AOPA is excited to bring pilots back together with a new take on our regional fly-ins—introducing The Hangout, an AOPA Fly-In. The Hangout is a two-day informal event where you can pitch a tent, participate in educational seminars, browse exhibits and displays, swap stories, and enjoy friendly company around the campfire. Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Spokane’s Felts Field (SFF) is a dream destination for pilots. The airport’s location is in one of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Those flying into Felts Field have the option of touching down on asphalt, turf, or water.
Felts Field Airport (SFF), Spokane, Washington, $20 (under 17 free), aopa.org/hangouts
The Hangout is a two-day informal event where you can pitch a tent, participate in educational seminars, browse exhibits and displays, swap stories, and enjoy friendly company around the campfire. Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Spokane’s Felts Field (SFF) is a dream destination for pilots. The airport’s location is in one of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Those flying into Felts Field have the option of touching down on asphalt, turf, or water.
Spokane is named for its Native American tribe “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 crashes over the indigenous basalt rock formations. Walking paths in Riverfront Park follow the country’s second largest urban waterfalls. View the Spokane Falls from a gondola that swoops down to the edge of the rushing water or enjoy a gorgeous meal of native salmon at Anthony’s at the Falls restaurant.
Spokane hosted the World’s Fair in 1974. Evidence of the successful event is easy to find. The clock tower and the tilted dome of the U.S. Pavilion (minus its original vinyl covering) still dominate the park’s skyline. Those exploring the park will discover the old outdoor Boeing Amphitheater. What was the Bavarian Beer Garden is now the home of the historic Looff Carousel. The carousel was originally a wedding gift from master carver and carousel builder Charles I. D. Looff to his daughter Emma Vogel and her husband Louis Vogel. On July 18, 1909, the Looff Carrousel began operation in Natatorium Park, an amusement park on the banks of the Spokane River on the west side of Spokane. It is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved hand-carved carousels in the country and features 54 horses, two Chinese dragon chairs, a giraffe, and a tiger.
There are 21 varied and unusual sculptures in Riverfront Park and along the Centennial Trail in downtown Spokane. The sculpture walk begins at Washington State University’s downtown campus and ends at the Spokane Falls overlook.
A world-class collection of airworthy aircraft from 1927 to 1957 can be found at the Historic Flight Foundation museum on Felts Field. Formed by John Sessions in 2005, the organization was once headquartered at Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, Washington, but opened a new museum space at Felts Field in Spokane, Washington, December 17, 2019. It houses the collection’s noteworthy vintage aircraft, including a magnificent Douglas C–47 Skytrain decked out as a Pan American Airways DC–3. Other aircraft from the collection include a Spitfire Mk. IX, North American P-51B Mustang Impatient Virgin, B-25 Grumpy, a Boeing Stearman, a Beechcraft Staggerwing, and the sole surviving Hamilton H-47 Metalplane airliner, which dates from 1929.
Closed during the pandemic, the museum is now open Tuesday through Sunday.
Spokane’s Felts Field (SFF) has a little bit of everything for the aviation enthusiast. Felts Field is situated along the Spokane River and flanked by rolling hills dotted with pine and fir trees. This historic airfield began in 1913, welcomed Charles Lindbergh in 1927, and once served as the city’s municipal airport. Felts Field was named for Lt. James Buell Felts, who was killed in an accident near what was then Parkwater Airport (situated along the south bank of the Spokane River).
Felts Field is one of the first airstrips established in the West. Aviation started here with Curtiss biplanes flying the area, including a Pusher flown by Cromwell Dixon who was the nation’s youngest pilot at the time. He was the first to fly across the Continental Divide and died in a crash in Spokane in 1911. 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 on a 14-square-foot base near the terminal building. It is dedicated to Lt. Nick Mamer, who set a world record for nonstop distance in Spokane Sun-God—a Buhl Sesquiplane—and developed practices that established the basic technique used in today’s in-flight refueling procedures.
On the south bank of the Spokane River, four miles from the city center, Felts Field sits comfortably amid the Pacific Northwest’s natural wonders. 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. Heaping plates of delicious diner food are served in Skyway Café—a perfect airplane-watching café attached to the terminal building. Across the river from Runway 3L/21R is the 300-foot-tall Minnehaha Rocks, frequented by rock climbers and hikers.
Spokane Turbine Center is located in one of two original hangars on Felts Field. The hangars were constructed in three different phases between 1926 and 1934. The National Guard hangar was built in 1934 and was then described as “the most modern hangar in the country.” It was one of the largest steel and brick hangars in the U.S. It was remodeled in 2011/2012 for the Moody Aviation Maintenance training school.
AIRPORT CLOSED 3:15-4 p.m.
11:15 a.m.: Registration opens
Noon: Show opens (all exhibits, food trucks, 39 Lounge)
1 p.m.: ASI Safety Seminar, Industry Seminar
2 p.m.: Backcountry Flying with Mike Vivion, Industry Seminar
3 p.m.: STOL demo
4 p.m.: Water drop (tentative), Warbird flyover
5 p.m.: Exhibit closes; 39 Lounge bar opens and entertainment begins STOL pilot meet and greets
5:30 p.m.: Historic Flight Foundation Big Band Dance
7 p.m.: Flightline movie
9 p.m.: Show closes
AIRPORT CLOSED 11 a.m.-noon; 3-4 p.m.
8 a.m.: Registration tent opens
8:30 a.m.: Rusty Pilots Seminar
9 a.m.: Show opens
10 a.m.: Industry Seminar
11 a.m.: STOL demo
Noon: Warbird flyover
1 p.m.: Backcountry flying with Mike Vivion, Industry Seminar
2 p.m.: ASI Safety Seminar, Industry Seminar
3 p.m.: STOL demo
4:15 p.m.: Water drop
5 p.m.: Show ends; Campers’ after party (bar and bands)
6 p.m.: Fire pit gatherings
7 p.m.: Flightline movies
We wouldn’t be able to pull off these events without your help, and we’ll be sure to reward you for your help! Lunch will be provided. After you complete your shift, a refund for your attendance registration fee will be issued.