Fly-in, dinner dance held
FIREBAUGH — All eyes looked to the sky at the roar of a warbird, a North American T-6 Texan. The vintage plane was not the first to land at historic Eagle Field this weekend. Maderan Bill Hoffrage, pilot and owner of a painted Boeing-Stearman PT-17, had arrived the prior evening to volunteer and participate in the 29th annual Eagle Field Dinner Dance and Fly-in.
Hoffrage, and his wife Gloria watched throughout the day as four more T-6s landed. Then came a rare Grumman F4F Wildcat. The World War II carrier-based fighter was used in the early conflicts of the Pacific including the Battle of Midway.
Shortly afterward, above the field came the heavy metal sounds of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, the type used in Doolittle’s raid over Tokyo. Also touching down for the two-day event was a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon piloted by Bob Pitman. The twin-engine aircraft served as a bomber and patrol vehicle for the Navy and Coastal Command during World War II.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of visitors to the facility, built in 1942 to train pilots for the war, strolled around the planes, talked with pilots and consumed refreshments such as ice-cream and sodas. Stronger libations were available in the NCO Club, a Quonset hut complete with bar, a booth and tables...