A high-flying father-and-son act

Bud and Ross Granley say they have a connection in the air.

“I know what he’s going to do,” said Ross Granley, 47.

Perhaps it’s because as father and son, the pilots shared a bond with many of the thousands of people who gazed skyward on Father’s Day, watching the Granleys roll, loop, climb and dive their two planes in formation as part of the Olympic Air Show at Olympia Regional Airport in Tumwater.

“This is the greatest experience in the world,” added Granley, who piloted a Yak-18


The retired Canadian Forces pilot now works for United Airlines and lives in Mill Creek. His father, 74, also is a retired Canadian military pilot. He lives in Bellevue and has been an air show pilot for more than 50 years. He flew the Yak-55 Sunday, a more aerobatic plane than the one his son flew.

The Granleys’ performance was one of many featured over the weekend. Others included the A-10 West Coast Demonstration Team, a P-51 Mustang and an F/A-18E Hornet.

Visitors viewed airplanes and helicopters displayed on the tarmac and walked through a World War II encampment and displays from the Korean and Vietnam wars.

One plane missing from the weekend air show was the B-17 Sentimental Journey, which was grounded for maintenance evaluations after the B-17 Liberty Belle caught fire and was destroyed during a flight in Illinois last week.

The show, in its 13th year, drew about 2,000 visitors Saturday, with higher numbers expected Sunday, said Teri Thorning, Olympic Flight Museum executive director and air show coordinator.

Bryan Sheriff gazed at the planes on display with his son on his shoulders and his dad standing nearby. He used to watch the show from the roof of his Tumwater home, but he has since moved and wanted to bring his dad and his son to the show.

“Having all three of us together at the same time is pretty rare,” he said. He brought his 6-year-old son, Thomas, to the show because he’s shown an interest in planes.

Larry and Ken Lee have made the show a Father’s Day tradition. Larry Lee, 70, spent 22 years in the Air Force but wasn’t a pilot. He and his son share an interest in aviation, and though they see each other several times a week, the time spent at the air show was special.

As for plans after the show?

“There’s a pot roast on right now,” Larry Lee said.

Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 natehulings@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/outsideoly