Thousands admire classic planes, cars at Wings n wheels in Howland today

Staff report


The North American P-51 Mustang banked left under the sunny morning skies, setting up for the type of attack that made it the most feared fighter aircraft in World War II.  Instead, the “attack” was a screaming dive over Sloas Airfield, its noise drowning out the applause and cheers of several thousand spectators at the 4th Annual Wings n Wheels festivities Sunday.

“We expect to have more than 100 airplanes land here throughout the day and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get 780 cars,” said Bill Griffin, who owns and operates the airfield.  Off to one side of the 3,000-foot grass strip were the aircraft, many of them aviation classics from general aviation pioneering designs like the Piper Cub to legendary military airplanes.

Brad Deckert, Peru, Ill., owns one of the latter, a Grumman TBM Avenger.  The Avenger was a U.S. Navy torpedo bomber of the type flown by former President George H.W. Bush during World War II.   Asked how he happened to purchase the classic, Decker was surprisingly candid.

“It happened on a drunken night at the Fargo (N.D.) Air Museum when they convinced me to buy it, and I didn’t know any better,” he said.  “I’ve had it for eight years, and I’ll be restoring it as long as I own it.”  He declined to say how much he has invested in his prize possession.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on

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