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WHY I SPONSOR VINTAGE AIRPLANES - A Rant!

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WHY I SPONSOR VINTAGE AIRPLANES - A Rant!

Old 8th Dec 2008, 02:46
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WHY I SPONSOR VINTAGE AIRPLANES - A Rant!

The spirit of giving is wonderful - yet some still choose to condemn it. Why? Because if the giving is not directed at something that person believes in, they consider it to be invalid.

For the past couple of years I have sponsored a couple of vintage airplanes belonging to various museums. By "sponsor" - contributed to fuel and maintenance costs. It isn't cheap, but it is something I believe in and enjoy. The airplanes are something I can see, touch, and hear. I can touch the smoothness of a canvas wing, hear the roar of a radial engine and cast my eyes skyward when they fly. When that airplane participates in an air show or community event and thousands of people can also touch, hear, and see same, I do glean a lot of satisfaction from that because I have helped make it possible.

Incredibly, I once was criticized for this by a relative because I was not interested in contributing to her campaign to "Save the Grizzly Bears."
It's not that I don't care about the bears - but they are for all intents and purposes, intangible. I have never seen or heard a grizzly in "real life," much less touched one. If I did, the bear would probably devour me.

The epitome of that person's arrogance (and ignorance) was when she accused me of "war mongering." "You should give to a peaceful living creature instead of a war plane!" she accused.

Yes, every flight museum is peppered with civilian and military aircraft, and every one of them is entwined with a thousand stories involving the sweep of human emotion and experience in war and peace: love, hate, adventure, courage, joy, pathos, exhilaration and tragedy.

The average lifespan of a WWI pilot was six weeks. Those pilots are gone. What remains are some of their airplanes. The legacy of those pilots lives on through those tangibles - what we can touch and hear -
and when we look up to see it fly toward the heavens.

....toward the heavens.

Is there any greater reverence?
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Old 8th Dec 2008, 11:07
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Ah, but you are forgetting two of the major facts of life -" My cause is MUCH more important than yours" and "I know how you should spend your money better than you do".
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Old 8th Dec 2008, 12:10
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Ah, but you are forgetting two of the major facts of life -" My cause is MUCH more important than yours" and "I know how you should spend your money better than you do".
Yup, this about sums it up quite nicely.

Now, having been in professional aviation for over forty years (civilian flying only, no military), I like old aeroplanes too, but....only select ones.

Stratocruiser
DC-6B
DC-7
Lockheed 1649 Constellation
Lockheed L188 Electra
Boeing 707

These, in many respects, were quite unique at their time...

Stratocruiser
First true trans-oceanic pressurized airliner, that had rather hibred engines.

DC-6B
The most economical 4-engine piston transport...ever.

1649 Constellation.
The first (and only) truly ultra long range piston transport

Lockheed Electra
The first large American manufactured turbopropellor transport...that was really fast.

B707...the classic swept wing transport jet.

And, I flew 'em all, at one point, or another.

Quite frankly, except for a few select others, I couldn't give a stuff about other old(er) types.
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Old 8th Dec 2008, 12:15
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Simple answer

I do it because I want to do it, now bog off
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Old 8th Dec 2008, 12:46
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Or politely suggest that, as they obviously are much better at spending your money than you are, they are highly qualified for a job in government?
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Old 9th Dec 2008, 06:24
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411, that's quite an impressive logbook.

I wish our museum had the hangar space and the funds to add something like a Connie to the collection.

If I were a pilot, perhaps I would have strong likes and dislikes too.

My interest in aviation is largely based on the nostalgia and romance. Every aircraft is entwined by that contingent of humanity that I wrote about earlier. To negate one airplane would also negate all of those who were involved with it.

There is a DC-3 in our collection. One day an elderly man came and sat in it for hours - lost in his own world of memories and emotions. He was the only surviving member of a DC-3 flight crew that crashed fifty years earlier. It was the first time he had stepped back into a DC-3 since the crash. It was something that he just had to do before he died.

That was pretty overwhelming --
for him and all those at the museum that day.

Thank-you for your reply. I did enjoy reading about those airplanes that I
never will have the privilege of riding in as a passenger, never mind flying.

Hopefully I will be able to experience many of them at another flight museum some day.

Last edited by V2-OMG!; 9th Dec 2008 at 06:36.
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Old 9th Dec 2008, 07:52
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411A, I thought the L1649 was no longer a Constellation because of its new wing but a Starliner.
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Old 9th Dec 2008, 09:14
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I thought the L1649 was no longer a Constellation because of its new wing but a Starliner.
Today 07:24
The Starliner name was used by a couple of airlines, but it was a Constellation all right...and, a very complicated one, at that.

My record flight time in the airplane was 17 hours, and if we had had more fuel (and oil) it could have flown on for 6 more...
A long-ranger, for sure.

Also flew the DC-3 in command for about 500 hours...quite frankly I was not especially impressed.
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Old 9th Dec 2008, 19:06
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Also flew the DC-3 in command for about 500 hours...quite frankly I was not especially impressed.
I ended up with about 300 hours in the DC-3, however, it was strictly Part 91 and we really only flew it when the weather was nice and with light loads. So my time flying it was enjoyable, but I would have probably not liked to had the fly the DC-3 for a living.

On a related topic. 411A, do you remember the B-36 that was on static display at the old Mecham Field near Fort Worth? When they started construction of DFW a group of folks decided to restore the B-36 to flying condition. I was in University at the the time and donated $100.00, a sizable amount to a poor college kid back then, toward the restoration. Obviously the project never got off the ground, but I never got my money back, nor have I ever found out what happened to the B-36. So at the best I hope my 100 bucks bought the guys some beer.

