Bush Pilot

Aviation Museum salmon bake draws hundreds to Lake Hood

Alaska aviation buffs were treated to an afternoon of exciting fly-bys at Lake Hood during the Alaska Aviation Museum's annual Salmon Bake and Fly-bys on July 4.

"The DC-3s were flying so low that I thought they were trying to land at Lake Hood," said Ken Salkeld.

More than 300 people attended the event, located near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, on the south shore of Lake Hood. According to museum officials, the event raised a substantial amount of money.

"We raised more money this year than in the past with the silent auction portion of the fundraiser," said Shari Hart, marketing director for the museum. "While the actual people count was down, probably due to the rain when we opened all in all it was a success."

Fly-bys, food, and music by the Carhartt Brothers were enjoyed by all later on in the afternoon as the skies cleared and the sun shone. First up on the fly-bys were two DC-3s from TransNorthern, followed by George Pappas performing several fly-bys with his Globe Swift.

A Stearman biplane, Harvard Trainer, a Helio Courier, two L19s and an AT-6 owned by Chuck Miller was flown by Dick Benner -- with passenger Emilie Saunders, the museum membership development specialist -- all making several low passes.

The fly-bys were so popular that the local commercial operators on floats changed their takeoff and landing routines to make low passes over the lake's edge.

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Families lined the lake's edge to watch as the low flying aircraft rumbled over the float place facility.

VIPs present were former Alaska Aviation Museum board president and former CEO of PenAir, Ermalee Hickel, Irene Rowan, photographer Frank Flavin, and Flip Todd.

Dave Carp, CEO of Northern Air Cargo, who was a sponsor of the Salmon Bake, helped cook hamburgers and hot dogs on the NAC Super Grill as Mark and Judy Madden seared and prepared salmon for the crowd's consumption.

Explaining the local sport of sprint dog sled dog racing, Alaska musher celebrities Egil Ellis and Helen Lundberg discussed Alaska Sprint Dog Mushing.

Ellis is the current champion of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous World Championship, five-time Triple Crown winner and has won the North American Dog Sled Championship 11 times.

Despite a rainy start, the day ended with all in good spirits.

"It was nice to see a lot of my old friends and see the fantastic job that the museum has done with refurbishing aircraft and creating new exhibits," said Charlie LaRue. "It looks to me like a good time was had by all."

Contact Rob Stapleton at robstapleton(at)alaska.net.

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