The Wheels of the Skies: Cascade Air hosts annual fly-in event in Kelso


Aviation enthusiasts watched planes and helicopters fly in for the day and then looked at the aircraft up close for a fly-in event Sunday at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso Sunday, Aug. 27.

The third annual fly-in hosted by Cascade Air provided enthusiasts a few hours to enjoy the general aviation aircraft and warbirds that landed or taxied in during the event.

Cascade Air, a fixed base operator (FBO) and flight school at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso is locally owned by David Statham, a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot who operates The National Wings and Armor Foundation, as well. Statham’s daughter, Jess Statham-Frost, and her husband, Hudson Frost, are also pilots themselves. 

“We’re a small family business,” Statham-Frost said. “We all genuinely love general aviation. We cater to jets and military and all these different industries, but we really care about keeping general aviation alive.”

The fly-in event helps Cascade Air and the Stathams achieve their mission. Cascade Air provides a community and gathering place for aviation enthusiasts and to provide services for pilots and their aircrafts. 

“Our mission is to promote professionalism and safety in the aviation community while inspiring the next generation of pilots,” Cascade Air’s website states. 

Cascade Air has partnered with the Kelso School District to provide ground school and four flights for high school seniors to kickstart the next generation of pilots. 

“We really are dedicated to safety and training people in the right way, you know, and having good critical thinking and not just a pilot farm that goes, OK, this is what the book says. Congratulations you passed the book,’ ” Frost said. “I want students to go out in the world and have other people go, ‘Oh, you were taught right,’ like somebody did a good job of you and can tell, you know, real world experience and just having a good culture for around here.”

In order to achieve a private pilot’s license, students need to complete 25 to 35 hours of ground school instruction, 30 to 45 dual flight instruction hours, 10 to 15 hours of solo flying, a written exam and checkride administered by a designated pilot examiner, all of which Cascade Air FBO and Flight Training provides. To learn more about the process and what Cascade Air offers for flight school, visit cas

Flight school students attending Cascade Air travel from the general region, from Toledo south to Vancouver, Frost said. 

“It’s a really good industry to get into … there’s more jobs than just the airline jobs,” he said. “That’s the part that’s always frustrating because everybody sees the airlines, but they don’t see that there’s so many other venues of work. From everything from fire work to EMS to part 135 transportation. People don’t see the invisible freeway in the sky. They only see the freeway that they’re driving on, but they don’t see this huge infrastructure setup for flying.”

To learn more about Cascade Air, find the company on Facebook and Instagram as well as online at, or contact or by calling 360-232-8936.