Tuesday, April 15

Sunny Florida

The Flagship Detroit recently appeared at the Florida International Air Show in Punta Gorda. Because she has a large following in south Florida, she had plenty of folks to attend to her needs and show her off as you can tell from the dinner photo below. As usual, she was a real hit.
 Following that she moved to Lakeland, FL for the very large and well attended Sun and Fun Fly In. This is a weeklong event and various crew members were in and out during the week including Peggy Fairchild, Steve Jacobson, John Thatcher, Matt McNamara (his first show), Dave Buffington and David Gorrell. She left Lakeland a bit earlier than planned due to weather concerns. John Thatcher, David Gorrell and Matt McNamara flew her to Shelbyville,TN and made their way home, leaving her in the care of our founder, George Dennis. Later in the week, Bob Gross and Scott Main came from Florida and flew her to Tulsa where there is a large American Airlines maintenance facility and Flagship fan club. She was to have wintered in Tulsa, but a number of minor issues prevented that. She will stay there, where she can be hangered until her next event.

Monday, February 17

The Snowbird Flies

Take off from Covington
On Saturday, February 8th, Captain Blake Butler drove down to Covington, GA where the Flagship resided from his hilltop home in Shelbyville, TN. He and Captain Gene Christian then prepared the Flagship for a flight. She had not been off the ground in almost three mon
On Sunday morning, off they went. She was a little slow to start to taxi and I had to wonder if she had grown roots into the tarmac after so long in one place. But no, once she began to roll, it was no time at all until she was in the air, such a lovely sight.
Captain Bob Gross
The men were met in Fort Pierce, FL by Captains John Thatcher and Bob Gross. That is Bob at the controls with the big grin as he worked to renew his currency after having heart surgery last June. He is glad to also be back at the helm at American Airlines. Bob offered his spacious home in a fly in community in Jupiter as a bunkhouse for the men.
Bill Brooks washing engine cowlings.
The plane is in Fort Pierce to undergo its rigorous six month inspection being preformed by Missionary Flight International.This company operates DC3s in support of missionaries in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Since all of their pilots are also certified mechanics, they are the perfect fit to do out inspection.
On Monday the men were joined by Bill Brooks one of our most dedicated non-pilot members to clean and prepare the airplane for the inspection. The more our volunteers do, the less the cost of the inspection.
Several other members plan to travel to Ft. Pierce in the coming days to continue the work of spiffing the plane to ready it for the 2014 air show season.

