Tuesday, December 14

Air Adventure Oshkosh, WI

This was the event we had all been waiting for since this year is the 75th Anniversary of the Douglas DC-3. We were anticipating a wonderful gathering, perhaps the largest gathering of the Douglas DC-3 since the 1940's. (D-Day, maybe??) As it turned out there were about 37 of them in attendance.

Torrential rains had fallen and turned the parking areas into seas of mud. The organizers were forced to find parking spaces for many planes at alternate locations until the ground dried some. As it was, the Flagship was delayed just one day since we were given a place of honor to park in Aeroshell Center along with a Buffalo Airways DC-3. The plane left from Dayton on Saturday for Wittman Field with George Dennis, Fred Gorrell, Trippe Drake and his grandson, Jacob, Dave Buffington and his nephew, Chris, and John Thatcher. The route went over Lake Michigan and Wisconsin farmlands, with the descent beginning over Lake Winnegago.

After being cleared to land, we were told to go around as a WWII fighter ahead of us could not clear the runway. At the time, we were a bit troubled with wasting the fuel required for another approach and landing, but it was a blessing in disguise for as we did the fly-by, all the show attendees got a great look at the airplane and the show announcer did an excellent job of describing the Flagship and the history of American Airlines. Jane and David Gorrell, Tony and Jeff DiSantis, Jeff Selby, John Tegtmeier, Steve Jacobson, Peggy Fairchild, Larry Jamison and Zane Lemon all witnessed this nice fly-by.
Because of the length of this show, we broke down into work crews with some opening and some closing, leaving free time for exploring other parts of the show. Lewis reports that his favorite airplane, other than the Flagship, of course, was the Esther Mae. She is one of the younger DC-3s flying, having been built under an Air Force contract at the very end of the war. She was converted at the factory into a corporate aircraft and has been her whole career. Although the interior was not open for tours her crew let our crew aboard. The interior was in 1930's Art Deco style with rich earthtones and lovely wood. The crew was dressed in sharp period uniforms. Esther Mae, the grandmother of the owner, was there with other family members.

The Flagship spent one day nose to nose with an American Airlines 737, though we were looking down on them (see photo). Trippe and David Gorrell somehow hooked up with the people at Lightspeed and managed to pull off a "trade" of several headsets complete with blue tooth in exchange for hats and tee shirts. Pretty slick, guys!! And thanks also to Lightspeed!

Les Abend did a great job of getting hospitality lunch passes for the crew each day at the Flying Magazine Hospitality Center. Each night the crew met up for an evening meal at a residence David Gorrell had secured for many of the volunteers to stay. It was fun to talk about the day's adventures and plan for the next day.

The Air Adventure folks did a super job moving and parking airplanes even with the challenge of that unwelcome 8 inches of rain just prior to the show. Tired, but happy and without too much delay, we flew back to Shelbyville after the show.

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