FLYING Magazine

Once upon a time, well before ADS-B and apps like FlightAware tracked aircraft movement, student pilots proved they really did land at an airport as part of their solo cross-country flight by getting a stamp or signature from someone at the FBO. 

With the invention of the smartphone, the signature and stamp was replaced by the selfie in front of an airport landmark such as the airport restaurant, fuel pumps—or if you fly into Auburn Municipal Airport-Dick Scobee Field (S50) south of Seattle— a series of colorful murals to choose from. They are painted on the airside of the T-hangars.

All murals are the work of local artist Myron Curry, whose designs appear in several locations in the Seattle area. His murals often honor locally famous individuals. Curry told FLYING that he particularly enjoys working at the airport because of the sense of community and the friendliness of the pilots.

The latest design unveiled Monday features the likeness of former U.S. Air Force colonel Joe Jackson, a career officer who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson for his efforts in saving three airmen in an evacuation during the Vietnam War. Jackson also served in the Pentagon and, according to his family who were there for the dedication of the mural, helped develop some of America’s stealth technology.

This is not the first time Jackson has been honored in the Pacific Northwest. He came to Tacoma in the later years of his career. At McChord Air Force Base (AFB), there is a street named for him and a C-17 that is based there carries his name. He died in 2019 at the age of 95. His family was in attendance for the dedication, with the color guard from McChord AFB in Tacoma  presenting the colors.

The mural features aircraft from all the armed services and there is a bench that names them.

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

Flight Training

North of the Jackson mural there is a design to honor the thousands of pilots who have trained at S50. The mural depicts Valley Fliers, a local club founded in 1986. The image shows a CFI standing on the ramp watching a first solo flight taking place.

READ MORE: Astronaut Honored in Larger-Than-Life Airport Display

Fly Baby

Another mural pays homage to Fly Baby, the experimental aircraft designed by Seattle resident Peter Bowers in 1960. It won the Experimental Aircraft Association design contest in 1962 (the 1960 contest was postponed due to an initial lack of entries).

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

The contest required the aircraft to be a low-cost, folding-wing design that could be towed or trailered and easy to build and fly. The Fly Baby took Bowers 720 hours to build. The plans for the design sold for $65.

Today the prototype aircraft hangs in the Museum of Flight at King County International Airport-Boeing Field (KBFI). The Fly Baby nose art was designed by local cartoonist Pat Moriarity.

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

Dick Scobee

The first mural to go up at the airport was one to honor former NASA astronaut Dick Scobee, who went to high school in the area before launching into a military career. He was the pilot of the space shuttle Challenger on that fateful day in 1986.

The Scobee mural was unveiled in October 2022. The bench in front of it reflects the year the airport was established.

The post Airport Art Honors Military, Aviation Heroes appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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