Model “A” Ford Club tours Kent Is­land by air

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Obituary - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

KENT IS­LAND — Sev­eral mem­bers of the Ge­orge Washington Chap­ter of the Model “A” Ford Club of Amer­ica com­prised of nearly 200 in­di­vid­ual own­ers from Vir­ginia, Mary­land and the District of Columbia, “who ap­pre­ci­ate the rugged de­pend­abil­ity and time­less style of the Model “A” Ford” jour­neyed to Kent Is­land early in Septem­ber to take in the sights of the East­ern Shore. The group of an­tique car buffs came to stay at the his­toric Kent Manor Inn and visit Kent­morr Air­park where they were treated to rides in a vin­tage plane.

One lo­cal, Su­san Hale, ob­served the group at the Valero gas sta­tion, and pho­tographed the bi­plane, once be­long­ing to Anne Mor­row Lind­berg, as it flew over her house that morn­ing.

The Alexan­dria Best­way, was the main rally point of the Kent Is­land Tour, re­layed club mem­ber Ja­son Cunningham. “The route,” said Cunningham, “was a cus­tom cre­ation no GPS could com­pre­hend. It was de­signed to min­i­mize time on high-speed high­ways and max­i­mize time on scenic back roads with wide shoul­ders. Many of us were sur­prised by just how beau­ti­ful and peace­ful a route other than 495/Route 50 could be. How­ever, there was no avoid­ing the dreaded Bay Bridge and it’s 5 miles of high speed, shoul­der-less road­way.”

Cunningham said the group fol­lowed ev­ery al­ter­na­tive road­way pos­si­ble, even fol­low­ing one road that ran par­al­lel to route 50, and came so close to the high­way, it was sep­a­rated by a mere 3 feet of grass.

To Cunningham’s sur­prise, get­ting through the toll booth was a breeze, and once the train of 15 an­tique cars made it through, they were able to eas­ily merge into the empty right-hand lane and climb the bridge. “Cars passed us on the left at a leisurely pace, and we all en­joyed the scenery from high above the large cargo ships, and small plea­sure craft far down on the wa­ter be­low,” said Cunningham, pleased their were no me­chan­i­cal prob­lems while on the bridge.

The club stopped first at the air­field. It was a gen­uinely ex­it­ing scene right out of the 1930s, said Cunningham. The plane ad­mired so by Cunningham and his fel­low club mem­bers was in Cunningham’s words, “Beau­ti­ful. Its sil­ver pro­peller glis­ten­ing in the light. The bright yel­low wings stood in sharp con­trast to the azure blue sky.”

Mike Pan­gia, owner of the famed “Bird”, a plane that was once no­to­ri­ously owned by ac­cord­ing to Civil Aero­nau­tics Ad­min­is­tra­tion records, Mrs. Charles A. Lind­bergh. As the story goes, Charles Lind­bergh bought his wife, Anne Mor­row Lind­bergh the Bird to help her learn to fly. Mor­row Lind­bergh re­port­edly learned to fly in the “Bird” and even­tu­ally flew over five con­ti­nents and sub­se­quently spent nearly six months sur­vey­ing At­lantic flight routes us­ing other planes.

Pan­gia, an at­tor­ney who prac­tices in D.C., pur­chased the plane from Joe Fichera, who owns the home ad­ja­cent to the Kent­morr Air­park. The plane is still kept housed in Fichera’s hangar and has been much sought af­ter by the Smith­so­nian’s Air and Space Mu­seum.

“Mike Pan­gia was the soul of gen­eros­ity,” said Cunningham, as he took 18 of the group — all who wanted a ride aloft in­di­vid­u­ally over the course of the day. Each was treated to a short flight, fly­ing large fig­ure-eights over the field and out over the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, which was con­ve­niently at the end of the run­way, quipped Cunningham. “The flights were ab­so­lutely the high­light of the en­tire week­end,” he said.

The group stayed at the His­toric Kent Manor Inn – an apt set­ting for their an­tique cars, said Cunningham, with its long, tree­lined drive­way, views of the wa­ter, sweep­ing lawns and gar­dens, and cupola on top.

The club later par­took in sup­per at An­nie’s Para­mount Steak and Seafood and lauded the prompt ser­vice and de­li­cious food.

Sun­day morn­ing the group shared in a con­ti­nen­tal break­fast of­fered by the inn be­fore de­part­ing for the fi­nal leg of their trip a short walk­ing trip of An­napo­lis and visit to the U.S. Naval Academy Mu­seum.

Vin­tage car en­thu­si­asts visit Kent­morr Air­park for a chance to ride in a vin­tage plane.

Anne Mor­row Lind­bergh’s “Bird” is com­ple­mented by this clas­sic Ford road­ster be­long­ing to a mem­ber of the Ge­orge Washington Chap­ter of Model “A” Ford Club.

PHO­TOS BY SU­SAN HALE

The plane of Anne Mor­row Lind­bergh, now be­long­ing to Mike Pan­gia, flies over Kent Is­land, Sept. 9.

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