2013 Alaska Air Carriers Association’s Community Service Award:
The Alaska Air Show Association was recognized by AACA with the Community Service Award for a spectacular event honoring 100 years of Alaskan aviation. The Alaska Aviation Centennial: 1913-2013 barnstormed communities across Alaska, bringing an aviation event for the first time to many of these rural communities. This award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding service to the community through improvements to cargo, mail or passenger service to a specific site or a region.  The award can recognize a particular single action, or for service in a consistently outstanding manner for a period of time.

After the initial kickoff and feasibility meeting in November of 2012, and months of initial planning, the Alaska Air Show Association announced its commitment to lead, organize and fundraise for a barnstorming event in 25 communities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight in Alaska. This was the first time the Alaska Air Show Association had taken on a project outside of the Elmendorf Airshow, in fulfillment of its strategic vision to spread aviation awareness and education throughout the state.

The first list emerged with over 80 communities to visit and was later finalized to 21 locations having paved airfields. The two-and-a-half month event began with the Valdez Fly-in weekend, May 8th -12th, and was concluded at the end of July 2013, with events at the Alaska Aviation Museum’s annual Salmon Bake and Fly-by on Lake Hood and with a fly-in at the Wasilla Airport. ASAA organized, as part of the event, a “traveling museum” that accompanied the aircraft, and was displayed at each community visited.

The planning was intense and multi-faceted, consisting of selecting the participating aircraft, ensuring their air worthiness, working the logistics of the flying routes, pilot swap outs, publicity, preparing educational materials, and raising cash and in-kind contributions to defray operational costs.  At times, it seemed like a perpetual effort, and eventually the planning was completed and the round-engine, oil consuming WWII war birds and classics were thought to be launch ready for what would become an adventure lasting over four months.  The aircraft included  one of the last flying 1942 Japanese Zero’s, the only flying 1931 American Pilgrim, a 1943 and a 1944 T-6 Texan, a  1943 BT-13, a 1945 L-13, a 1952 Harvard, a 1942 Beechcraft Staggerwing, and a Cessna 206 Safety aircraft.

Behind the scenes, there were numerous issues: the Pilgrim rebuild was just being completed and test flights, piloted by Terry Holliday, resulted in a continuous punch list that required countless hours to remedy.  Then the Zero was grounded.  The zero pilots, Chuck Miller and Cricket Renner, struggled with the antiquated aircraft brake system.  During WWII, the time to develop a good braking system that ensured a safe landing just wasn’t a priority.

The Zero flew on a couple trips, and needless to say, when the Zero did fly everyone watched, as the approach was lightning fast!   Once, while watching the Zero bank and turn base, the wings flashed the bright “red meatballs” and spectators reacted.  Indeed, there were powerful moments in every community that was visited, but the Zero had an overwhelming impact.

Then there was weather.   Thankfully, the flight plans relied on two very competent volunteer safety officers who made the difficult, costly, and necessary weather calls.  The Safety Officers included John Hartke and Ed Kornfield.

Eventually, the Centennial Celebration crew launched with the aircraft operational at the time.  The scheduled provided for day-stops, over-nights, and places where the aircraft were stored.  The crews were greeted by hundreds of people in every community.  Collectively, the team shared stories about Alaska’s first flight in Fairbanks, Alaska’s WWII history, notable Alaskan pilots, and the need to inspire the next generation of pilots.  The participating community residents, whose daily routine often included flying in an aircraft, not only asked the pilots for autographs, but also help into and out of the war birds and classic aircraft.  Some never wanted to leave the pilot’s seat.

It was the event of a lifetime for all participants, and the community residents felt the same way.  This was the first time for many in rural Alaska to host an air event and it was greatly appreciated.  It wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for volunteers who offered their time to celebrate Alaska’s heritage and inspire young and old along the way.  The Association is also thankful to the many corporate, non-profit and community sponsors and partners, who together raised over $90,000 in cash contributions, and thousands more in in-kind donations which made the Centennial Celebration a once in a lifetime, world-class event.

Participating Airplanes

Participating Airplanes
Aircraft Specifications Historic Significance



Max. Speed: 208 mph
Weight: 3,995 lbs empty
Length: 28’-11”
Wingspan: 42’
Height: 9’-9”
The Royal Air Force initially ordered what would be designated by the USAAF as the AT-6 Texan in 1938 and named it “Harvard.” In 1940, the Harvard MkIIB was built under license in Montreal for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RAF and the USAAF, with a total 2,557 built. It is reported that in WWII an occasional Harvard would fly in to Annette Island, Alaska, where Canadian units were stationed, adding to the strength of the 11th Air Force.

