Visitors to the Eagle Field Dinner-Dance and Fly-in looking to the skies over the historic airfield west of Firebaugh saw little in the way of vintage aircraft this year.
Over-irrigation of cropland surrounding the old Army Air Corps training facility had caused a rise in the water table. Though the single asphalt runway was usable, water saturated the dirt taxiways and tie-down areas. The soft ground prevented any heavy aircraft such as the usual array of B-25 bombers from being on display.
Even so, a few planes, including an early 1950s T-28 trainer used by all the American armed forces, and the venerable Stearman biplane trainer of the type that was stationed at Eagle Field, and now flown by Bill Hoffrage of Madera, were on display.
The event began Saturday afternoon with a full range of military vehicles, from tanks to half-tracks, Jeeps and ambulances on display. Visitors enjoyed the memorabilia and historical items in the museum and walking around the World War I-era barracks, officers’ and NCO (noncommissioned officer) clubs and the massive hangar that dominates the airfield...