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Tri Cities Hosts Water Follies

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 10:19

by B.J. Shepherd

The Tri Cities will celebrate its Water Follies July 26-28 of this year.

This event’s name  might seem incongruous to some. Although the Tri Cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland are situated in desert, they have water all around them. All three cities are blessed to have frontage on the Columbia River, and the neighborhood also includes the Yakima. Snake and Walla Walla Rivers, all of which join the mighty Columbia near the Tri Cities.


HAPO Columbia Cup

This month will mark the 54th straight year that unlimited hydroplanes will be the centerpiece of this annual event. Though spectators will be able to watch preliminary events from Friday forward, the culminating race is the 2019 version of the HAPO Columbia Cup. which takes place on Sunday afternoon. The course—a very elongated oval on a stretch of the Columbia between Kennewick and Pasco sides of the river—is said to be the fastest on the circuit for these boats.

Heirs to the earlier unlimited hydroplanes which were powered by piston-driven aircraft engines, today’s boats are turbine-powered. They’re about 30 feet long and weigh in the neighborhood of 7,000 pounds. In spite of their size and weight, they really fly—almost literally. On straigtaways these modern unlimited hydroplanes can come close to 200 miles per hour. Their predecessors were loud and so are today’s boats, though now the sound is more a high-pitched whine than the baritone thunder of earlier unlimiteds.

Grumman hellcat 768x512 PicmonkkeyThis Grumman Hellcat will fly again "Over the River" 

“Over the River” Air Show

This weekend built around speed includes an aerial component, too. Each year brings different aircraft and different pilots to this tradition. In 2019 both locals and visitors to the Tri Cities can be thrilled by the aerobatic flying of Renny Price and Michael Wiskus, as well as see and hear planes which first flew 75 of 80 years ago. These include the AT-6, built by North American Aviation. This aircraft served as an advanced trainer for young Americans soon to move into the cockpits of the fighters used in World War II. Examples of those warbirds, which will be flying at the air show include the Grumman Wildcat and its successor, the F6F Hellcat, also made by Grumman.


Editor’s note: More information about this event can be had by visiting https://waterfollies.com/

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 July 2019 10:35


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