USA NORTHWEST 2014

~MUSEUM OF MOUNTAIN FLYING~

Copyright Ruud Leeuw Photos © R.Leeuw

During a vacation in the US Northwest I found the opportunity to plan a few aviation visits en route.
During the past 10 years or so I had been in on-and-off contact with Greg Lee, volunteer at Missoula's Museum of Mountain Flying and this was a great opportunity to meet up with him and explore the museum.
So on Saturday Oct.18th I found my way to the museum and Greg was there to meet me.

 


Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
A look down on part of the collection.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
The museum has a 1947 2 1/2 ton federal flat bed truck to their disposal, which was used by Johnson Flying Service for
years at Missoula's airport. It was restored by museum members and from donations from the auto business.
This truck has been used in local parades for years.
A partial 1946 Aeronca Champ (Chief?) sits in the back.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
The entrance has a vivid display of photographs, wooden propellors, bushplane models and plenty of information to start with.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Piper J-3C-65 Cub N21BJ. Flown with an 'experimental' classification obviously.
According to Bob Ogden's writing this BJ Sportster is a Piper Cub modified for flying from high altitude airfields.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Stinson Voyager 150 N8466K towers over a model display of the museum's hangar and assorted model aircraft. The FAA website offered following additional information: serial 108-1466, manufactured in 1946 and registered to Lucille H. Evans of Hamilton,MT (registry expired).
The sign states "Donated by the family of Mark & Lucille Evans".

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
deHavilland DH.60GMW Gipsy Moth N617V (c/n 179). Its last owner was Melvin H. Lindgren of Helena,MT.
The sign states "Our thanks to the generosity of Swede H. Lundgren, Clara Mae Splittstoeser and Arthur C. Quinell".

The deHavilland DH.60 Moth is a 1920s British two-seat touring and training aircraft that was developed into a
series of aircraft by the deHavilland Aircraft Company.wikipedia.org - De_Havilland_DH.60_Moth

Bob Ogden wrote:
"The American-built Gipsy Moth spent many years hanging in the terminal building at Helena Airport before
joining the exhibition here."

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Kaminskas RK-3 Jungster II N805 (c/n 100JH, manufactured in 1979).
The Jungster II is a parasol wing homebuilt aircraft. Designed by Rim Kaminskas, it first flew in March 1966.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
ORR Clark Special 3 N50RR (c/n 3, mfr 1989), registered (expired) to Floyd A. Orr (Stevensville,MT).
The Clark Special is an original design dating from the late-1970s.

 

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

NC8865 is a splendid looking 1929 Travel Air S-6000-B, c/n 986 - registered to Hellgate Equipment of Drummond,MT.
Ever since I had the pleasure of a flightseeing trip in Bill de Creeft's Travel Air (see Alaska 2006) the Travel Air is of special interest to me!
Considering that small cabin it is hard to consider this plane so versatile, transporting passengers, cargo, do medevacs: the Travel Air did it and more.
See this NC8865B image of the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives on Flickr.com and another one, painted bright red and operating from a dirttrack in Idaho, also on Flickr.com

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

At one time the Travel Air 6000 became the bread and butter of flying in the mountains of Montana and Idaho for Johnson Flying Service. For delivering smokejumpers, hauling mail and supplies, and flying emergency missions into the mountains, this plane was unmatched through the middle decades of the 20th century, and Johnson Flying Service had a fleet of them!
NC8865 belonged to Johnson Flying Service from 1958 to 1965.
Source: missoulian.com/news/local/ (01April2013)

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying


 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Douglas C-47A Skytrain N24320, c/n 20197 (mfr 1944). Reg'd 15Jan2002 to the Museum of Mountain Flying.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

In 2000 I had come across the N24320 in West Memphis,AR when it was still earning a living with McNeely Charter Service. At the time I was told that McNeely were going to sell their two DC-3s and quite surprised that an airworthy DC-3 was going into a museum. But when I learned that NC24320 was registered in the name of Johnson Flying Service of Missoula and spent the next 30 years there, the plan became obvious.

