11-11-10 Salisbury Airport Celebration


Swaim Field, the Rowan County airport near Salisbury, NC, celebrated its 80th anniversary and Veterans Day in one big get together.  Considering the Wright brother’s 1903 flight was only 27 years before Swaim Field opened, the airport can justifiably claim to be a pioneer in the aviation field.   For years, the grandfather of one of my neighbors ran the airport and Richard worked there as a young man doing whatever his grandfather told him to do.  Predictably, Richard has a pilot’s license and he took great pride in relating to us his experiences at the airport.  One experience he would not repeat is taking a ride in a stunt plane.  Barf was the operative word for this experience!

To make the celebration more special, the airport invited classic cars and planes to join in the celebration.  Veterans Day happened to be a perfect fall day with crystal clear skies and temperatures in the  high 60’s.  A number of vintage aircraft flew in with one special stunt plane entertaining the crowd with some remarkable flying.  We Chevy guys told the Ford guys the reason his plane was smoking was its Ford engine!

There were a number of Cessna’s and a very nice 1956 Beech twin engine airliner.  While we enjoyed ogling the planes, the pilots were checking out our cars.  The best of both worlds!!

As for the cars, Bob was there with his 1965 Mustang.  Interesting story here.  Bob chose this car off a car hauler that had arrived at the local Ford dealership.  “I’ll take the red one” as he pointed at the car hauler and still has the car today.  What Bob really wanted was a GT350 but, since that was not in the cards. he bought the GT350 components and installed them on his car soon after he bought it.  Some GT350’s came with a Paxton supercharger and Bob had to have that.  To make sure he had superchargers for the long haul, he bought two of them, one of which is still in the box.

Bob, unlike me, keeps his cars forever.  He also has a 1956 Ford that he courted his wife with.  It was customized back then and Bob has kept that same look to this day.  As you have probably guessed, Bob’s blood runs Ford blue!!

There had been a parade through Salisbury earlier and three vintage Air Force vehicles found their way to the airport later.  The drivers were all dressed in period clothing which makes for interesting black and white photos.  The Jeep was built in 1943 while the Chrysler staff car was a 1941.  Very appropriate as this airfield had been used for training pilots during WWII.

The 1948 Ford also fit in at the airport.  It was a stunner.  However, there were a number of other very nice cars on display.  I liked the ’55 Chevy.  This heavily modified Buick is owned by one of Bob’s friends who also moved to this area from Massachusetts.

Rick had his ’63 Chevy there as well as this Olds Cutlass one family owned car.  Lots of neat cars to see.

Everyone had a great time seeing both the planes and cars.  You can see more photos on the “Cruise-in Photo” tab above.

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