Sunday, February 2

Margaret Davis Jacobson

Margaret Davis didn’t plan on taking to the skies when she graduated from high school in Silver City, New Mexico in 1936.  She began her studies at New Mexico State Teachers College, but after one year decided to switch to nursing.  Her family lived adjacent to the nurses’ residence at a remote Veterans Bureau hospital and she was strongly influenced by the nurses and the work they were doing.  That led her to Baylor University Hospital in Dallas, where she received her diploma in nursing in 1940, making the highest recorded score in the state on her board exams. She had to work at Baylor until she was 21 and could be licensed. She then worked with a pediatrician in Dallas.  In the meantime, her sister, Kay, was working for Southern Air Transport in El Paso. This was the time when C.R. Smith was in the process of gathering up small air line companies and organizing them into what was to become American Airlines. 
Kay told her that American was hiring nurses to be stewardesses in this new and exciting world of air transportation, and arranged an interview for Margaret with Newton K. Wilson, who was then supervisor of stewardesses, and later became president of Sky Chefs.  Wilson was known as a tough interviewer, and Margaret remembers not being particularly interested in the job initially.  She says she and Mr. Wilson didn’t exactly hit it off.  “What if we decide you’re not what we want?” he asked.  Margaret was taller than the average stewardess, at 5’7”, and she supposed that’s what he was referring to.  “Well”, she replied, I already have a job.” Despite that, Margaret soon received an offer to attend stewardess training in New York, in a letter signed by Wilson himself.
Most of her friends thought she was "very brave" to embark on this new career as there had been a series of accidents about this time including when "Johnny Martin set one down in a peach orchard in Ft. Worth on the day of my interview." To counteract the negatives, C.R. Smith took out a full page ad in major newspapers across the country entitled “Why Dodge this Question: Afraid to Fly?”  Other executives in the airline industry felt it was a mistake to address the issue so directly, but with characteristic insight, Smith thought if he wrote an honest message and entrusted potential passengers with the facts, fears would be allayed.  His strategy paid off, and the public headed back to the airports. Margaret remembers C.R. Smith as a “very friendly, outgoing and charming man, who always remembered everyone’s name. He was an amazing person.”
She was soon off to her new quarters at the Sanford Hotel in Flushing, New York, to be bussed to classes at the new LaGuardia Field. She excelled in training, receiving a 94 on her final exam.  As she stated, all the trainees were already nurses, so were expected to know how to handle people and difficult situations.  
 Margaret’s first base was Chicago, where it was so cold that she wore red long johns under her uniform skirt.  She was mostly successful in keeping them from showing, a challenge on the windy Chicago ramp.  As the most junior stewardess at the base, she was frequently assigned the “night owl”, between Chicago and New York, where one of her  frequent passengers was Jose Iturbi, a popular pianist and actor. He had a reputation for being somewhat temperamental, and he was often the only passenger on the flight. She distinctly remembers it was obvious that he did not want to be disturbed. He even brought his own lunch with him and worked on his music the whole flight. She said it was often hard to stay awake with nothing to keep her busy. Once when counting heads for meals from the back of the plane, she missed New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as his head did not show above the seat back due to his short statue. In a panic, she told the pilots not to eat their meals until she checked with the Mayor. To her relief, he was to go to dinner on arrival and she and the pilots were saved. Later, while flying transcontintal on the DST Sky Sleeper, she met  the dashing actor Errol Flynn.    He was given the “sky room” berth, which was private and roomier than the others. She remembers him waking up in the morning, looking not quite like his glamorous image.  She asked if he would like some juice.  “I’ll take a cute little nurse on the half shell”, was his reply. “I’ll bring you juice and coffee,” Margaret responded.
Weather and mechanical cancellations were commonplace in those days, and the stewardess was responsible for accommodating the passengers, often booking train tickets when a flight was cancelled.  One time she remembers having to care for an unaccompanied child, taking the little girl with her to her layover hotel.  She opened the child’s suitcase to find only a doll and a hairbrush. Having slept on the plane from New York to Nashville, the young girl was bouncing around the room all night long, wanting to look out the window which had no screens.  “I was exhausted,” Margaret remembers. The next day all the passengers boarded the L and N railroad, popularly known as the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and headed off to their destinations.
 Travelers have long complained about airline food, and apparently this originated during the DC3 days.  Although some meals were good, a favorite being a fried chicken box lunch which was prepared in home kitchens and delivered to the airport by the cook herself, (before the advent of Sky Chefs), many were not so popular.  Among the most notorious was Chicken a la king, served from a wide mouth thermos jug.  Margaret remembers opening the jug one summer day while flying over the New Mexico desert.  “Here it was, hot and bumpy, and that’s what we were serving for lunch—It looked like it had already been eaten.” She said she just couldn’t bear to serve it.  A lot of times over the desert passengers chose not to eat.
America’s entrance in to World War II greatly changed the airline industry. The mood was somber and serious, and everyone felt a great sense of duty.   Margaret remembers full fare passengers being bumped for military personnel, often at the last minute.  She also remembers flying a plane load of signal corps recruits, on an early morning flight from Ft. Worth’s Meacham Field, with all the window shades drawn. The soldiers had started in New York and  were not to know their destination. She thought they all looked extremely young and many were airsick.  When they made a fuel stop in Tucson, and the airplane door was opened for a few minutes, one of the young soldiers excitedly realized he was in his home town, and announced to the group, “Hey, I went to high school here.”  He was quickly reprimanded by a very stern sergeant, and hustled back to his seat.
Margaret had transferred to American’s Ft. Worth base by then, to get out of the cold. She soon met and began dating a first officer named Dick Jacobson.   Their relationship grew, and one day Margaret was called in to the flight administration office and asked for her resignation. She was shocked, and when she asked why, was told that one of the secretaries had seen a notice in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. Turns out that First Officer Jacobson had applied for a marriage license, and his intended was Margaret Jane Davis. (He had not yet proposed.) Stewardesses were not allowed to be married,  so Margaret did resign and she and Dick were married in June, 1942.  At the time many other R.N. stewardesses resigned to join the military as there was a great need for nurses.  This was when American and other U.S. carriers dropped the requirement that stewardesses had to be registered nurses.

