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Alaska Air Show Association to Celebrate Alaska's Centennial of Flight

Fairbanks, Alaska – June 17, 2013 The Alaska Air Show Association will be commemorating Alaska’s Centennial of Flight on Thursday, July 4th in Fairbanks, Alaska.

One hundred years ago, only a few years after the Wright brothers first successful powered flight in North Carolina, Fairbanks merchants arranged for James V. and Lilly Martin to bring their airplane from Seattle for a demonstration flight on July 4, 1913. The Martin’s shipped their crated airplane from Seattle to Skagway by ocean steamer, from Skagway to Whitehorse by train, and from Whitehorse to Fairbanks by steamboat..

Once at Fairbanks, Martin and his wife, who was England's first woman licensed aviator, assembled their airplane. On the evening of July 3, Martin took off from Week’s ball park and flew the plane over Fairbanks at an altitude of 200 feet and at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. In all, Martin made five flights in three days at Fairbanks. One hundred years later, we are celebrating Alaska’s aviation birthday by commemorating historic flights flown by some of Alaska’s most recognized and beloved aviators.

Since May 9th, WWII and other vintage aircraft have been “barnstorming” Alaska. These aircraft include a Japanese Zero three North American T-6 Texans, one from the Heritage Flight Museum in Bellingham Washington, a classic Travel Air 6000, a Cessna 195, and an American Pilgrim to name a few. The Pilgrim might be the only flying aircraft of its kind in the world. Specific aircraft will have visited over 16 Alaskan communities that include Cordova, Valdez, Talkeetna, Homer, Kenai, Iliamna, King Salmon, Dillingham, Bethel, McGrath, Unalakleet, Nome, Kotzebue, Galena and Bettles. The “barnstorming” tour will continue through July 14th.

As part of the tribute to Alaska’s aviation centennial, the Air Show Association is partnering with the Alaska Airmen’s Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Fairbanks General Aviation Association, Alaska Aerofuel, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, Fairbanks International Airport and UAF’s Community and Technical College (CTC) to host a centennial of flight celebration. The event is scheduled to take place from 11am – 4pm on Fairbanks International Airport’s East Ramp at UAF’s Aviation Facility, 3504 South University Avenue. Activities include static aircraft displays, a “First Flight” Museum Exhibit, a sponsored picnic and other youth outreach activities.

Warbirds and other vintage aircraft will take off at noon and “parade” across the sky at Pioneer Air Park, the City of North Pole and the community of Ester, opening the day’s festivities and picnics at all locations between noon – 1pm. After the flight, get close-up and personal with the aircraft and pilots during a “Meet and Greet” scheduled from 1-3pm at the static aircraft display at the CTC hangar. Drawings for free prizes and complimentary posters will be available for pilot autographs. Don’t miss the grand re-creation of the first flight at 3pm when these historic aircraft take to air again, flying a “race-track” pattern at Fairbanks International Airport, honoring the demonstration flights that occurred in 1913.

For more information about the Centennial of Flight Celebration, including a full schedule of events, visit alaskaairshow.org.

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