COLLEGE PLACE -- A place where a lot of local aviation history resides now has a high-flying name tag as well.
On Saturday morning, members of the Mid-Columbia Ninety-Nines, an international women pilots association, and volunteers painted a huge "MARTIN AIRFIELD" identifier on the airport's taxiway. The 20-foot-tall letters provide a quick reference to passing pilots, even from several hundred feet up.
The effort was spearheaded by group members Mary Cooke, Marjy Leggett and Donna Hanebut. The sign is a commemoration of the days when pilots literally flew "by the seat of their pants" and had few, if any, navigational aids.
In an effort to help matters, the Civil Aeronautics Administration encouraged the painting of directional or identifying signs on places like barn roofs or in fields to help guide pilots. Spelling out the name of the airfield he was circling over was one way to let aviators know they were at the destination, or at least needed to check a map.
The name will also come in handy on June 4 when visiting aviators descend for a fly-in and "learn to fly" day.
The event will feature a vintage aircraft, a seminar on how to earn a pilot's license and other attractions, including sightseeing glider rides for those willing to pay a $50 fee.
But in regards to aerial identifiers, in case anyone is thinking of making a similar sign, they may want to consider how much space it takes first.
"The whole thing is 191 feet long," Hanebut said Saturday.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.
On The Net
Mid-Columbia Ninety-Nines: www.ninety-nines.org