Their first base as a married couple was
Fort Worth and then El Paso, where Dick was one of the first pilots to fly American’s new route to Mexico City.  There was a brief time in Burbank and then back to Fort Worth, where their son Steve was born.  Dick then transferred to Nashville, where daughter Mary Clare was born five years later.  Margaret continued her nursing education while her children were growing up, earning a Ph.D. from Peabody College in Nashville.  She also taught at Vanderbilt while finishing her Ph.D.  Dick transferred to San Francisco and Margaret and Mary Clare joined him there. Steve was by then beginning his service in the U.S. Navy.  Margaret continued her nursing career, serving on the faculty at Stanford and the University of California at San Francisco and later was recruited to start the graduate program in nursing at San Jose State University. Both children followed in their parent’s footsteps, with Mary Clare earning her M.S. in nursing and Steve becoming an American Airlines and Flagship Detroit Captain.  Steve’s initial interest in the Flagship Detroit was sparked by his father’s logbook, which showed that Dick had flown NC17334, occasionally with Margaret as stewardess.
Margaret lives in Los Altos, California, near her daughter, son in law, and two grandsons.  She has a lively wit and it is a privilege to be around her and hear her fascinating stories about an exciting chapter in the history of American aviation.

Saturday, November 16

Let Them Eat Cake

Dirty Flight Suit Party Friday Night

It was a celebratory weekend in Stuart, Florida for the last air show of 2013.  This  was one of the largest gatherings of Flagship crew members in recent times, so it was a wonderful reunion. Lots of good food, fabulous hospitality from Tony and Judy De Santis, a wedding AND birthday party...the fun never stopped.

A Toast to the Newlyweds
The star of the show, the Flagship Detroit herself, arrived in Stuart on Thursday from Covington, GA, piloted by Dave Buffington, Zane Lemon, and John Thatcher.  She was met by Bob Gross, Jim Skelly, and the Stuart crew..Dennis Pugsley, Nigel Jardine and Bill and Michelle Brooks. She was cleaned, spiffed and readied. The following day more crew arrived, just in time for the much anticipated annual "dirty flight suit" party sponsored by the Stuart air show. Tom and  Marti Taff flew in from Dallas, and were hosted by Gary and Donna Noviski.  Steve Jacobson and Peggy Fairchild drove up from Jupiter, and George Dennis flew down from Nashville. The only disappointment was that some of the flagship wives, notably Deanna Lemon, Lynn Buffington, Audrey Thatcher, Evelyn Skelly, and Kay Dennis were not with us due to prior commitments and non-rev constraints.   They were missed.  The party was great, as always, and the fireworks and night air show were spectacular.

Saturday was very bright and sunny, with an enthusiastic crowd all day.  Judy De Santis and Dick Grady entertained with their medley of big band favorites, and again the Flagship earned many new friends.  With so many crew members on hand, everyone had time to enjoy the air show. Saturday evening, Tony and Judy De Santis hosted their annual show party at their gorgeous Palm City home.  This year, a very special highlight was a champagne toast and beautiful surprise cake honoring Scott Main and his bride Gladys, along with a serenade from Judy and Dick; their own rendition of "I Love You Truly". There was hardly a dry eye.

On Sunday, we had Captain Tony, looking very dapper in his uniform, and three stewardesses; Gladys and Peggy wore the "summer brown" uniform and Alyce Grady looked elegant in her blue uniform.  Nationally known air show performer, Julie Clark visited the flagship on Sunday afternoon.  Zane Lemon gave her a tour and she spent about 30 minutes sitting in the right seat.  Since she holds a DC-3 type rating, the hope is that she will join our crew on a couple of legs in the not too distant future.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that President Eisenhower also stopped by.
Happy Birthday, Marti!

