“We have a good time while doing good work,” says Leo Dondlinger, vice-president of the Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club. Leo and his wife, Gail, join about 120 others who are members of the club to do good deeds while enjoying the fun of owning and flying vintage aircraft. In Leo and Gail’s case, until recently, they owned two antique airplanes. A 1964 Beechcraft Musketeer and a 1965 Cessna 182. Now they just have the Musketeer.
Members of the club fly their planes to various air shows and fly-ins around the Northwest, including our annual North Cascades Vintage Aircraft Fly-In each July. Their biggest event occurs every other year when the club takes off for an organized air tour that lasts about a week. Last year they began the tour in Richland, WA. There the local high school serenaded the club with kettle drums, and members local residents feasted on barbecue. Leo says the club’s presence drew a large crowd that wanted to see Stearman’s, Travel Aires and other amazing vintage aircraft up-close. The air tour left Richland for St. Maries, ID, Bonners Ferry, ID, and Crystal Lakes, MT prior to arriving in Kalispell, MT. Two days later they resumed their tour and headed for Kamiah, ID, finally ended in Lewiston, ID.
In addition to flying and showing off their antique airplanes, the club also strives to give back to the northwest community by promoting aviation and encouraging aviation enthusiasts to join their organization. Leo says about 15% of the club’s membership do not own an aircraft–they are there because of their passion for aviation.
The Puget Sound Antique Airplane Club most important contribution are the aviation scholarships they provide through the Teen Flight program. Each year they award scholarships to northwest teens who excel in aviation activities. They chose local teens so they can personally encourage and guide them into the wonderful world of flying. So, we salute the members of this amazing club and welcome them to the museum any time. And if you’d like to subscribe to their newsletter you can do so here.