Night of Flight to feature historic aviation films Thursday

Gems from Idaho’s aviation history will come alive Thursday when the Idaho Historical Society presents a Night of Flight at the Idaho History Center.

The event will feature two historic films – “Telephone Creek,” and “History of Helicopters,” beginning at 7 p.m. at the history center, 2205 Old Penitentiary Road. Night of Flight is free and open to the public.

Telephone Creek “depicts the life, training and conservation work of Idaho’s aerial forest firefighters – smoke jumpers,” explained Michal Davidson, an archivist for the Idaho State Archives.

The film shows jumps from fixed-wing aircraft and firefighters on the ground in the Telephone Creek drainage. Their target was to save streams from erosion and silt caused by the fire.

It “takes viewers onto the scene in a manner whereby they feel for the wildlife and the loss of ground cover” that is essential to hold back snow runoff and the ravages of streams unchecked by natural vegetation.

Chet Moulton, well known for his part in Idaho aviation history, directed the 25-minute film, which was made in vintage 16mm format. Moulton wasformer director of the Idaho Department of Aeronauticsbefore it merged with the Department of Highways to become ITD.

History of Helicopters “tells the fascinating story of rotating-wing flight in easy, understandable terms,” Davidson said. “Combining historic footage and shots from private collections with new material, the film traces the development of the helicopter from the visionary drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to today’s troop-carrying giants.”

Shell Oil Company produced the historical documentary.

The films are part of a private collection that was donated to the Idaho State Historical Society. The collection is a treasure trove of aviation history that could lead to other film presentations, Davidson said.

She also is leading an effort to digitize ITD’s photo collection of approximately 19,000 images that will preserved as a part of the state archives.

Published 3-15-13