  With so many hands on deck, "taking down the show" was a breeze, and we were all packed up and ready to go just after 5 p.m.  The final event was a wonderful farewell gathering at Rancho Chico Mexican Restaurant in Stuart, where many toasts were offered and stories told.  And speaking of cake, there was another reason to enjoy one as Marti Taff was celebrating her birthday the next day. 

It was a perfect way to end the air show season. We have one more event with the Polar Express, an organization that treats the children of fallen or wounded soldiers, in Nashville on Dec. 12.  Then the Flagship Detroit will go to winter quarters in Tulsa to be cared for by Jim Gentry and company.

(written by Peggy Fairchild)

Friday, October 18

How We Do It Part Three

The air show is over, but there is still a lot to accomplish in the week to come. Blake Butler is here to prepare for and take his oral exam and check ride for his DC-3 type rating on Wednesday. Dave Buffington is testing for his Certified Flight Instructor rating that same day. Gene will teach ground school on Thursday to meet requirements for recurrent training and on Friday we will travel to Augusta for the show there.
Blake and Gene after successful checkride.
On Monday, October 14, Gene leaves early to take Rick Smail to the Atlanta airport for his trip back home. Sheryl takes Dave, Blake, Gladys and Scott to Covington airport. Scott and Gladys are returning to Ft. Lauderdale. Dave and Blake will pre-flight the airplane and training will start when Gene returns.
Monday and Tuesday are long days in the air followed by late nights going over material for the oral exam. It is hard work. Blake is a good student, but very nervous, as all our candidates for Captain before him have been.
Late Tuesday afternoon the word comes in that the Augusta show has been canceled. Due to the government shut down, they have failed to receive their paperwork from the FAA sanctioning the show. This is a deflating moment for everyone. Because the plane is already in position close by, that show would have been almost pure profit for the Flagship.
On Wednesday about 7AM, Gene, Dave and Blake left to meet the examiner for the check ride. They expected to return around 4PM or so. Sheryl and Gene had invited everyone to their house for dinner that night. Tony and Judy had flown in from Hilton Head where they spent a few days and Steve Jacobson had come from Ft. Worth. We were also being joined by our newest pilot member, Allen Murray. Just before four, Steve and Sheryl went to the airport with a cooler of beer for the road weary crew. Shortly after arriving, Sheryl received a text from Blake that he had passed his exam but Dave's had not yet started.  Leaving the cooler in Gene's truck, Sheryl and Steve returned to her house. It was 7:30 PM when the fliers finally returned. What an ordeal!!
Corks popped, toasts were made, dinner served.  The wine flowed along with the never ending flying stories accompanied by uproarious laughter. Folks started dropping out to return to hotels. However, two of the crew who shall remain unnamed stayed up until 3AM still celebrating. They heartily regretted it next morning.
Dave, Blake and Gene after long day testing.
Thursday was a little later start as ground school had been scheduled for mid day to allow for any folks who might fly in that morning. It was another long day as they were at it until well after 6PM and then a three hour dinner.  Meanwhile, Sheryl and Judy had a Ladies Day Out touring the historic towns of Covington and Madison and meeting Carol Jones for lunch at the Madison Tea Room. Many thanks to Carol for suggesting that delightful place! It was no surprise that everyone turned in early that night.
Friday morning, Steve and Dave left for the Atlanta airport. Gene and Blake left for the Covington airport, where Blake would fly his Bonanza home and Gene would start training Allen. Judy and Tony will stay in Covington until Sunday visiting friends and sight seeing.
Hopefully these last three posts show that although the crew of the Flagship love what they do, the times spent together with the airplane are long hours and hard work.

The next gig is Stuart Air Show in Florida the first weekend in November. This is always fun and well attended.

