by Andy Heins
The National Waco Club is the oldest aircraft “type club” in the United States. Formed in 1958 by Ray Brandly of West Carrollton, Ohio, the club is dedicated towards supporting all owners and enthusiasts of WACO airplanes. Mr. Brandly purchased the remaining parts inventory from the Waco Aircraft Company, which ceased operating in 1947, and it was his desire to help owners keep their aircraft flying. Clayton Brukner, former President of the Waco Aircraft Company, supported this endeavor and attended the National Fly-ins until his passing in 1978.
The first National Waco Club Fly-in took place in 1959 at South Dayton Airport (now known as Moraine Airpark) with 13 Wacos attending. Subsequent years saw the National gathering occur at the Antique Airplane Association gathering in Ottumwa, Iowa, at the old Waco Aircraft Factory in Troy, Ohio (1963-65), South Dayton Airport (1966-69), Hogan Field in Hamilton, Ohio (1970-89), and finally Wynkoop Airport in Mt. Vernon, Ohio (1990-present). In 2009, the National Waco Club celebrated their 50th Reunion at Wynkoop Airport and drew the largest ever attendance of Waco airplanes with 52 examples arriving for the week-long gathering.
Membership in the National Waco Club is open to anyone with a love of Waco airplanes, be it a current owner, former owner, employee, or anyone who appreciates the beautiful airplane designs of the Waco Aircraft Company.
The 63rd annual National Waco Club Reunion took place during the week of June 22-26, 2022 at beautiful Wynkoop Airport (6G4) in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Wynkoop Airport is a unique and beautiful location just northeast of Columbus, Ohio. Presently owned and operated by Brian Wynkoop, his family has run the field since the 1940’s. It features an all-grass, 3460’ x 90’, lighted runway (6-24), but the airport itself is a magical place which makes one feel like they have stepped back in time to 1945. The grove of trees nearby airfield centre is an excellent place to sit in the shade and enjoy watching the flying take place.
Club Reunion Chairman, Doug Parsons, usually arrives a weekend prior to the Reunion in his 1934 Waco YKC to help get the airport in shape for the event. His brother David, with his 1934 Waco UKC, and Tom Woodburn in his 1936 Waco ZQC-6, along with a host of other volunteers also join him in this endeavor. The participating Wacos begin arriving in Mt.Vernon on the Wednesday.
During the Reunion, the NWC features dinners on site each evening. All dinners are held in the grove, with tables and chairs setup among the trees. If inclement weather arises, a huge tent with seating for over 100 is also on the field. Wednesday evening is usually a pizza party, Thursday is the famous Corn Boil dinner, Friday a catered event, and Saturday brings the Banquet with a catered, buffet-style dinner as well.
The National Reunion also features two fly-outs. The first being to the Waco Museum and Learning Center in Troy, Ohio, followed by a luncheon at Barnhart Memorial Airport in New Carlisle, Ohio, sponsored by one of the Club members. The second is a fly-out to Mt.Victory, Ohio for breakfast. During the day on Friday and Saturday, various forums are offered for members to attend.
Saturday night is the annual banquet where all attendees who flew Waco airplanes to the Reunion are recognized. The affair is a catered, buffet-style dinner followed by an awards ceremony and then a Club auction. The auction helps fund the annual Reunion each year through items donated by the membership.
The Reunion this year saw eighteen Wacos attend from eight states and even one international visitor from Canada. Of these eighteen attendee’s, thirteen models were represented, and of particular note, thirteen were cabin models!