The North Cascades Vintage Aircraft Museum was founded by Harold Hanson who wanted to share his love of aviation with others. Harold’s love of airplanes went back to his early childhood, and brought him joy throughout his life. Below Harold shares some thoughts about why he started the North Cascades Vintage Aircraft Museum.
When I was a little boy I used to look up at the sky each time I heard the sound of an airplane flying overhead. It was a dangerous pastime because falling in love with airplanes can be a dangerous thing. You read about them, you talk about them, and you beg, borrow and steal from the cookie jar to fly them every chance you get. You bore your family and friends, and you daydream about someday having the world’s biggest hanger with a fleet of some of the most interesting and pristine aircraft imaginable. Any of us that truly love airplanes, especially antiques and aircraft from the early years, have had that dream. Add to that the realization that a lot of the most interesting and historical airplane designs are slowly fading from view and what you have is a problem…
What to do? How do you get your airplane fix, preserve these airplanes and, at the same time, share them with all the other airplane crazed lunatics out there? You start a museum. Not just any museum – there are lots of those, but mostly dedicated to war birds or military types. You take your love for these light airplanes, combine it with a desire to preserve and share them and you slowly start to build a unique collection of the light airplanes of the common man. These are the planes we’ve heard the old timers at the local airport talk about. These are the airplanes our grandfathers, our fathers, and even some of us flew and learned to fly in. These are the airplanes we’ve heard the old timers at the local airport talk about. These are airplanes that are being pushed aside by high tech, but still have a useful life in the sky. You seek them out, you restore them and you fly them. You make make sure they are not forgotten, and you hang a welcome sign on the hangar door. -Harold Hanson
As the founder of the museum, Harold’s dream was to create a haven for pilots and aviation enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy airplanes and flying. Harold shared his love of aviation with all of our visitors and was always on the lookout for the airplanes he dreamed of during his childhood. Harold`s Dream machines in particular were the post WW ll light airplanes such as the Luscombe, Aeronca 7AC, Piper J-3 Cub, Taylorcraft and others that pilots or want to be pilots could come out of the war and use their G I bill to learn to fly and then purchase these affordable fliers. The collection has many of these machines which can be seen at many airports today, but Harold`s idea was to have the best of what these airplanes could be in the collection. Another example that you won`t find anywhere else is the famous Shortwing Piper Line of aircraft, the collection has all five of the models produced from the the airplane that saved Piper from bankruptcy in 1947-1948 , the Vagabond through to the last of Pipers mass produced tube and fabric airplanes the Piper PA-22 108 Colt all beautifully restored. As time marched on Harold saw the need to expand on the collection venue, with Jim Jenkins on board Jim`s recommendations were listened to by Harold. With Jim`s love for the Golden Age Era aircraft more and more machines from that marvelous era began to show up as either projects or flying aircraft and today this has become our main vision and goal to locate, procure, restore and fly these iconic machines that are slowly becoming more and more difficult to see and also fly. Harold`s vision certainly lives on with what we are trying to accomplish with the North Cascades Vintage Aircraft Collection.
We believe Harold would be happy and proud.