How We Do It Part Two

Dan's SNJ with Flagship in Rome, GA

On Saturday morning four pilots left early to attend the pilot briefing where the Air Boss tells them how the flying part of the show will work and all the rules and regs. The remaining crew came soon after to set up for showtime. The crew was met by two very eager ROTC members, juniors at the local high school, who helped us unload the airplane and set up the tent. There is Judy's sound equipment plus the tent, table, set up box and merchandise to deal with. Both Sheryl and Gladys are wearing stewardess uniforms and so are somewhat limited in their participation, but they pitch in anyway. There is a lot to do in a short time.
Gladys Main with Ladies for Liberty
Our pilots returned just as the crowd was starting to gather and we take our places. Judy is near the tail singing songs from the 30's and 40's, telling the history of the plane and encouraging people to join the foundation. Gladys is inside the door of the airplane and one or two pilots are stationed inside the cockpit. Sheryl is usually at the table and another person is at the bottom of the stairs directing traffic into the plane and chatting with our visitors. The remaining people patrol the perimeter talking to the passers by and protecting the flight surfaces from damage. We all rotate positions during the day and take turns going to lunch.
Today we have visitors, Jim and Carol Jones flew their Swift up from Madison and are parked nearby. I have never seen an air show where they actually taxi aircraft through the crowds to park (they do have folks in golf carts clearing the way). Gene Christian's daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Taylor Martin, drove from Dawsonville. Flagship pilot, Dan Gabel and his friend, Norm flew Dan's SNJ over from Hunstville, AL and are parked behind us on the grass.
There was one unsettling incident when Blake noticed two children playing merrily in the open cockpit of Jim's plane while their grandmother took pictures. This is an unbelievable breach of protocol and there were harsh word directed at the adult who should have been in charge. After all, would one blithely enter another person's automobile?
Sky Typers
The air show is a good one in spite of the fact that military participation was squelched by the sequester. There is a private jet precision team, some comic routines, and other formation fliers. But the one that was new to me was the sky typers. Sort of like sky writing but they let out puffs of smoke that form letters that look like typewiter print (see photo). The Ladies for Libery singers came by to view the plane and Judy invited them to sing a few songs for us, which they did.
The big surprise is that we sold a flight, which happened at 1PM in the middle of the show. We parked in a slightly different position when we returned and by then the crowd was waning so the afternoon was a little lower pressure.
Saturday evening there is another participant party and we are told it starts immediately after the show. Our information is wrong....as it is after six when food and beverage is offered. But soon we were are enjoying a nice barbeque dinner as the Ladies for Liberty entertain. Following was a rather extended awards ceremony where the performers and organizers congratulated one another. A band was scheduled after that, but our crew headed to the hotel for some rest for the day ahead.
Rick Smail having a good time in left seat.
Sunday was a smaller crowd that peaked later as is to be expected. The crew is a bit slower moving as the fatigue is starting to build up. We have arrived with luggage as we are leaving right after the show. It was another perfect fall day. The gas truck is to show up at 4PM with our allotment of free gas and then we will leave as soon after the show ends at 5 as is feasible. Well, like in a lot of plans with this business, plans do not always work. It is almost 6 when the gas truck comes. The crowd and most of the participants and vendors have packed up and left. It was pretty close to sun down when we finally left, but we enjoyed a flight home in semi darkness, watching the lights below. Putting the plane up, stowing luggage and piling seven into Gene's Suburban takes time and sometime after 8, we are at IHOP for supper. Looking around the table everyone looks very tired. Then we discover that one suitcase is missing. So some return to the airport to pull the props through to prevent a hydraulic lock and retrieve the suitcase. It is 10PM before everyone is back where they are spending the night.

