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Hangout in Spokane

A river runs through it

Welcome to the blue skies and green forests of the central Pacific Northwest.

Spokane’s Felts Field is situated along the Spokane River and flanked by rolling hills dotted with pine and fir trees. This historic airfield began in 1910, welcomed Charles Lindbergh in 1927, once served as the city’s municipal airport, and is now home to an active general aviation community that will welcome visitors to AOPA’s Hangout September 9 and 10.

Felts Field (SFF) has a little bit of everything for the aviation enthusiast. The historic airstrip features beautifully renovated terminal and hangar buildings, a 4,500-foot-long runway, 6,000-foot seaplane landing area, delightful diner serving breakfast and lunch, and is home to renovators and collectors of historic aircraft.

Felts Field is one of the first airstrips established in the West. Aviation started here in 1910 with Curtiss biplanes flying, including a Pusher flown by Cromwell Dixon who was the nation’s youngest pilot at that time. He was the first to fly across the Continental Divide and died in a crash in Spokane in 1911. The first air mail and commercial flights east began here, and Felts Field was distinguished as the home of the 116th Observation Squad of the Washington Air National Guard.

The airport terminal building was constructed in 1932 and is listed on the National Historic Register. A 40-foot-tall art deco clock tower sits near the terminal building. It is dedicated to Nick Mamer, who set a world record for nonstop distance in a Buhl sesquiplane.

Felts Field sits comfortably amid the Pacific Northwest’s natural wonders. Across the river from Runway 3L/21R is the 300-foot-tall Minnehaha Rocks, frequented by rock climbers and hikers.

Spokane is named for its Native American tribe and it means “Children of the Sun,” who made their home along the Spokane River. The Spokane Falls offered abundant salmon runs. The majestic Spokane River Falls today are spectacular, especially in the spring as runoff and high water crash over the indigenous basalt rock formations. Gondola rides are offered along the falls.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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