flight activities.
As morning morphed into afternoon, Brunswick Big Band, a volunteer organization providing the Lower Cape Fear area with sounds of the golden Big Band era of Artie Shaw, Glen Miller, Lionel Hampton and Benny Goodman, entertained the attendees. Brunswick Big Band played from 1 to 3 pm and transported the crowd back to the 1940s with their music. Brunswick Big Band is a component of Brunswick Bands, Inc.
While the band played, members of EAA Chapter 939 kept at it, cranking out grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, along with chips and sodas and a variety of sweet snacks. Chapter members staffed several booths, providing information to visitors about learning to fly, aircraft, the EAA Chapter and World War II.
One tent, World War II Memorabilia, was staffed by chapter member Bill Sullivan, a Navy and Army veteran who served our country for 35 years. Enlisting in the Navy in the Naval Air branch, he rose through the ranks, eventually earning a commission as a Naval officer. He transferred to the Army National Guard and then into the U.S. Army Reserve, where he completed his service and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Sullivan carefully studied the history of the displayed memorabilia and gave visitors a comprehensive and enthusiastic overview of the service and experiences of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Captain Rinard T. Largent, the father of EAA Chapter 939 president, Rich Largent. The stories were brought to life by actual artifacts from Captain Largent’s service. These included his uniforms, maps, photographs and footlockers.
Exploring the World War II Memorabilia display were father and son Steve and Sam Lyons. Asked what the best part of the experience for him was, Sam said, “The airplanes. I like the planes!” Steve explained that he had been out for a walk in the area when he saw the heavy traffic on Long Beach Road and the signs advertising a car show. Steve and Sam came for the cars but stayed for the aircraft. Expounding upon the special nature of the day, Sam explained about “Dadderday” a Saturday for just father and son to enjoy a major activity and stay connected with one another. Classic Memories certainly satisfied the requirements for an awesome “Dadderday!”
The event was a great success for EAA Chapter 939. The funds that were raised will help the chapter introduce even more youngsters to the joys of aviation and career possibilities within that industry. A very admirable job was completed by EAA Chapter 939 to expose many area young people to aviation career possibilities. If you would like additional information, email Chapter 939 at firstname.lastname@example.org.