Pasco man one of last to fly out of Vista Field in Kennewick

Tri-City HeraldDecember 31, 2013 

Burt Goranson of Pasco flew his 1952 Cessna out of Vista Field in Kennewick by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline. The Pasco man hadn’t flown the plane in 15 years. The Port of Kennewick set Dec. 31 as the final day for the airport.

COURTESY NAN GORANSON

— Burt Goranson made it out of Vista Field in Kennewick by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

Goranson, 64, flew his 1952 Cessna to Prosser, taking off about 3:30 p.m.

The Pasco man hadn’t flown the plane in 15 years, so he took a bit longer than normal trip to try out some maneuvers.

“It was a beautiful flight,” he said of his solo trip.

The Port of Kennewick set Dec. 31 as the final day for the airport after the port voted in April to close the facility, with intentions of developing the property.

The closure opens up 75 acres for the potential construction of more than one million square feet of retail, commercial, office and industrial buildings, according to a recent report. There could also be 1,400 apartments or condos added.

Goranson worked on the plane for three weeks trying to get it in flying condition. He bought it in 1976, but hadn’t used it because he battled pancreatic cancer nearly a decade ago and was busy leading a Boy Scout troop in Pasco.

On Tuesday, he returned to Vista Field after his flight to pick up some items from the hangar. He said he didn’t know if anyone else was left to fly out. Another pilot had been trying to repair his plane this week, as well.

“When I left (Monday), he was cussing up a storm,” Goranson said.

The port is planning to paint giant X’s on the runway later this week so that pilots know the airport is closed.

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