Kent ‘Aero-Space Rally’ 2012

NWTFC Aero Rally

October 16-19, 2012
Kent, WA

Rally Wagon Masters Bob and Peggy Beers

Attendees:

Bob and Peggy Beers, Lee and Judy Keeler, Dean and Sue Bjornson, Richard and Lois Piispanen – Ivar’s at Mukilteo only, Ed and Jeanette Block, Stan and Barbara Shackell, Harry and Mary Carlson, Bill and Paula Shull, George and Lynda Cook, Bob Stevens, Richard and Irene Evans, John and Marie Turner, Bob and Linda Fitzgerald, Jan and Jean Van der Brock – Ivar’s at Mukilteo only, Dick and Nancy Harris, Al and Virginia Zimmerman, Robert and Barbara Henderson – dinner one night

A fresh idea was realized as the NW Trek Fun Club gathered at Sea-Tac KOA for an aerospace rally! Our 15 pre-paid campsites were full-hookup and included a nice clubhouse facility. Bob Beers and a couple other members had retired from aerospace careers and were happy to share memorable stories. The rally itinerary was an ambitious one for two, very active days. A sheet of attendee’s w/photos, rally information and driving directions were provided and explained as we enjoyed the first evening’s happy hour and potluck dinner. Nancy Harris made the hall inviting with fall decorations. As we faced an hour’s drive north with the morning’s commuter traffic, we set up carpooling to Paine Field—Everett. Following dinner most stayed to watch the 2nd Presidential debate on wide screen TV.

Bright blue skies greeted us Wednesday morning as we gathered for fresh brewed coffee and muffin-cereal-fruit breakfast – set up daily by first-timers, Rick & Irene Evans. We all arrived in timely fashion for our 10 a.m. tour at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center. Museum staff and volunteers work there daily, meticulously restoring vintage aircraft & engines, and preserving significant items of aviation history destined for the Museum of Flight. From there, we drove on to see the impressive aircraft owned by Paul G. Allen. His “Flying Heritage Collection” included two dozen, last-of-their-kind, war birds that are maintained to FAA standards for flight in special air shows. A new building will house many additional aircraft still in restoration. Our docent was excellent, leading us through the collection chronologically, describing the unique features of each and the significant part they played in wartime history. On display, were also a couple German and Russian tanks, lots of factual memorabilia, and the impressive 1st place trophy for his spacecraft, SpaceShipOne – winner of the world competition for repeated entry into suborbital space. A copy of the spacecraft hung from the ceiling.

We then ate our packed lunches and caravanned to Boeing’s Flight Aviation Center where we rented lockers for safe storage of cell phones, cameras, purses, etc. as none were allowed on the factory tour. After a good film on Boeing history, we boarded a bus that took the 2:30 tour to the enormous, Everett Boeing Factory – the largest factory in the world by volume and under one roof. It houses the moving assembly lines for each of its wide body commercial jet aircraft – the 747, 767, 777, and the 787 Dreamliner. We were all prepared for quite a walk – several flights of steep stairs, freight elevator rides, and long sections of tunnel beneath the assembly floor. These contained all plumbing, electrical, etc. and provided quick access for their maintenance and employee access to various points in the factory. Our guide shared a wealth of information with us regarding assembly and facts unique to each aircraft as we were led along high walkways viewing operations.

Following the tour, we drove on to ‘Ivar’s at Mukilteo’ on the waterfront. We gathered in the ‘Virginia V’ banquet room for ‘happy hour’ and dinner where we could watch the activity on the dock and car ferry depart for Whidbey Island. Lois & Dick Piispanen and Jean & Jan Van den Broek were able to join us for this special rally dinner. It was amusing to see how each of us had come with a hat, cap or toupee indicating the choice we had made in advance of ‘Salad’ or ‘Clam Chowder‘ – an interesting challenge for the wait staff! The most creative will surely appear on our website and in rally album photos. We enjoyed an excellent dinner of cedar planked Alaskan sockeye salmon, blackberry relish, cornbread pudding, and green beans. The drive back to the KOA seemed especially long, as it had been an exhausting day!

The rally’s second full day got off to a fine start with another good breakfast and carpooling to the Museum of flight in nearby Tukwila. There our group received a museum briefing and was divided in two, for smaller, docent-led tours. Because we had limited time for lunch together, Bob & Peggy had arranged for good, box lunches at the museum’s McCormick Cafe. The weather was good, so in addition to the many museum galleries, we could visit the adjacent Airpark to enter America’s first jet Air Force One and the West Coast’s only Concorde. The very first 747 and 737 were also on display there. Club member, Ed Block, had memories of bringing that very 747 (RA001) through FAA certification prior to its first delivery to commercial airlines. Some members stayed hours, others headed back to the campground to troubleshoot a Trek problem, appreciate a little quiet time, or to prepare their side dish for the evening’s potluck.

Jeanette brought the club’s most current 3-yr. photo album to Happy Hour, and members, Robert (& Barbara) Henderson, gave an informative seminar– supplying us all with the Henderson’s Line-Up” catalog and fielding lots of Q&As regarding Trek upgrades. Rolled BBQ’d beef from Cave Man Kitchen was provided, and potluck side dishes and desserts rounded out the delicious dinner. With a quorum of our membership present, club president, John Turner, conducted the business meeting. Judy Keeler subbed for club Secretary, Ken Schindler. The Beers were thanked for organizing an excellent rally, and a variety of topics were discussed. Vice president, Nancy Harris, presented the slate of nominations for this fall’s election as well as those who have agreed to serve on the nominating committee for 2013. No other nominations came forth and the slate of officers was accepted, so members will soon have the opportunity to vote on-line.

Al Zimmerman suggested several rally options he and Virginia may be interested in hosting – a possibility is Roseburg, OR in May 2013.

Typical October weather arrived that evening and rain fell heavily throughout the night. It was nice that we could gather in a bright, dry clubhouse for breakfast on Friday and to say our goodbyes.

By Jeanette Block