‘Barnstormers of Yester Year’

Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club’s Pacific Northwest Air Tour comes to Kalispell

By Justin Franz
Stearman Biplane and Supercub in Libby. Courtesy Marlo Jones

If you enjoy golf, your dream home might be on the edge of the green. If you’re into boating, then a plot of land on a lake might be the perfect place to throw down some roots.

For Jeff Poschwatta, of Covington, Washington, the perfect home is at the edge of a runway, not far from the hangar that houses his vintage 1942 Interstate Cadet airplane.

Poschwatta is one of 30 pilots arriving to Kalispell in their historic airplanes on July 14 as part of the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club’s Pacific Northwest Air Tour. The public is welcome to meet the pilots and see the 30 classic aircraft at an open house at the Kalispell City Airport on July 15. Kalispell is one of a half-dozen stops on the tour of Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Although Poschwatta, 56, lives in the Seattle area, flying in and out of the Flathead Valley is nothing new to him. In the late 1980s and 1990s, he flew as a commercial pilot for United Express and frequently made flights to Kalispell and Missoula.

“It doesn’t get any better than western Montana,” he said.

Aviation has long run in Poschwatta’s family and his father was also a commercial pilot who at one time flew for Western Airlines in and out of Kalispell. As a kid, Poschwatta remembers flying with his father in his personal plane and said that while some families took a car to their grandparent’s house, his family took a plane. Poschwatta began learning to fly when he was 17 years old.

Marlo Jones is another member of the club and will be bringing his 1947 Piper PA-11 Cub Special to Kalispell. The plane was built after World War II, when the aviation industry thought pilots returning from the war would want to purchase their own plane. Jones’ 1947 model cost $2,445 when it was brand new.

Most of the aircraft taking part in the Northwest tour are from the 1940s and 1950s, but some are newer, including an experimental aircraft built just last year. Poschwatta said the tour is always popular in small towns and recalled a stop a few years ago in Libby when the entire runway was lined with aviation fans. The planes will arrive on the afternoon of July 14 and stay until July 16, when they will leave for Lewiston, Idaho. Poschwatta said the tour is much like the ones made by stunt pilots in the early 20th century to promote the world of aviation.

“We’re essentially the barnstormers of yester year,” he said.

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