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My destination this Saturday: Ray Fagen Memorial Airshow


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On Saturday, June 18th, 2022 Fagen Fighters WWII Museum will hold the Ray Fagen Memorial Airshow at their home field, Lenzen-Roe-Fagen Memorial Airport in Granite Falls, Minnesota.

Pride of the Pacific is the 2022 theme for the airshow which includes Fagen Fighters’ own former Navy aircraft; their airworthy FM-2 Wildcat BuNo. 86774, Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, Death ‘N Destruction, BuNo.78645 and North American SNJ-4, Bundle Buggy. Texan BuNo.27234, while Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver BuNo.83393 (progressing well in the museum’s restoration shop) will also prove a significant draw for show-goers. Alongside the airshow industry top performers; Tora, Tora Tora, and the Younkin Airshows, there will be visiting warbirds. The other ‘crown jewels’ from the Fagen Fighters collection will also be in the show, such as North American B-25J Mitchell 44-86698 Paper Doll, P-51D Mustangs 44-63864 Twilight Tear, and 44-72051 Sweet Revenge, Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk.I AK753 Desert Shark, P-40K Warhawk 42-10083 Aleutian Tiger, and of course, their magnificent Lockheed P-38L Lightning 44-27231 Scat III, and newest to the Fagen collection Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero.

As the airshow’s official title implies, this event also celebrates the life of Ray Fagen, himself a WWII veteran, the father of Ron, and the Grandfather of Aaron and Evan Fagen. Ray passed in 2010 and never participated in the museum but remains its inspiration to this day. Evan Fagen recently spoke with us about his grandfather’s military service, noting: “Ray Fagen was my grandpa and he was on the first wave at Normandy on Utah beach. He was involved with the liberation of Paris and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. He was shot on Utah beach and in the Battle of the Bulge. He also got shrapnel wounds in the Battle of the Bulge which took him out of the battle. He never talked about the war, but inspired us to start the museum to honor the greatest generation and to remember their sacrifices. While he never flew during the war, he learned to fly when he got home as a civilian in a Stearman under the GI bill. He flew for almost 60 years.” 

This is bound to be a spectacular, warbird-heavy air show! Please be sure to check the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum Facebook page for updates as the show date approaches, as there are bound to be further additions to the lineup!

 

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FYI, weather is expected to be sunny and near 100F. Very warm, but about as perfect an air-show day as you can get.

Just wish I was riding in on that V-Tail Beechcraft again, LOL. But I have to drive myself up. Meghan has decided she needs a day without me. I'm good with that. :)  

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Well, what a day. Lots of great aircraft present and most of them flew. I was properly in propeller-head heaven.

Some things I missed out on:

- all of the parachutist displays were cancelled due to high winds (which also helped alleviate the 90+ temps, but also increased the need for extra hydration.) 

- The Fagen museum's latest acquisition, a Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero, did not fly. I could find nobody to give a reason, just speculation on everything from mechanical issues to licensing/insurance to pilot check-out. I did get pics.

- The night time air show. By the time I got a few songs into the Eddie Montgomery concert, I was done. I got in my little Colorado pickup, cranked the a/c and the radio, and drove the two hours home. In case I hadn't mentioned it, I've got a torn meniscus, so the 13,000+ steps I got in yesterday did not help my pain level.

- I didn't take any selfies. I've already been strongly admonished for this oversight, but... I prefer to be behind the camera, not in front of it. Actually, that's a lie. I did take one selfie from the bleachers watching Montgomery. I faked a smile but the cell phone camera took three ticks to snap the shutter; I couldn't hold the smile that long, so I've got a sourpuss face selfie. (My knee was killing me!)

Spending my Father's Day morning sipping coffee and going through 1400+ images (those rapid-fire stills of passing aircraft add up!)

Have several videos also, will go through those, maybe make a YouTube compilation. Have fiber, can upload! Lol

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@WWPlague Thanks, but I already have used up a couple bottles of lidocaine (little, if any effect) and various types of "biofreeze" and similar products. Alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen takes the edge off. Knee brace actually works better, but still have to alternate it's use. 

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A couple teaser images... 

Spitfire Mk. IX, PBY Catalina (a boat, making this airshow official, according to @WWZed) , the Fagen's A6M Zero, an Ercoupe (for @WWPierre), a Stearman, and  a few of the trainer types that most US and Canadian WW2 pilots would be familiar with (BT-13, Vultee 'Vibrator", et al)

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FYI, there's some 1400+ images taken that I've spent the better part of today going through. I'm down to 400 or so that are okay, and from here I want to whittle it down to about 50 of what I consider the best. When I get there, I'll post a new gallery page up.

I do have one more to share tonight: 

 

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Was going to get started uploading images to a gallery last night, but real life got in the way. Put a couple from my phone onto Instagram, but I just don't get a good vibe from that venue.

 

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Yup, the whole dumpster fire thing. Have enough things going on without those issues, too.

For example, last night on my final sortie, I reached for something on my desk (I forget what, but it was 'important' at the time) and dumped a full bourbon and coke on my keyboard and lap. And yes, my aircraft did lots of weird thing (guns firing, flaps dropping, etc) so I know the keyboard was thoroughly doused. Entirely my own issue, but just one more dumb thing to fix/replace.

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Believe it or not, the keyboard, after being heavily flushed with warm water (with batteries removed) and thoroughly dried out in the hot summer sun for a day actually works as well as ever. Bullet dodged? I think so.

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