Tuesday, September 18

Last leg of the Western Swing

Paul working with lots of help.
David Gorrell, Gene Christian and Sheryl Christian are now the lone remainders of a crew that once numbered thirteen. The road truly seems to go on forever though we are nearing the end of the trek. As is often the case when dealing with older machinery, the acquiring and installing the new part took longer than expected with the result that we were not able to do a Heritage Flight in Aurora. However, Gene and David both learned a lot from the people at Aerometal and from looking at the other DC-3s and studying their various adaptations. Paul and his people were very nice and accommodating to us. And they seemed genuinely impressed with our airplane in spite of the lovely ones parked on their ramp.
Brine shrimp area of Salt Lake
The crew blasted out of Aurora on Thursday headed for Salt Lake City. The terrain again soon became desert like again. Flying over the great salt lake, David pointed out a pink area where brine shrimp are cultivated for fish food. We also went over Antelope Island, a buffalo refuge, but did not see any. At Tac Air in SLC, we were greeted by Rick Smail and Tom Taff, our relief pilots for the next leg. The people at Tac Air were very helpful in getting us settled in. We gave tours to quite a few people including the airport police crew.
Soon we were off to Park City, where Jane Gorrell had prepared an excellent feast for the weary travelers. She had also embroidered tags for the new merchandise satchels and made name plates for the cockpit door. Tom stayed with the Gorrells and the Christians stayed with the Smails.
Mormon Temple
Early Friday morning we emerged to discover frost. Winter is night, time to head for home. Tom, Rick, Sheryl and Gene headed out on a long journey to Ft. Worth. Rick was an excellent tour guide on the way and gave us an aerial tour of Arches National Park, after which we flew along the Colorado River for aways. It was like being in an IMAX movie.
We stopped at Double Eagle Airport near Albuquerque for a break and to get lunch. There we were surprised to see a gull winged Stinson painted in American Airlines decor land just after us and park next to us. People on the ground thought it was planned, but it was a complete coincidence. The Army was there doing helicopter training and we showed the plane to about forty young men and women before breaking for  a really good lunch at the airport cafe. Then it was back to the skies as we had a long way to go. The last few hours we had cloud cover and it looked quite gloomy. We arrived at Alliance Field around 7 PM and were greeted by Jeff Selby and Marti Taff. This is likely to be our last landing here as American is closing this facility at the end of this year. The Flagship is looking for a new home.
This is the end of the 26 day Western Swing. Jeff took Rick to DFW to catch a plane home and the Christians enjoyed the Taff's hospitality that night before heading back to Georgia on Sunday. It was a great trip.

The next gig is for the Flagship to head east in a week or so for appearances in TN, GA and Florida. Keep an eye on the website to see what we are up to next.

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