Article by Don Thomson with photos by Karl Johanson and Don Thomson.
Final approach to the Diamond Point Airport in Sequim, Washington is somewhat akin to flying over a Claude Monet landscape painting. The airport is nestled on a bluff, 263’ above the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. It is surrounded by trees and is host to a large population of black tail deer. The water surrounding the airport is deep blue and filled with buoys marking the crab pots of many fishermen.
The sky was clear and the winds light as a total of 33 Globe and Temco Swifts, manufactured between 1946 and 1951, arrived to arrived to enjoy what has come to be called the Diamond Point Swift Gathering. This is the 8th time that Swifters from across the United States and Canada have gathered to celebrate at Diamond Point.
Our hosts, Swifter Gerry Mahoney and Jean Takahashi, opened their beautiful hangar home to us and served as “Swift Control” for the 3-day event, which began on July 3rd. Enthusiastic pilots who all share in their love of the Swift represented the states of Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Twenty-six Diamond Point airpark residents hosted the Swift pilots and crew, graciously opening their homes and providing a comfortable bed and ground transportation.
The gathering was very organized, but also very relaxed. Pilots were offered a number of daily fly-out opportunities to the San Juan Islands and some made the short flight to visit the Boeing Museum in Seattle.
Highlights of the weekend included a 13-ship formation flight to “open” two local parades over Sequim and Port Angeles, and a missing man formation flown to honor the mother of Swifter Nate Andrews.
The DP Swifters provided all meals. From the pancake, egg and sausage breakfasts to the halibut and salmon dinners, Swifters were treated like royalty. The fish was flown in from Alaska and donated by Swifter Darryl Fowler. It was caught by his son Ray and Swifter Johnny Johnson.
We also enjoyed some freshly caught, chilled Dungeness crab provided by Swifter Gary Eklund and his wife, Claudia. Claudia spent the days before the event setting and retrieving her crab pots as she has done every year we’ve come to Diamond Point. What a treat!
Door prizes were awarded at the Saturday night dinner and a silent auction conducted to help offset the cost of the event. Limited reproductions of aviation art were donated by a local community member and donated aviation supplies were among the items auctioned.
On Sunday morning, folks gathered to say their good byes and bring to an end another great time at Diamond Point. One by one the Swifts departed and gave the traditional fly by before turning to their homeward headings.
Everyone who helped to make this event special should be proud of his or her work! Hopefully, the tradition will continue and we’ll be back in 2017!