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Its career was not without adversity: in 1954 it was involved in an incident, when it ditched in the Monongahela River,PA
on December 22nd with 10 fatalities as a sad result. N24320 was repaired by Johnson Flying Service during 1955.
A few years before my visit in 2001 to West Memphis N24320 suffered from a severe storm, when it was picked up
and smashed down on the ramp. The damage took it out of production and my visit saw it in the last stages of inspection
and repairs to bring it to an airworthy status again. See also an article I saved on the move to this museum.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Johnson Flying Service was established in the 1920s and sold to Evergreen Helicopters in the 1970s.
Evergreen was established by Delford Smith (founder and owner) and began operations in 1960 as Evergreen Helicopters; it acquired the operating certificate of Johnson Flying Service and merged it with Intermountain Airlines from Pacific Corporation (a CIA front company) in 1975 to form Evergreen International Airlines.


Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

The Mann Gulch DC-3
"On an afternoon in August 1949, a Johnson Flying Service DC-3, NC 23420 - a former U.S. Army Air Forces
C-47, dropped 15 smokejumpers on a fire 20 miles north of Helena, Montana, that became known as the Mann Gulch fire.
Twelve of the 15 jumpers, along with a walking fire guard (James Harrison), died from the fire. It was a national tragedy and made the pages of Life magazine.
An extended account and information on
https://www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/8884719795/

The C-47 was built in 1944 but never saw combat and was purchased by JFS in Georgia in 1946. It was converted to a DC-3 and was used for years hauling cargo and dropping smokejumpers."

Those that were killed by the fire:
•Robert J. Bennett, age 22 from Paris, TN
•Eldon E. Diettert, age 19 from Moscow, ID, died on his 19th birthday
•James O. Harrison - Helena National Forest Fire Guard, age 20 from Missoula, MT
•William J. Hellman, age 24 from Kalispell, MT
•Philip R. McVey, age 22 from Babb, MT
•David R. Navon, age 28 from Modesto, CA
•Leonard L. Piper, age 23 from Blairsville, PA
•Stanley J. Reba, from Brooklyn, NY
•Marvin L. Sherman, age 21 from Missoula, MT
•Joseph B. Sylvia, age 24 from Plymouth, MA
•Henry J. Thol, Jr. age 19 from Kalispell, MT
•Newton R. Thompson age 23 from Alhambra, CA
•Silas R. Thompson age 21 from Charlotte, NC

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Its present condition here at the Museum of Mountain Flying is almost airworthy; a few technical items (I think I was told it
had a carburator that needed fixing) and it could be brought back quite simply in the air with a return to service inspection
and paperwork. We'll have to see if the museum will ever get the resources to pull that off.
The fact that the museum is now housed indoors in this great hangar has been a big step.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Smokejumping kit inside C-47 N24320

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
I was flattered to see my webpage printed out with details of my visit to N24320 at the time at West Memphis,AR

Dave Peel wrote me in dec.2014: "Have just read your report of your visit to the Museum of Mountain Flying at
Missoula. I think it has grown quite a bit since I visited in 2001 !
What particularly interested me were the photos of DC-3 N24320. You may be interested to know that this aircraft visited Europe at least once while with Johnson's Flying Service! On 12Aug75 I saw it overflying my home in the English Midlands, en route from Prestwick to Gatwick.
I never discovered the purpose of this flight, where it was going to after LGW etc - if the museum has the logbooks perhaps your contact can enlighten me?"
Greg replied: At that time, N24320 was owned by Evergreen at the time, but may have still been painted as Johnson Flying Service. I'll ask the three former Johnson employees & museum members if they know about this."

IN REPLY: "My name is Skip Alderson. In late July and early August 1975, myself and crew flew N24320 to Niger.  We were in England in early August 1975. 
It took us 72 hrs....  and 13 days to complete the trip. It's a story in itself!
Any questions please let me know.  I realy liked your story on the Museum of Mountain Flying."             
Skip Alderson.  
Terrebonne, Oregon 97760 U.S.A.

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Cockpit of N24320

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Greg Lee was patient with me while I looked this DC-3 over in detail. All in all I spent a good two hours here at the museum
and Greg kept feeding me with information on Johnson Air Service, the museum, aerial firefighting and,
his former profession including years in Alaska, smokejumpers.

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Beech C-45F Expeditor 'N9327Z' (ex/ N8037H, c/n 8449, mfr 1946).
While registered 44-87190 for the USAAF this UC-45F was involved in an accident at Wold Chamberlain Field,MN on 25Jul1946. Cause nor extend of damage was clarified here: www.accident-report.com/Yearly/1946/4607.html

Greg provided me with following details:
"Beech C-45F Expeditor N8037H was bought in Tennessee by Northstar Aviation and shipped by truck to Missoula. The aircraft was damaged when a wing root touched a concrete support on a highway overpass!
The cost to repair the damage to the Beech was more than Northstar wanted to spend, so Northstar gave the Beech to the Museum of Mountain Flying.
The Museum restored the aircraft to the condition seen, and gave it the Johnson Flying Service (Twin Beech) N-number N9327Z."

