Visitors to North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field took a trip through more than 50 years of aviation history Saturday as the Cavanaugh Flight Museum held a flight day at the airport. This is the first flight day that the museum has held at NTRA since coming to the airport nearly three years ago.
“We just wanted to show our presence a little bit and have a ride day,” Museum Executive Director Doug Jeanes said.
Throughout the day, the museum had nearly a dozen planes on display, including warbirds dating back to World War II. Staying true to NTRA’s origins as a military base, Jeanes said one of the aircraft on display was stationed at Perrin many years ago.
In addition to allowing visitors to get an up close look at military aircraft, organizers also used the event as a fundraiser by offering flights in an aircraft, for a charge.
The flight museum, which is based at Addison Airport, first opened its doors about 25 years ago and currently owns and maintains 80 aircraft ranging from those used World War I to aircraft used in the 1990s during the Gulf War. At any time about 45 aircraft will be in display.
It was about three years ago that the museum opened a satellite facility at NTRA, and moved its maintenance and restoration operations to Texoma. However, since then, things have been relatively calm for Cavanaugh and its operations at NTRA.
“I think it has been kind of quiet and that is one of the reasons to hold these events,” Jeanes said.
Jeanes said he hoped that the event could serve as the first of many events that the museum will hold at NTRA over the years to come. If the first is a success, Jeanes said he could see the museum holding multiple flight days each year or expand to offer a full air show.
County officials briefly discussed this possibility in May during a meeting of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority. Officials at the time said Saturday’s flight day would serve as something of a test run, with a larger event tentative for 2020. Other future plans include building a smaller satellite museum at NTRA, Jeanes said.
“They want want to create a really top-bill airshow out here,” NTRA Director Bob Torti said in May.
While Saturday’s event was a the first chance for some to get close to military aircraft, it was also a trip down memory lane for others.
Rick Foster spent the morning taking in every detail of the Cessna T-37 Tweet that was on display during the festivities. Outside of a few alterations and the paint job, Foster said it looked very close to the ones he worked with during the final days of Perrin Air Force Base as a crew chief. The aircraft was still one of the best examples of the plane that he has seen since his days in the armed forces, he said.
While those days have long passed, Foster said he would still like to get into the cockpit of one of those aircrafts one more time.
“You get to grow to love the aircraft you are working with,” he said. “I really did love these aircraft.”
Would you be interested in watching an air show at NTRA? Let reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.