Texas Flying Legends land in Wiscasset

Local pilots lend hangars
Posted:  Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 5:30pm

The Texas Flying Legends Museum could have housed its warbirds elsewhere through Labor Day, but chose Wiscasset Municipal Airport for the people who work and fly there, Chief Pilot Warren Pietsch said.

“Everyone treats us so well here,” Pietsch said after landing a Japanese Zero at the town-owned airport Tuesday afternoon, July 28. Five other warbirds arrived with it.

“It was an awesome, impressive sight to see those old planes coming in to Wiscasset,” Airport Manager Frank Costa said.

Plans for the stay began weeks ago, when the museum’s summer schedule changed and it turned out the warbirds would be in the region for some fly-bys. Wiscasset has hosted the museum’s warbirds in recent years, but was not originally scheduled to see them this year.

There was not time to get federal paperwork processed for an air show at the airport, so there won’t be one, Pietsch said. However, the museum is working on trying to schedule an open house at the airport in August, with a fly-by, he said.

The pilots planned to head to Montsweag Roadhouse in Woolwich for lunch Tuesday. Plans called for them to leave town Wednesday, but for the planes to be here through Labor Day except when doing a fly-by. Hangar owners are lending the space for the warbirds.

When Wiscasset pilot Ken Boudin got word that the museum had planes coming to the region and needed hangers for the stay, he was glad to lend his.

Boudin keeps his turbine helicopter and piper Saratoga plane at his hangar; but he and other hangar owners planned to keep their aircraft out to make room for the warbirds.

“All their pilots are friends of ours. This is just one pilot helping another pilot,” Boudin said.

“They’re just a great bunch of people,” hangar owner Steve Williams of Georgetown said about the museum’s pilots. If his Cessna 185 plane or the 1946 J3 Cub that also uses his hangar need shelter, he could either use other Wiscasset hangars whose aircraft are away, or find space at the airport in Brunswick, he said.

Asked why he was freeing up his hangar for the Texas Flying Legends, Williams said: “These folks have a great mission, showing the aircraft and making the younger generations knowledgeable about the sacrifices that men and women made in World War II.”

Williams and other pilots were at the airport Monday night awaiting the warbirds’ arrival. The area pilots were discussing a fog bank and saying it might arrive ahead of the warbirds.

It did. The planes spent Monday night at the airport at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

On Tuesday, Ben Gottlieb and Dave Stevens, plane buffs and engineers at Peregrine Technologies at the airport, sat at a picnic table to wait for the planes to come in.

“There aren’t many of them left,” Stevens said of the Word War II planes.

Woolwich resident and former Naval commander Rick Tetrev was watching, too. Tetrev recently became airport supervisor.

“I always get excited when I see military aircraft, and these did not disappoint at all,” he said after they landed.

The planes’ visit will bring some revenue to the airport in the form of fuel sales for the warbirds, Costa said. 

Museum pilot Mark Murphy said the pilots had a good flight into Wiscasset Tuesday. “And we’re happy to be back. We didn’t think it was going to happen this year.

“It’s nice to visit with old friends and make new ones,” he said.