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
The DC-3 (C-47) looking down on the 'mini DC-3'.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Looking at the obstructed tailnumber on the Twin Beech, one can make out N9327Z, an old Johnson Air
Twin Beech tailnumber, applied after restoration.


 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Hanging from the ceiling: Rutan 33 Vari-Eze N5SB

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

N6257 was formerly owned by Ronald 'Ron' Gipe.
Ron Gipe spent 5 years in the early 1970s with Johnson Flying Service, hauling fire crews, spraying weeds, building lookouts, etc.
'The Montana and the Sky' newsletter '(Vol.63 No.3 March 2012) wrote about Mr Gipe's retirement: how he flew a Bell Huey in Vietnam in 1969, after which he took a job flying for Johnson Bell Flying Service; in 1971 he went to work flying for Rocky Mountain Helicopters and then in 1977 he started his own business, Flathead Helicopters. Work included flying biologists for bear research, geologists to drilling equipment and firefighters across Montana and Idaho and other Western states.

This article (missoulian.com/news/local/) has more details on his wildlife work, where he used his Bell 47 for darting mule deer, elk, moose and sheep. He also used it to drive herds into a net so that radio collars could be installed. This article stated that Gipe logged some 27.000 hours in his Bell 47 Soloy before selling it in 2009.
So N6257 is a different Bell 47.

This May 2014 article (www.dailyinterlake.com/news/) shows how recent the transfer to the museum and the passing of Mr Gipe was:
On Thursday 29May14, Ron Gipe oversaw the transport of a Bell 47 G3B1 from his hangar in Lakeside to the Montana Museum of Mountain Flying at the Missoula airport.
The Bell 47 became the 13th aircraft in the museum, which was opened in 2002. The collection’s centerpiece is the DC-3 that flew smokejumpers to their deaths in the tragic Mann Gulch fire in 1949. Their remains were flown back to Missoula (see note below, maybe it should read Helena -Webmaster) on a Bell 47.

Comments on the above were written by Dick Hughes, in email 08Mar2015:
"Both Jack (Mostly) and Swede flew the helicopter at Mann Gulch, ferrying bodies and FS investigators for several days after the initial arrival on site. Jack flew the bodies out one at a time as the helicopters (N177B and N178B) were still being evaluated by the FS until they were contracted for Mann Gulch.
They were equipped with neither litters nor skids and they had to improvise to get the litter tied in with the machine. The wheels were also a problem as a pilot had to be careful where he landed so it would not roll away while loading the litter.
The bodies were delivered to the funeral home in Helena even as the local paper was putting out the first edition covering the tragedy and the headline read that there were 5 fatalities.
There is nothing in the log entries that show they were flown to Missoula from Helena. At least not by Jack and I cannot imagine 12  trips were made for that 200 mile round trip in the open bubble 47D." 

Gipe said he built the non-operational 1966 model from 'lots of parts and pieces' he had lying around his hangar at Lakeside Helicopter, the business he’s operated for a third of a century.
Gipe was forced to (temporarily) retire from flying, after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, aged 68 at the time. He underwent two stem-cell transplants in Seattle. Unable to fly upon his return, Gipe turned to building another Bell 47 as therapy, starting from the skids and building up. Gave him something to do.
During May 2014 he was battling a recurrence with medication but felt fine; in fact he started flying again, had purchased 2 more helicopters and resumed spraying and other work. ./end quote
He died 03Jul2014.

Greg added the following: "The Bell 47G-3B-1 helicopter was donated to the Museum by Ron Gipe, who had not yet put the lettering (including the N-mumber) on the helicopter when it was delivered. The N-number is really N6257N, a real N-number (FAA N-number Registry 6257N), owned by Evergreen Helicopters Inc. who had bought Johnson Flying Service.
I was told the the 'N' was left off because N6257N was too long to fit in the location were it is positioned."
The FAA registration concerned Bell 47B-3B-1 serial 6664, certificate issued 07Feb1976, deregistered 11May81. If the article, stating this airframe was built from left over parts, is correct than the FAA registry refers to another airframe and the Bell 47G on display must be read as a tribute to the use of Bell 47 helicopters by Johnson Flying Service, marked N6257 to complete the display - Webmaster.

