Editorial: The dream has landed

After 12 years of effort and numerous disappointments, PBY Memorial Foundation members watched their dream come in for a landing June 25 at the Seaplane Base.

With the assistance of a Navy-supplied Chinook helicopter, the historic airplane once owned by a private party in Skagit County made the brief flight to Whidbey. It’s now owned by the PBY Memorial Foundation, which has dreamed of this day since its founding in 1998.

It’s no easy task to find, purchase and restore an airplane built during World War II, but the foundation finally succeeded in its goal. There is still plenty of fundraising to be done, and lots of elbow grease to be applied in restoring the aircraft, but the bottom line is it’s finally come home to Whidbey, which was home to many of the PBY “flying boats” during World War II.

Air crews stationed here heroically flew the PBY on dangerous missions to the Aleutian Islands and elsewhere in the Pacific, finding many enemy ships, rescuing downed American pilots, and otherwise playing a crucial role in the war effort.

The PBY also represents the transition in Oak Harbor’s economy from a small farming town to a Navy town, proud and supportive of its air base and its varying missions and equipment for more than 60 years.

One day, the newly acquired PBY will be proudly displayed at the Seaplane Base, serving as a symbol of pride for those who flew her and as a historical reminder to visitors of Oak Harbor’s past. The PBY Memorial Foundation deserves our respect and thanks for finally fulfilling its dream after a dozen years of hard work by numerous volunteers.

A dedication ceremony for the historic airplane will be held Saturday, July 10 at 1 p.m. at the PBY Memorial Foundation / Simard Hall on the Seaplane Base. It promises to be a memorable ceremony that should not be missed by anyone who loves the PBY and all for which it stands.

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