Tuesday, October 15

How we do it

Gladys doing media flight
A lot of coordination and attention to detail goes into getting the Flagship to an air show.  Our next gig  is Wings Over North Georgia in Rome on October 12-13,less than an hour's flight from Covington where the plane has been for the past two months.  It has been cleaned and polished and inspected. Some small repairs have been accomplished.  A whole bunch of calculations have been done about fuel load as we need to arrive with enough capacity to accept the free fuel we get for coming, but with enough fuel for safety.
We are to leave mid day on Thursday. Rick Smail from Utah and Dave Buffington from Dallas have arrived the day before. As the plane is being unlocked at 9 AM, Blake Butler arrives from Tennessee in his Vee Tail Bonanza, buoyed by a wonderful tail wind. Along with instructor, Gene Christian, the men are to spend the morning practicing take offs and landings. Each pilot has to have three in the last ninety days to be current. Scott and Gladys Main are to arrive around noon in their newly purchased Cessna 150 from Ft. Lauderdale. It is good that we live in the era of cell phones as we get word that the Mains are delayed and will arrive at 1 PM,  later amended to 2 PM and finally 3PM.  At long last they arrive about 3:30, tired out from fighting  the same wind that got Blake to us so quickly...for them is was a head wind. Gladys said they watched the cars on the interstate below going faster than they were.
Newlyweds Gladys and Scott Main
No worries though,  Scott did his three take offs and landing and we headed off for Rome.Upon arrival, several air show officials were gathered  to introduce themselves and brief us on logistics of the show. One fellow on a golf cart offered us cold water which we were eager for. We were parked  off to one side and the main part of the show looked very far away, but we are assured the crowds will find us.
Our attentive hosts whisk two of the crew off to collect our two vans and information packets and soon we are off to the hotel. That night we all piled into one van and had dinner at a local brewpub.Patronizing the local eateries is on thing we like to do.
Friday morning we are out fairly early to meet the press at 10 and do a media flight. Gladys, an American Airlines flight attendant, is wearing her vintage stewardess uniform to serve on that flight.  We spend our spare time cleaning the plane inside and out and organizing our inventory. It is after 11 when they do show up and by that time Judy and Tony DeSantis have arrived in their Cirrus from Palm City, Florida. Tony served as our media spokesperson. There are only about 6 of them and we are unsure who they represent,  but they are taken for a flight. Upon return, we are able to  move our plane closer to the action and Tony's away into a hanger for protection. Then we start looking for food, although the show is not open, some of the food vendors are to serve the workers. We make a bee line for Triple D BBQ, housed a pink air stream trailer for the best lunch many have had in a while. There is also a BBQ cook off going on as part of the show.  After lunch, one carload of people then returns to the hotel and the other one does not arrive until almost dinner time.
Judy, Gladys, Blake in dinner golf cart seat
Before leaving for dinner, we paused in the lobby for a champagne reception to honor the recent marriage of Scott and Gladys. Word is that Gladys had the option of an engagement ring or the Cessna and took the latter as she is learning to fly and it is a good trainer. The show is hosting
a welcome party for participants that night, held outside. The weather is cool and thankfully dry. They have a whole pig and a low country boil. The former seemed a bit under cooked so most of us opted for the latter. The only real hang up was there were four tables set up for about seventy five people who were there and only two of them had seating. Luckily there was a row of golf carts off to one side and those became our dinner seating for the evening.
The Ladies for Liberty, a period trio, who look and sound a lot like the Andrews Sisters (if you are not at least 50, Google them) performed as well as a band.
At these events our pilots love to talk to the other pilot performers about what they fly and how they do what they do.

Saturday, September 21

In Memoriam Ruth Ann Drake

On Thursday last four couples from the Flagship Detroit family gathered in Murray, KY in support of our brother, Lewis Drake, who had lost his beloved wife, Ann. Also in attendance was a group of five from Houma, Louisiana representing a company Lewis had flown with there. Many of the group had not met Ann, but they knew the kind of person Lewis is and how much love he had for Ann and she for him.
Lewis came to the Flagship Foundation when he happened to land his plane in Shelbyville, TN to refuel when the Flagship was there. He found out about it, talked to George, flew home to Murray to get his check book and flew back to join as a pilot member. And what a member he became! Being mechanically gifted, he could often be found with head and shoulders stuck up in the underside of one part or another of the plane. I personally witnessed him working one day in Ft. Worth in a hanger where the temperature outside was 108 and inside much higher.
I was fortunate enough to have met Ann and stayed at their home a few times. She was a petite blond dynamo who managed two businesses, planted, tended and put up the produce from a large garden and mothered an assortment of grandchildren and their friends who passed through their home. She kept the home fires burning so that Lewis could be free to pursue his love of flying. She was a do-er and a giver and the crowds at the visitation and the memorial service were a testament to how much she and Lewis meant to the community. Her light was extinguished all too soon.
While this was not a happy time to see Lewis again, it was a comfort to all of us to see him surrounded by his large and loving family and a host of friends. We hope to have him back flying with us soon.

