A Little History of WAMM
by Tony Terrigno
The organization of WAMM began in early 1977, as I recall, just after my return from a tour of 16 months in Europe on company business. I had one Mite flying, N118C, plus N120C in storage ready for restoration then!
Since at that time the Mite clubs had phased out, I decided to put out a newsletter, as I was planning to have a fly-in at the Apple Valley airport in California. Anyone interested in flying to the gathering was welcome. Along with issuing the newsletter, I decided to call the club "Western Association of Mooney Mites", a name that has stuck for all these years, because I believed that most of the Mite owners would come to events if they were not too far away. Remember, I live in California. Most of the names and addresses used were drawn from the old members list of the MMOA, Mooney Mite Owners Association, under Fred Quarles of Virginia.
The first spring fly-in was at Apple Valley airport and it brought in, I believe, about seven Mites. Some of the attendees were Ben Favrholdt, Richard McComas, Dan Shumaker, and one or two others, I don't recall their names. Other members came into view later at fly-ins, like Bill Vandersande, Gil Gilbert, Garry Gramman, etc. of whom many are continuing current members.
At one of the early fly-ins, attendees decided to have two gatherings per year, one in the spring and another in the late summer and it has remained that way since. Then came the decision as to which weekends were more suitable for the events. It took a couple of years to finalize which would be best for better attendance. As it worked out, they were the weekend after Mother's Day in May and the weekend before Labor Day in August. More Mites showed up on those weekends than any other ones chosen!
As to places to fly, I believe it was Ben Favrholdt who suggested Porterville, California as a great airport for the spring event which turned out to be enjoyed by all. Then later came Columbia airport up in the gold country as the late summer place. It had a great camping area with all the daily necessities! Numerous other airport were chosen, with successful attendance and fun over the years, except for a few due to weather conditions. A few years ago, I handed the reins over to Ben Favrholdt and now Bill Vandersande is president.
Happy landings everyone, and many years of safe flying and fun in your Mooney Mite! Remember, Keep the Mites Flying!!!!!!!
12 November, 2004