1931 Fairchild American Pilgrim 100

1931 Fairchild American Pilgrim 100

Max Speed: 135 mph
Weight: 4,195 lbs empty
Length: 39’-2”
Wingspan: 57’-5”
Height: 11’-6”
First flown in 1930, the Pilgrim served as an airliner, bush plane and USAAF light cargo and supply aircraft. The Pilgrim served in all parts of Alaska and played a part in the construction of the Al-Can highway. The Pilgrim is in Alaska Airways livery, and had been hauling fish from Bristol Bay until 1985

North American Aviation AT-6 Texan

North American Aviation AT-6 Texan

Max. Speed: 208 mph
Weight: 4,158 lbs empty
Length: 28’-11”
Wingspan: 42’
Height: 9’-9”
This is a single-engine, advance trainer aircraft used during WWII. The prototype first flew in 1935, and the first models went into production in 1937. More than 17,000 were built. Our aircraft was built in 1943 and is in the Aleutian colors of aircraft flying there in WWII.

Stinson L-13 “Grasshopper”

Stinson L 13 'Grasshopper'

Max. Speed: 115 mph
Weight: 2,070 lbs empty
Length: 31’-9”
Wingspan: 42’
Height: 9’-9”
A utility aircraft first flown in 1945, used for, liaison and air ambulance duties. Following military service, some were converted for civil bush flying observation

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

Max. Speed: 331 mph
Weight: 3,704 lbs empty
Length: 29’-9””
Wingspan: 39’-4”
Height: 10’-0”
The Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service from 1940-5, and was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world. It had excellent maneuverability, long range and a legendary reputation as a dogfighter. The Zero was involved in the air raid over Dutch harbor on June 4, 1942. Many flight characteristics were learned from recovering a Zero that crashed landed on Akutan Island.

Stinson V-77 “Gullwing” Reliant

Stinson V-77 “Gullwing” Reliant

Max. Speed: 177 mph
Weight: 3,045 lbs empty
Length: 27’-11”
Wingspan: 41’-7”
Height: 8’-6”
The Reliant was first flown in 1933 and used by the USAAF in WWII as a utility aircraft and as a trainer. After the war, they were sold as the Vultee V-77. There were straight and taper wing versions, which had a significant step up, giving it a distinct gull appearance. This plane became the mainstay of Alaskan bush operators, as the large flaps enabled a pilot to land heavy loads on unimproved sand bars.

Travel Air 6000

Travel Air 6000

Max. Speed: 120 mph
Weight: 2,430 lbs empty
Length: 30’-0”
Wingspan: 46’-6”
Height: 9’-0”
A six seat, high-wing, braced monoplane utility aircraft first flown in 1928. Bush pilots appreciated the ruggedness, load carrying capacity, and dependability of the Travel Airs.

Fairchild 42

Fairchild 42

Max. Speed: 130 mph
Weight: 4,158 lbs empty
Length: 30’-6”
Wingspan: 45’-6”
A 3-passenger aircraft first flown in 1927. There were a total 8 built, with one flying in Alaska. It is also a high-wing, braced monoplane. Our aircraft was built in 1929, and flown to Alaska in 1948. The aircraft was restored and took to the skies again in 1997. During winters, the airplane is fitted with skis and flown regularly into bush country.

Cessna 206

Cessna 206

Max. Speed: 175 mph Weight: 2,176 lbs empty Length: 28’- 3” Wingspan: 36’-0” Height: 9’-3.5” Six seat general aviation aircraft introduced in 1964. A popular Alaska bush plane because of its powerful engine, rugged construction, and large cabin. The plane can be fitted with floats, amphibious floats and skis.

Vultee BT-13 Valiant

Vultee BT-13 Valiant

Max. Speed: 180 mph Weight: 3,375 lbs empty Length: 28’-10” Wingspan: 42’-0” Height: 11’-6” First flown in 1939, the Valiant was a WWII-era basic trainer flown by most pilots, until the T-6 Texan took that role. It is a low-wing monoplane.

Stinson 108

Stinson 108

Max. Speed: 208 mph Weight: 1,320 lbs empty Length: 24’-6” Wingspan: 34’-0” Height: 6’-10” The Stinson 108 was produced from 1946-1950, and could carry three passengers in its fabric covered tube steel frame. Popularly used as an Alaska bush plane.

Aeroncal Model 7 Champ

Aeroncal Model 7 Champ

Max. Speed: 100 mph Weight: 740 lbs empty Length: 21’-6” Wingspan: 35’-2” Height: 7’-0” The Champ entered production in 1945, and is a two-seat (tandem) airplane with fixed gear. Popularly used as a bush plane in Alaska, the fabric covered, tube steel frame tail dragger is often fitted with large tundra tires.

