Madras air museum ready for takeoff

After year of preparation, 24 war birds in new home

Madras air museum flies high

MADRAS, Ore. - Planes from all stretches of time have made their way to Madras and are set for their big debut, just in time for this weekend's Airshow of the Cascades.

The Erickson Air Museum at the Madras Airport actually opened its doors a day early for a "Bash at the Base" Thursday evening, thanking the contributors, and community in Madras that made their museum possible.

"I've been to a lot of air shows, but I've never been to one where the community was so involved," said staff photographer Lyle Jansma.

The party, he said, was for "the contractors, the community -- everybody that came together to help give the Erickson Air Museum a home in Madras." 

More than 20 airplanes spanning multiple generations and battles of American history are parked in the brand new facility.  

And the centerpiece of that collection is a B-17 bomber, named after the Central Oregon city that is its new home.

"It stayed in America, and that's probably why it's with us today, because it didn't see combat," Jansma said.

The B-17 had been bought and sold several times before Jack Erickson purchased it in 2013.  Part of the festivities on Thursday included the unveiling of of the plane's new nose art and title.  

The name?  "Madras Maiden."

And as the maiden voyage begins for the Erickson Air Museum, the hope is that future of the hangar is as high and successful as the special planes now resting inside of it.

"Some of them are over 70 years old, and our goal here in Madras is to preserve them here for the next 100 years," said Anthony Ruiz with Erickson Group.

"The climate's right -- we all know that. But also, the city's right.  I think this is the time not only for Madras, but for the Erickson to partner with Madras for some time to come."

There's a Facebook page for the new Madras home of the Erickson Air Collection, at .

For more on the Airshow of the Cascades, visit

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