Thursday, September 12

Stearman Fly In

Marilyn Stearman Carr
Traveling in the Flagship Detroit is a huge blast! This trip we have five pilots and two passengers. So for the most part Peggy and I have the whole back of the plane to ourselves. We talk, read, snack. Walk around, go to the cockpit to see what is to see. Look out the windows, where everything on the ground is readily visible at this altitude.
Our rooms are in Monmouth, Il, about 15 miles away and all one sees everywhere is cornfields. They even extend to just beyond the wingtips next to the runway. The corn is rather dry as they have not had rain in over a month.(And there are some beans too, but I only saw them from the air).  In Monmouth there were two events of note going on. One was a demolition derby that Rick and Zane attended one evening and the other was the Prime Beef Festival which was like a county fair. We never quite got to that. And of course there is also a gaggle of brightly painted Stearman biplanes which are often swooping by overhead in groups of four.  I am told that over 90 attended the event.
At Fly In breakfast
The first night, Zane made a speech at a pizza party about how one can join the foundation and ride for free, space available for the next year. He really got a lot of attention as we got many, many inquiries about this. Friday morning Peggy and I took the morning off and went into Galesburg where we learned that is was a railroad town and discovered a charming block of shops and restaurants. We had lunch at the Packing House, which was, you guessed it, a Swift meat packing plant. A lot of the original fixtures were in place including the racks the meat hung from.
The people at the Fly In were interesting and interested. Among the those who came to see the plane was the daughter of Loyd Stearman.   Saturday morning, we took almost a plane load of new members just over the state line into Iowa to a breakfast. Everyone had a wonderful time and the meal was delicious.
Happy Travelers
Zane grew up in Aleto about 40 miles from Galesburg so during the course of our visit we met a bunch of his cousins, as well as several classmates.

The weather was hot and sunny but with a breeze that sometimes became a wind so that and the lack of humidity kept us pretty comfortable if you were in the shade. Saturday night we were awakened by a lot of thunder coming from the direction of Galesburg and the next morning found there had been quite a storm in the night. Since it was not predicted, our radios were left in place and got wet so Sunday was devoted to drying the radios.
Monday morning we launched for Dulles Airport in the Washington D.C. area. By now the crew is five since Rick and David has returned home. BUT we were joined by five new members who got in the spirit by all the men wearing our orange tees and the women wearing the blue ones. They are: Tom and Anne Golden, Nick and Judy Sagar and Ed Reinholtz. Nick and Ed are pilots and got a little stick time during the journey. Tom and Anne spend half the year in Ft. Myers, FL and say they will look us up this winter.

Nancy Warren
We stopped in Columbus, IN for lunch were we were hosted by Nancy Warren. Nancy is a pilot and in her mid 80's. She was once a "freight dog" in DC3s for about four years and the 3 remains dear to her heart. She had met the Flagship here once before but with a different crew. Nancy recently made the news when she gifted her Cherokee to two college students, one of whom joined us for lunch. She said it was a no brainer. Now she has a plane and a pilot at her beck and call.
We arrived at Dulles where it was a breezy 72 degrees but that was a teaser as the weather quickly returned to scorching the next day.

Wednesday, September 4

On to Galesburg

In the course of our travels we often meet people who fall in love with and are willing to be of service to the Flagship as we have. One was the guy in Montana who spent three days cleaning the plane with alcohol, nose to tail while the crew sat in chairs in the shade. Now we have mechanic Mitch Mashburn and his two assistants, Greg Mainning and Jason Carrig, who volunteered to do the 30 day inspection at no charge to the group. Gene said it was one of the most thorough he has ever seen.  Thanks, guys, you are helping to keep this old bird in the air!!
Tomorrow, Sept. 5th, we launch early for Galesburg, IL for the Stearman Fly In. Captains Rick Smail, and David Gorrell have come from Park City, UT. Captains Zane Lemon and Steve Jacobson have come from Dallas-Fort Worth. Stewardess Peggy Fairchild has come from Jupiter, FL. They will be joined by Captain Gene Christian and Stewardess Sheryl Christian. See you there!