WAMM 1977 - 2007 "Keep the Mites Flying!"

Celebrating the 30th annual WAMM Fly-In, Porterville, California May 18 - 20, 2007

Special Events:

Deep-pit barbecue at the Airport will be prepared and served on Saturday by Don Deaton, N120C

Early birds, as usual, are invited to dine "estilo mejicano" at La Fuente downtown on Thursday evening.

Here's an opportunity for us to gain some publicity (from this week's AOPA ePILOT):

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT from AOPA: Enjoy hanging out at your airport? Have a camera? Great news: AOPA Pilot has an assignment for you! We need your help Saturday, May 19, for a special project we're calling "A Day in the Life of America's Airports." On that day we're sending a team of editors and photographers to airports of all types around the country, but we can't hit 'em all—and that's where you come in. Our editors will be capturing what happens at those airports on that date for a special report later this summer. You can be part of it by heading out to your local airport with your digital camera and notebook. Send us a brief report and a couple of photos that captures the mood and happenings at your airport on May 19. Whether yours is a sleepy grass strip or a bustling hive of traffic, it's all part of what makes up the texture of general aviation flying. We'll publish a select group of photos and reports online in conjunction with the coverage from our editors. Submit your report to airportday@aopa.org.

Remembering the First Fly-In      
The name "Western Association of Mooney Mites" was coined by its founder, Tony Terrigno. The first WAMM Fly-In was held on the weekend of September 17-18, 1977.
Here is the wording of Tony's invitation, dated August 8, 1977:

"Permit me to intrude into some of your precious time to introduce myself in order that you may have some insight as to the subject matter regarding this correspondence. Thank You.

"My name is Anthony Terrigno (Tony) of Buena Park, California, the proud owner of Mooney Mites N118C and N120C. My interest in contacting you is to have a very informal gathering of California "MITE" owners, of which they number approximately twenty-eight (28). California has the largest number of "MITES" registered of all the states. The purpose of the "get-together" would be to exchange ideas and see other MITES with the hope of making new friends. The necessary information is listed below for your convenience: If planning to attend, please fill out the form and mail on or before 9 Sept. 1977. We would like this fly-in to be the beginning of an annual affair.

Happy flying,
A.A. Terrigno (Tony)"

Founding Members (attendees all from California): (The names marked in blue arrived in their Mite.)

  1. Jack Callahan, Bakersfield, N4125, s/n 295, blue & white
  2. Ben Favrholdt, Torrance, N4092, s/n 127, blue, 1000 hrs
  3. Earl Sanderson, Placerville, N380A, s/n 41, red & white, 1500 hrs
  4. Allen Weddle, Orangeville, N9AW, s/n 234, white, red & blue trim. 2220
  5. Ernie Buenting, Upland, N496M, s/n 246, green over white
  6. Doris & Ben Loftsgaard, Sacramento, N122C, under construction
  7. Tony Terrigno, Buena Park, N118C, N120C, s/n 79 & 81, yellow, black & green trim, 500 hrs
  8. Dave Jappay, Orinda, N4152, s/n 318, white & gold, 830 hrs
  9. Richard McComas, Manhattan Beach, N329M, s/n 210, red fuselage, silver wings, 1400 hrs
  10. Bob Katz, Encino
  11. Fabio Escobar, La Palma, N109C
  12. Luis Tomich, Norwalk, N109C
Pre-registered, but did not attend:

Audrey Schutte, Northridge, N3163K, s/n 7, white, orange, gold, 900 hrs
Dan Shumaker, Livermore, N4142, s/n 308, white & brown, 935 hrs
Sam Gagian, Lemon Grove, N4104, s/n 138, white, blue trim, 900 hrs

Prizes (Winners judged by ballot):

Furthest distance flown,
Best paint design and finish,
Best panel,
Best general appearance

There is no record of who won the prizes.

Here is a report on the first Fly-In prepared by Ben Loftsgaard, who forwarded copies to the Porterville newspaper and the local EAA chapter:

"On September 17th a Mooney Mite Fly-In took place at Porterville Airport. It was organized by Tony Terrigno of Buena Park, Calif. A total of nine "Mites" showed up. Five were from the Los Angeles area, one came over from Hayward, and two from the Sacramento area - Allan Weddle from Phoenix Field and Doctor Earl "Doc" Sanderson from Placerville.

"In addition to lots of flying, the group participated in a seminar (they called it a "Rap Session") on their aircraft. Doris and Ben Loftsgaard flew down in a Cessna 150 to attend the sessions, and Fabio Escobar, wife, son, and two friends who have "Mites" in their garage in Mission Viego, came up in a Cessna 172. Fabio first  became interested in Mooney Mites when he learned to fly in his native country, Columbia, South America.

"The Townspeople of Porterville gave the group the "Red Carpet" treatment. John Konop, the Airport Manager, and Ken Billingsley the local Ford Dealer, furnished free transportation and everyone at the field co-operated with the "Mighty Mite" flyers. The only uncooperative thing at the whole fly-in was the automatic sprinkler system on the airport grounds which "did it's thing" at five o'clock on Sunday morning, dousing the pup-tenters and their airplanes. A garbage can placed upside-down over the offending plumbing took care of the situation."