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Bell HH-1H Iroquois 70-2467 (c/n 17111, mfr 1970)
This version of the Huey was designed for mountain rescues, it has an external hook on it; only about 30 of these aircraft were ever produced apparently.
For its history I found:
USAF serial 70-2467: c/n 17111 is a UH-1, one of 30 built by Bell Helicopter at Fort Worth,TX.
It was delivered on 02Feb1973 and assigned to the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Training Wing (MAC), Hill AFB. Utah. in Nov1973 it was sent to the Armament Development and Test Center (AFSC), Eglin AFB, FL.
And in Dec74 to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Spuadron (MAC), Little Rock AFB, AR.
In March 1975 it was deployed to McConnell AFB,KS; then in June 1986 it was deployed to Ellsworth AFB, SD.
It was flown to a museum on 25Aug1991. Source Photovault

So 02467 served at McConnell AFB (1976), upon someone wrote 'Mar75-Feb77, I used this at Det.6 37th 37th ARRS, McConnell AFB'.
And 11Mar93 saw it preserved @McClellan AFB, Sacramento,CA www.helis.com/database

John Vogel wrote me in april 2015 with this update & photo (and please note his question, too):
Bell HH-1H 70-2467
John wrote:"I enjoyed reading on your website of your visit to the Museum of Mountain Flying and came across HH-1H 70-2467.
As your caption stated, that helo was preserved at the McClellan Aviation Museum (now the Aerospace Museum of California), McClellan AFB, Sacramento,CA.
Our records indicate that it was delivered to McClellan on 18Dec1991. It was sold by the USAF Museum, OH (which, technically, owns many of the USAF aircraft on display in various museums) to Minuteman Aviation in Missoula,MT in 1999, and was civil registered N2071S to same in December 2006.
At some point I contacted Minuteman, wondering if the aircraft was ever put into service, but never received any info.
From looking at your photo of 70-2467, it looks pretty much as it did when displayed at McClellan, though I cannot tell if the civil registration was ever applied. I am also not certain if the helo was flown in to and/or out of McClellan. [People can write me if they info on this, click EMAIL - Webmaster]
I have attached an image of 70-2467, taken in December 1991 at the McClellan Museum."
Thanks John!

 


 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying


Here is a picture gallery of flying in the early days: pictures, planes & people!

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
The Travel Air 6000 I flew in with Bill de Creeft, in 2006, seen in a picture here.


Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
This is a Morse Code Practice Table that was used in the Civilian Pilot Training Program
en.wikipedia.org - Civilian_Pilot_Training_Program, given by Johnson's Flying Service during World War 2.

'The Museum of Mountain Flying was established in the summer of 1993 by Stan Cohen, Dick Komberec, and Steve Smith. It basically started because the old 'boneyard' of Johnson Flying Service, three acres just east of the Missoula Airport, was up for sale. The three decided to tie up this land and start some type of museum to honor and preserve the history of the premier mountain flying service in the Northern Rockies area from the late 1920s to the early 1970s stationed in Missoula, Montana.
The idea was to eventually build a museum on this property but it had no access to the airport. In 1994 Minuteman Aviation had half of a large hangar empty and offered a lease for the museum’s beginnings.
Several aircraft were available for display plus some original artifacts.
In addition, the National Smokejumpers Association moved in as their national headquarters.

In the summer of 1995 the museum sponsored a large airshow which brought thousands of people to the airport and made money for museum’s operations. Another airshow was put on in 1996 by the airport board but it failed to generate a profit.
Led by board member and others, the museum obtained its non-profit status in 1994 which was a great help in acquiring aircraft and artifacts.

By 2000 the museum had acquired its C-45 Twin Beech from Northstar Aviation and a year later just by chance located the original DC-3 that dropped the Mann Gulch smokejumpers in August 1949, where 13 died in the fire. It was in West Memphis, Arkansas and $125,000 was raised by the board with tremendous help from Kathy Ogren. It was flown to Missoula but with no place to hangar it. By this time our hangar’s rent was going up to the point that we had to close or...
Local aviation enthusiast Rick Nash came forward and built our 18,500 square foot hangar just across the parking lot from the first one. It was opened in June 2002.

A number of local volunteers keep the museum open every day from Memorial Day weekend to mid-September. There are no paid employees.'