Fairchild F-11 Husky

Fairchild F-11 Husky

Max. Speed: 128 mph Weight: 4,540 lbs empty Length: 38’-0” Wingspan: 54’-9” Height: 16’-3.5” First flown in 1946, the Husky was a Canadian bush plane and a direct competitor of the iconic de Havilland Beaver. With only 12 examples were produced, the Husky could carry up to 10 passengers.

Beechcraft Model 17Stagger Wing

Beechcraft Model 17Stagger Wing

Max. Speed: 212 mph Weight: 2,540 lbs empty Length: 26’-10” Wingspan: 32’-0” Height: 8’-0” Introduced in 1933, this icon of the Art Deco age is an example of a large, powerful and fast executive plane of the day. The plane features an unusual negative stagger wing configuration that maximizes pilot visibility, and reduces drag. The plane was popular in the air races of the 1930’s.

Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration Pilots: Bart Stone, Ed Kornfield, Terry Holliday, Chuck Miller “Cricket” Renner, Jahn Hartke, Alex Roesch, Jeff Sever, Dick Benner, Burke Mees, Dennis Parrish, Ed White, Mike Hunt, Dave Helmso, and Mike Kelly. Others to be announced.

2008 Partners

As of: May 12th, 2008

“Premier Partners”

“Flagship Partners”

“American Partners”

Atwood Foundation

Key Bank

Alaska Dodge Dealers

“Independence Partners”

F-22 Industry Team

Dowland - Bach

Anchorage Daily News

Olgoonik Development Services, LLC

“Liberty Partners”

Geico Insurance

Petro Star Incorporated

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

Tatitlek Corporation


Anchorage Municipal Light & Power

Chugach Alaska Corporation

“Freedom Partners”

Wells Fargo

Accurate Hearing Systems, LLC

Holland Roofing

Apex Logic

Alaska Premier Dental Group

Unusual Attitudes

“Patriot Partners”

Weldin Construction

Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration Photo Albums

Event photos





When Jeff Sever and I climbed out of the T-6 we were astonishment at the number of people in the hangar behind the crowd control barricades and ropes. There was easily four times the number of people on the ramp than expected at this event…. With the river still frozen, the weather beautiful, and free food….. At least 600-800 people were on the ramp enjoying the aircraft and door prize drawings. The kids loved the ERA Frisbees, ANC twirlers, Air Show Association t-shirts, ERA hats, and more. It was an amazing day.

King Salmon

Within minutes of barnstorming the community and flying oval track patterns and the overhead approach to land, hundreds of people arrived at King Salmon for the Centennial Event. The organizers quickly ran out of food. The public had a great time and enjoyed the drawing for free Air Show Association T-shirts along with the meeting the Centennial pilots.



Bryant Army Airfield



Participating Airplanes

View our videos

Celebrating 100 Years of Alaska Aviation

 For 2013 the Alaska Air Show Association is proud to celebrate the importance andplanepromise of Alaska aviation by providing barnstorming and fly-in activities, bringing living aviation history throughout the state over the course of several weeks this summer. Our goals are to recognize aviation achievement and make available a tangible, mobile museum that educates and inspires aviation enthusiasts and citizens at large of all ages. Activities will begin in May with the Valdez fly-in, and culminate in early July in Fairbanks, coinciding with the original flight in 1913. In between, the Association foresees fly-ins occurring over successive weeks on five different routes throughout Alaska . Please click the cities to see proposed routes, and stay tuned for additional information.

Distinct Routes

5 ea. Distinct Routes
1. Valdez – Yellow
2. Juneau – Blue
3. King Salmon– Green
4. Nome– Red
5. Fairbanks– Purple

Alaska aviation Centennial Celebration

Arctic Thunder Archives

Centennial Celebration

Centennial Poster

Celebrating 100 Years of Alaska Aviation

Centennial Celebration Sponsors

Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration Photo Albums
Participating Airplanes

Centennial Commercial

Airplanes and Pilots

Alaska Aviation History

Routes and Dates

Bush pilots


2012 Arctic Thunder

2012 Poster

U.S. Army Golden Knights

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Gary Ward

Marcus B. Paine

2012 Arctic Thunder Air Show photos

2012 Sponsors



2010 Arctic Thunder

Arctic Thunder Poster 2010

Third Strike Wingwalking

Dan Buchanan

Team Rocket

Gary Ward

Jon Melby

Screaming Eagles: U.S. Army Parachute Demo Team

Wings of Blue: USAF Parachute Demo Team

The Snowbirds: Canadian Airforce