Classic cars, planes share runway at Wings & Wheel Expo
Hagerstown Regional Airport will have excitement in the air and on the ground at the Wings & Wheels Expo on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The fundraising event to benefit the Hagerstown Aviation Museum will offer displays, tours and flights, and feature Hagerstown-built Fairchild aircraft, as well as Warbirds, modern planes, classic cars, trucks, RC model aircraft, music, food and more.
John Seburn, Hagers- town Aviation Museum president, said the event is the only expo of its kind in Washington County and the surrounding region. Last year, with rainy weather, the event drew more than 1,500 people. The year before, when weather was favorable, organizers stopped counting attendance when it hit 6,000.
“It draws a lot of people when we have Martin State Airport near Baltimore come with an A-10 Fairchild that was built here. There are still a lot of people here that helped build that airplane and a lot of people like to come out and see it,” Seburn said.
Fairchild was an aircraft manufacturing company that operated in Hagers- town from 1931 until 1984.
“At its peak in the 1950s,” Seburn said, “there were 10,000 people working there. It was the largest employer in the area at the time. A lot of families had that history. They worked at Fairchild and helped build all different airplanes. People who built them are still bringing their kids and their grandchildren.”
Area families who honor that heritage inspire the work of the Hagers- town Aviation Museum.
“They keep us working to preserve that history. A lot of places don’t have a history like Hagerstown in aviation manufacturing, so it’s kind of unique,” Seburn said.
The museum owns 23 airplanes, but not all of them are currently in Hagerstown. Many from the collection will be on display at the expo.
“Right now, we are like a museum without walls. It’s kind of what we call it. We have hopes and plans to some day have a hangar,” Seburn said. “Normally, all the big planes sit outside. The small planes made of wood and fabric, the ones that are more fragile, are in different hangars around the airport. When we hold an event like this, we bring out all the small airplanes and people can come and and see them all.”
Attendees can tour the large airplanes.
“They can walk through all of those, get up in the cockpit and all. Those are always very popular,” he said.
For a $100 donation, expo-goers can experience open cockpit flying in the museum’s 1943 Fairchild PT-19 Primary Trainer.
“There were about 6,000 built during World War II at Fairchild,” Seburn said. “They were the first planes pilots learned how to fly in the military. That’s what we give rides in,” he said.
Availability of flights and seats may be limited.
For $425 per person, the Georgetown, Del.-based Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation will offer flight experience rides in their North American B-25J “Panchito” medium bomber. One of the most recognizable aircraft in the world, the B-25 was used by several Allied countries during World War II.
A World War II Stinson L-5 Sentinel liaison aircraft and a World War II TBM Avenger torpedo bomber also will be available for flight experiences.
“The TBM Avenger is a single engine plane that launched off aircraft carriers during World War II. That’s kind of exciting,” Seburn said.
Young Eagle Aircraft Flights will be offered free of charge for youths, ages 8 to 17 by Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 36.
The Civil Air Patrol and other organizations will showcase exhibits and aircraft, and the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics will provide information on aviation careers at the event. There also will be private aircraft displays, as well as exhibits by airport businesses, maintenance and firefighting.
“The event itself is not a full-blown air show, per say, but more of a Wings & Wheels car show and airplane show,” Seburn said. “There will be a lot of rides in different airplanes, vintage airplanes, and a lot of airplane activity — taking off, flying, landing, all that.”
If you go...
What: Wings and Wheels Expo
When: Saturday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Hagerstown Regional Airport, 18434 Showalter Rd., Hagerstown
Cost: Admission is free. Costs for airplane rides and vendor items vary.
Contact: Visit Wings & Wheels Expo 2019 on Facebook. Additional information and reservations for flight experiences available at https://wingsandwheelsexpo.com/