Sekiu Fly-In a success

By Donna Barr for the Forks Forum

The 2013 Sekiu Fly-in Breakfast at the Sekiu Airfield, Saturday, May 25, was a great hit with locals and pilots.


The event is the result of the efforts of the Clallam Bay/Sekiu Chamber of Commerce. The cost of $8 a plate for adults brought the attendees pulled pork and chicken, served up by cook Brian Harmo, in addition to a full brunch menu.


Despite turbulent gray weather, pilots and friends swooped in from Woodinville, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Seattle, and Duncan and Victoria in Canada. The field filled up with a jewel box of bright little planes, in white and blue, bright yellow and red-and-yellow checks. Local pilot Gary Fernandez, who helped organize the event, represented with his own well-known white Cessna.


John Hawroyd and Jeremy Prpich flew in from Canada in their bright yellow RV home-builds. RV stands for Richard VanGrunsven, the designer of the popular airplane kits that are known as RVs.


Hawroyd said of the basic RV design, “It’s a beautiful flying machine. It’s fast and light on the controls — it’s for sport, not haulage. Very economical on fuel. It’s like dancing with a pretty lady.”


The planes have been to Texas and Tuktoyaktuk, on the Arctic Ocean. Hawroyd wanted to emphasize that pilots were very environmentally conscious, because they get a bird’s-eye view of resource use.


He said he bought his first plane from logging company owner Mr. Spolstra, in Forks. Twenty-five years later, when he returned with the plane, he gave Spolstra a ride. By then Spolstra had artificial knees and needed help to struggle into the cockpit. But once a pilot, always a pilot.


Hawroyd said, “The smile on his face was worth it.”


Washington Pilots Association President Les Smith came in from Everett’s Paine Field in his Cessna Cardinal 177-B (designating the fixed-wheel-gear model). Paine Field offers an annual aviation day, last year luring nearly 8,000 attendees.


The Paine Field started 17 years ago, part of events with two museums, including Paul Allen’s Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation. Smith said that every two weeks Allen flies two of the classic military airplanes, including a German Messerschmidt, American Mustang, British Hurricane, Japanese Mitsubishi (The “Zero”), and now a Soviet MIG 29.


Steve Waterman, who flew in with him and chipped in for fuel, is building his own RV. He’s finished the tail and wings. He said, “I had to wait until my kids grew up, so now I get to do stuff for me now.”


Fly-in first-timer Stephen Christopher flew in with his RV-7, accompanied by his wife, Melissa. They discovered the invitation to the fly-in on the Pacific Flyer Facebook forum.


Christopher remembers Melissa saying, “OK, let’s go out there to Sekiu.”


He added, “She’s the boss!”


The Christopher trip turned into an adventure, starting from Arlington, hopping down to Langley on Whidbey Island to have coffee, and dropping into Sequim to pick up a few gallons of fuel.


The two little yellow RVs took this moment to roar up into the air, one after another, and return for a low, screaming fly-over before taking off for home.


Christopher laughed, “Those wild Canadians!”


Maureen Winn, of the Wahine ‘llikea Hawaiian dance troop, offered a graceful presentation of traditional Hawaiian dances. She chose the dances for their story of greenery, waterfalls and flight, to reflect the forests, Sekiu’s Falls Creek waterfall and the fly-in.


The Chamber’s Carol Schultz said last year one of the pilots said the event needed dancing girls. So they got one. Perhaps next year, the whole troupe?
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