I least I tried to help.


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Old 9th Dec 2008, 19:42
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Also flew the DC-3 in command for about 500 hours...quite frankly I was not especially impressed.
I've talked to pilots who have flown it. They described it as "sluggish," but that is compared to what? By today's standards, there is no comparison.

Still, the DC-3 is the airplane that "taught the world to fly," helped liberate Europe, was a fairly reliable workhorse for some cargo carriers, and spewed some formidable fire-power in Vietnam.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 03:22
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V2-OMG

For those that understand no explanation is necessary.
For those that don't, no explanation is good enough.

Follow your heart and keep it up.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 04:16
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And, I flew 'em all, at one point, or another.

Quite frankly, except for a few select others, I couldn't give a stuff about other old(er) types.
Saw you on one of those random TV street interviews in the lead up to final election day -

"Will you be voting, Sir?" "Why should I? I CAN'T WIN!"
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 04:31
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My interest in aviation is largely based on the nostalgia and romance. Every aircraft is entwined by that contingent of humanity that I wrote about earlier. To negate one airplane would also negate all of those who were involved with it.

There is a DC-3 in our collection. One day an elderly man came and sat in it for hours - lost in his own world of memories and emotions. He was the only surviving member of a DC-3 flight crew that crashed fifty years earlier. It was the first time he had stepped back into a DC-3 since the crash. It was something that he just had to do before he died.
That, Sir, is a beautifully put expression of the ineffable side of pursuing a cause or upholding a principle that cannot be realised without engagement and rarely imparted to the disinterested. Paul Garber used to get a long ladder for Charles Lindbergh to climb up into The Spirit of St Louis after closing time. He would sit up there for an hour at a time, thinking who know's what?
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 06:49
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For those that understand no explanation is necessary.
For those that don't, no explanation is good enough.

Follow your heart and keep it up.
kluge, thank-you so much. I was wondering if this site had any soul.
Your comment meant a lot to me.

I may not have epaulettes on my shoulder,
but I do have four bars across that heart. For those that understand, no explanation is necessary......
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 07:12
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That, Sir, is a beautifully put expression of the ineffable side of pursuing a cause or upholding a principle that cannot be realised without engagement and rarely imparted to the disinterested. Paul Garber used to get a long ladder for Charles Lindbergh to climb up into The Spirit of St Louis after closing time. He would sit up there for an hour at a time, thinking who know's what?
fantome, I love your style.

This may come as a bit of a shock, but I am not a "sir." I am a woman who has always been fascinated by aviation, and have penned a few stories related to flight.

When you wrote about Lindbergh sitting in The Spirit of St. Louis thinking who know's what, do you know where I do a lot of my writing? I take my laptop and lock myself into that DC-3 which was once known as "The Spirit of Skena." The Skena will never fly again - her wing spars are shot - but it is where my words find their lift.

Thank-you so much for your erudition, interest, and understanding.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 08:24
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On a related topic. 411A, do you remember the B-36 that was on static display at the old Mecham Field near Fort Worth?
yes.
That particular airplane had the resoration started but, two events happend to bring a halt to the proposed project.

During preliminary work, it was found that much of the magnesium structure in the aeroplane had severe corrosion (and, the B36 had a huge amount) and this proved to be entirely off the clock, expense-wise, for a flying aeroplane.

Also, the AirForce had second thoughts about allowing this very large aeroplane to be 'controlled' by civilians, so threw up many roadblocks.

The aeroplane has been dismantled, trucked to the Pima Air Museum (just outside Tucson Arizona) and is scheduled to be re-assembled for a static display....sometime (dunno just when).

As a youngster growing up during the 1950's in southern California, B-36's were often heard aloft....waaaay up there.
The noise you heard was the beat from the 19 foot diameter propellors, not engine noise.
The whole ground shook for about five minutes when just one flew over.
Ten minutes for a group of three.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 11:59
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My project

This glider was bought and restored by two of my friends and myself three years ago. Not the same league as a constellation, but then the three of us could afford it on our own...



Why I do it?
Doesn't that picture tell it all?
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 14:56
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V2-OMg

Committing aviation is a serious offense.

Do a google search on Omaka or the Aviation Heritage Centre in New Zealand.
Or if you happen to be in the US go down to the museum in Palm Springs Ca and have a chat with the museum attendants who are ex WWII gentlemen who were at the "coal face". Look into their eyes and see the passion.

Once bitten by the aviation bug you are hooked for life.
It is a blessing and a curse.
But oh, how wonderful when airborne (in anything). Nothing comes close.....re my earlier post.
Read some Richard Bach. You'll find his short aviation stories truly wonderful and all true.


Last edited by kluge; 10th Dec 2008 at 16:40.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 15:36
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Why I do it?
Doesn't that picture tell it all?
Agreed it says a lot, but in my opinion the real reasons that you did it, and that V2-OMG! sponsors aircraft restoration, are that a) you can, b) you wanted to and c) you enjoy/enjoyed it. All perfectly good reasons. How people spend their time and money is their business as long as it does no harm to others. Personally I love seeing well restored aircraft.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 16:14
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Ah...but what is life without a passion.

That you can is not enough.
There has to be more to it. And of course there is.

You cannot categorise such things.

To attempt to do so devalues the "why"......and what is life
without a passion.

Despite the mask of checks, numbers and discipline of execution aviators are passionate people *

Just read the poetry. John Magee is a good start.

* there is a difference between a flyer and an aviator.

Last edited by kluge; 10th Dec 2008 at 16:32.
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