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On November 6, 1922,The Wenatchee Daily World published two photographs of publisher Rufus Woods Sr. as he was about to embark on a flight from Wenatchee to Yakima in an open cockpit biplane. Woods and Benton Bangs were sent there by the Growers Committee of the Wenatchee Commercial Club. Apple growers that year were having extreme problems getting railway freight cars to Wenatchee to move fruit to the rest of the United States. In fact, the month before a plea went out “that a census be taken of every unoccupied building where a few apples may be stored and protected from freezing weather.” Woods’ flight was eventful as he wrote in the next few days. Vernon Bookwalter was the pilot who became famous as the operating the first mail flight in the northwest from Vancouver, Washington to Los Angeles. The three took off from East Wenatchee. As Rufus put it, “The terrific wind from the mill in front attracted our attention till we got adjusted in the car, for two passengers each of whom pulled down the scales 200 pounds made a tight fit in the front seat of the air buggy.” They flew over the Colockum Pass and after going over the mountains, “We had hit a hole in the air” due to a storm coming from the west. “That machine shot down so fast we couldn’t hold our seats. Bangs grabbed hold of the only thing he could hang to — which turned out to be electric cables between the engine and the driver. I grabbed the little guy wire until I finally got my shoulder under the housing.” “With our airplane nose pointed downward and the engine racing at its greatest possible speed, it didn’t take very long to get some place. And after a drop of 2,000 feet at this rate we slid out of the air pocket and out on the edge of the Kittitas valley.” “The rapid racing of the engine on the descent from the Colockum had boiled the water out of the engine and the motor began to spit, and snap, and stop — and start again — and looking for a landing place, Bookwalter headed her over three open fields, picked out the best one — and lit. They walked to a ranch nearby, got water for the engine, and headed towards Yakima once again where they landed. “It was then that our pilot told us: ‘Boys, you’ve seen it all! It was the worst one I ever got into!”

115 years ago — 1907

The Cashmere warehouse of Wenatchee Valley Fruit Growers Association is busy with a crew of eight packers preparing apples for shipment. A carload of apples is being shipped each day and Manager Tibbits predicts 20,000 boxes will be handled from this warehouse during the season.



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