Miss Montana flight cancelled


September 12, 2019

UPDATE: The Miss Montana visit to Thompson Falls has been cancelled. The historic airplane is flying a humanitarian mission to the Bahamas. The Sunday event at Thompson Falls Airport will be rescheduled.


The historic airplane Miss Montana will visit Thompson Falls this weekend in honor of the late Norm Allen of Thompson Falls, a WWII paratrooper and early Montana smokejumper. The plane, now owned by the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, will be at the Thompson Falls airport at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

As a new high school graduate, Allen volunteered for World War II as part of the new parachute infantry. He specialized in reconnaissance and demolitions. As an Army pathfinder and scout, he was among the first to parachute into enemy territory. During his 15 months of duty in the European Theater, Corporal Allen survived a beach landing and three airborne assaults. Allen returned home late in 1945, having participated in five major military campaigns, and having been awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Sanders County Ledger canvas prints

Allen returned home to Thompson Falls and worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a smoke jumper, making his first jump in 1946 near the Nine Mile Ranger Station. Successfully recovering from a broken back sustained when landing in a 100-foot tree, he accumulated 10 years as a smoke jumper, making 76 total jumps. He did this in spite of “being sick anytime I got in an airplane” he would say.

Miss Montana will land at the Thompson Falls airport at 10 a.m. and will stay until approximately 1:30 p.m. Tours of the aircraft will be provided for $5 per individual, with the money going to support the Museum of Mountain Flying. Miss Montana, completed too late to participate in WWII, was fully restored and participated in the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, this past June. This is also the historic aircraft from which smokejumpers were dropped into the Mann Gulch fire near Helena in 1949. Twelve smokejumpers and a smoke chaser perished in the fire.

The public is invited to see the historic aircraft, honor Norm Allen and help support the Museum of Mountain Flying. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs if they plan to stay at the event awhile.


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