Greg Lee forwarded me: "... local pilot Gary Matson's interview with the Museum of Mountain Flying founder Stan Cohen in the Winter 2015 edition of Missoula GA Newsletter".
Indeed an excellent interview with plenty of details on how the museum came about and recent development.

 


 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet N500JV/22. Ex/ 40-1883 USAAF (c/n 75-0440, mfr 1941),
History:
By the time of below accident registered to an unknown owner, tailnumber N1967M.
On 15Aug78 it was involved in an incident:
Summarized NTSB narrative from report number IAD78FIA15: There were no fatalities. Incident occurred at 10:45 hours. The damage was substantial. Incident occurred at the Lower Marlboro Airport, Lower Marlboro, MD. This was a local flight from Lower Marlboro, MD. The aircraft nosed over during the landing rollout. The factors included; rough uneven terrain. Report remarks include: Landed on Unprepared Field adjacent to sod rwy. Opposing tfc using sod rwy.

21Aug91 reg'd to Steven A. Detch of Alpharetta,GA as N1967M (A75N1, 75-440).
And reg'd 10May95 to James G. Valeo of Missoula,MT and on display in the museum here.
16Jun95: Certificate of airworthiness for N500JV (A75N1(PT17), 75-440) issued.

By the time of another accident it was reg'd to again an unknown owner, still with registration N1967M.
So on 18Jun95, from NTSB narrative (report number SEA95LA121): Incident occurred at Helena, MT. There were no fatalities.
At 15:45 mountain daylight time, N1967M, Boeing A75N1 Stearman, operated by the owner/pilot, groundlooped on landing and was substantially damaged in Helena,MT.
The airline transport pilot and the private pilot were not injured.

And03Jul97 reg'd to James G. Valeo of Missoula,MT as N500JV.
www.aerialvisuals.ca

Update Nov.2016:"Jim Valeo's Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet N500JV has been sold. We've folded the wings on our Grumman TBM and it fits in the space where N500JV was; so no aircraft are outside in the cold of winter!"

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Montana is where smokejumping, meaning firefighters to parachute into remote areas to fight fires, began.
There were test jumps in the 1930s and in the 1940s Johnson Flying Service dropped two firefighters into
a remote area to fight a blaze. After the war the technique became more widespread.
My guide this day, Greg Lee, had worked as a smokejumper; among the places he had been based was Ft. Wainwright in Alaska.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
I love libraries and am sure not all information now available in books will make it to a digital availability.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying


 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Grumman TBM-3E Avenger C-GLEL/A-13
Missoulian.com/news/local/ reports:
Johnson Flying Service sold the Avenger to New Brunswick’s Forest Protection Ltd. in 1974. The Canadian company used nearly 100 of the planes for retardant bombing as well as insect spraying for the next four decades.
In 2011, Forest Protection put its remaining six Avengers up for auction. The Museum of Mountain Flying successfully bid on plane A-13, and took delivery that October.
See also (10Oct2011) missoulian.com/news/local/

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying

Grumman TBF Avenger #13 flew for Johnson Flying Service as N9010C during 1969 - 1972.
For information and images see: TBM Avengers & Forest protection Limited - New Brunswick, Canada
I recommend the entire website: http://forestprotectiontbmavengers.wordpress.com/

The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) was a torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air and naval services around the world.
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway.
Civilian use:
Many Avengers have survived into the 21st century working as spray-applicators and water-bombers throughout North America, particularly in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
Forest Protection Limited (FPL) of Fredericton, NB once owned and operated the largest civilian fleet of Avengers in the world. FPL began operating Avengers in 1958 after purchasing 12 surplus TBM-3E aircraft from the Royal Canadian Navy. Use of the Avenger fleet at FPL peaked in 1971 when 43 aircraft were in use as both water bombers and spray aircraft. The company sold three Avengers in 2004 (C-GFPS, C-GFPM, and C-GLEJ) to museums or private collectors. The Central New Brunswick Woodsmen’s Museum has a former FPL Avenger on static display.[19] An FPL Avenger that crashed in 1975 in southwestern New Brunswick was recovered and restored by a group of interested aviation enthusiasts and is currently on display at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. FPL was still operating three Avengers in 2010 configured as water-bombers, and stationed at Miramichi Airport. One of these crashed just after takeoff on April 23, 2010, killing the pilot. The last FPL Avenger was retired on 26Ju2012 and sold to the Shearwater Aviation Museum in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
There are several other Avengers in private collections around the world today.
Wikipedia

 

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Before C-GLEL left New Brunswick two of the groundcrew (?) made their mark on C-GLEL: Drew and Jerome.

Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Many thanks to Greg Lee for his willingness to open the museum for me and for his enthusiastic guidance during my visit!

Greg sent me an update in Nov.2016:
"Jim Valeo's Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet N500JV has been sold. We've folded the wings on our Grumman
TBM and it fits in the space where N500JV was; so no aircraft are outside in the cold of winter!
And when we bought the Grumman TBM, it came with a spare non-running engine that is now inside on a TBM motor mount."


Aerial of Museum of Mountain Flying at Missoula
The museum as seen on Google Maps when I compiled this page (nov.2014), seen here with the Grumman Avenger in front
of the museum, while upon my visit the Avenger had been moved close to the fence of the Johnson Bell Drive,
upper left corner of this screendump. The ramp of Neptune Inc is at the bottom of this image.
www.museumofmountainflying.org

Use this link to be directed to the location of the museum: Google Maps


Missoula- Museum of Mountain Flying
Missoula's airport used to be in a different location: Sentinel High School and Montana College are
now located where Hale Field was, next to the present Fairgrounds.
Below: you can see that Missoula's International Airport has been placed quite a distance away from town.
Missoula - Museum of Mountain Flying

In 1938, President Roosevelt authorized WPA funds for the construction of the Missoula County Airport to be located on 1.300 acres west of Missoula. When the airport opened in 1941, it boasted the longest runways in the region with plenty of room for future growth.
In honor of two of Missoula's most well known aviation pioneers, Bob Johnson, and Harry Bell, the Missoula
County Airport was officially named Johnson-Bell Field in 1968. Today, a bronze plaque honoring their service
and contributions is located in the main terminal at the Missoula International Airport.
www.flymissoula.com/About_Us/Airport_History

A bit of local history since it is heavily connected with Johnson Flying Service and thus with this museum:
Old hale Field, Missoula
Hale Field

IMPORTANT DATES:
1917 - At the age of 24, Missoula resident Bob Johnson enlists in the army and is sent to Camp Lewis, Washington. Johnson is discharged less than a year later. Johnson goes into business for himself, opening an automotive service station
1926 - Bob Johnson purchases a Swallow bi-plane for US$2500 and continues his flying lessons with instructor Nick Mamer, believed to be the first pilot to ever fly over Glacier National Park. Bob Johnson decides to start Johnson Flying Service to teach others how to fly
1942 - Johnson Flying Service trains more than 4,000 pilots for the U.S. armed forces
1980 - Bob Johnson passes away. "When Bob Johnson was just getting started flying in 1923, aviation and airplanes were considered absolutely a thing for fools, daredevils and irresponsible playboys," said aviation historian Steve Smith of Missoula, whose book Fly the Biggest Piece Back chronicles the history of Johnson Flying Service. Johnson had accumulated over 17,000 hours during his flying career
In 1935 the Garden City Airport was officially named Hale Field, after county surveyor & civil engineer Dick Hale, who spent many hours at the airport as an aviation enthusiast.”
1954 - After a failed attempt by the city of Spokane to have the aerial firefighting depot relocated to their town, President Dwight Eisenhower arrives in Missoula in a Lockheed Constellation to dedicate the newly completed facility; Hale Field closes its runways forever. The former airport property is now the site of Sentinel High School, Playfair Park, and Splash Montana Waterslide Park.
www.airfields-freeman.com/MT/Airfields_MT_W.htm

 

 

Greg Lee sent me this update in april 2015: A J3 Cub (that was used by Johnson's Flying Service to train civilian pilots during WW2) was bought by the Museum from its owner (A MMF member & pilot, Chuck Burruss from Corvallis,MT).
The Cub is now being recovered, and it will possibly be annualed and become part of an in-museum flying club for museum members!"
In Nov.2016 Greg confirmed that the J-3 Cub was being restored in order become a part of the flying club for museum members. 

 

OTHER PAGES OF THIS NORTHWEST USA 2014 TRIP:
PAGE 1 - WASHINGTON STATE
KENMORE AIR HARBOR, SEATTLE
HISTORIC FLIGHT FOUNDATION AT PAINE FIELD
PAGE 2 - IDAHO MONTANA WYOMING OREGON
GREYBULL, WY PAGE ONE | PAGE TWO
WARHAWK MUSEUM, NAMPA,ID
ERICKSON COLLECTION, MADRAS,OR

 

 

 

 

 

 

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