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'Young Eagles' taking to Scappoose skies at Wings & Wheels

Car, motorcycle show and business expo also in the cards


Photo Credit: FILE - A biplane takes off from Scappoose Industrial Airpark at a previous Wings & Wheels event. The South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce is putting on the event, which is sponsored by Oregon Aero, for its fourth year Saturday, Aug. 23.Wings & Wheels returns to Scappoose Industrial Airpark for its fourth year on Saturday, Aug. 23, with airplane rides for children, a car and motorcycle show, a business exposition, and more.

Organizers are hoping as many as 5,000 people come to the airport for the event, according to Linda McDougle, executive director of the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is putting on Wings & Wheels again this year.

One of the prime attractions is the Experimental Aircraft Association’s presence at Wings & Wheels.

The Kelso, Washington-based association chapter builds airplanes — homebuilt aircraft are typically considered “experimental” because they are not mass-produced, even though many popular models are constructed from kits or built to proven specifications — and will be offering free plane rides to kids between the ages of 8 and 17.

“Basically, they just have to show up with a parent, and then there’s an authorization form they would sign, and then we provide a plane for the kids,” says Mark Cattell, a pilot with the Kelso chapter of the EAA. “Generally, the rides are 15, 20 minutes each. ... We take the kids out in the local area and even let them hold the stick and move it side to side a little bit, see what it feels like to fly an airplane.”

McDougle is full of praise for the Young Eagles program, which is a nationwide EAA initiative to give children free plane rides.

“It’s their own dime,” she says. “They use their own fuel, use their own planes. They’re just an amazing group of pilots.”

Cattell said between five and 10 planes will be provided for rides at the airpark for Wings & Wheels.

According to McDougle, 51 kids went up in an EAA plane at last year’s event, and more are expected this year.

The “wheels” component of the program is provided by a Cruise-In car, truck and motorcycle show.

“There were about 90 cars last year, and about 50 motorcycles,” McDougle recalls. “Last year, motorcycles were not invited. They just kind of showed up. So this year, we incorporated them into the Cruise-In competition.”

Awards will be given in each category. People can register to pre-enter their vehicles for the Cruise-In until Saturday, Aug. 16.

While it isn’t billed in the Wings & Wheels event name itself, a business expo will also be happening all day at the airpark. Local businesses like McMullen Water Systems and ASA Mobile Welding, both of St. Helens, are expected to have a presence.

There will also be a model train exhibit, arts and crafts, food vendors, a Kid Zone, and a beer garden.

“I’m expecting about 35 vendors, be that food, expo or otherwise,” says McDougle.

Wings & Wheels begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and $20 for a family of six, and children under the age of 7 enter free. Pets are not allowed.