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Memorial Day weekend: Vintage Mitsubishi Zero airplane visits Homer

With the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Attu being honored this month, there’s a bit of poignancy that a World War II era Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero is among the historic planes visiting Homer this weekend. 

The Zero, one of only five flying remaining such aircraft, is part of a squadron of vintage planes on tour for the Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration that started May 9 in Cordova.

The planes land at the Homer Airport with an air show about 1 p.m. Friday. A meet-and-greet community gathering is 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Bald Mountain Air Service hangar. Homer Air, Pathfinder Aviation and Maritime Helicopters provide refreshments. From 5 to 7 p.m. Friday the Pratt Museum holds a reception for the Centennial Pilots and displays the traveling museum exhibit of the centennial. The tour leaves Homer on Saturday morning.

The centennial marks 100 years since the first aircraft landed in Fairbanks in 1913. Other planes featured in the show include a 1931 Fairchild American Pilgrim, a Stinson L-13 Grasshopper, a Travel Air SA-6000-A, and two other WWII era planes, the North American Aviation T-6 Texan and a Canadian Royal Air Force Harvard MkIIb.

Organized by the Alaska Air Show Association, the show on Friday features fly-bys and flying in a race-track pattern over the airport. During the meet-and-greet at Bald Mountain Air Service, visitors can get free posters and pilot autographs and also view the traveling exhibit.

The tour visits southwestern Alaska next, then Unalakleet, Nome and Barrow, passing through Fairbanks and Wasilla, and ending July 14 at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage. For more information on the show, visit www.alaskaairshow.org.

This article first appeared in The Homer News and is reprinted here with permission. Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong(at)homernews.com