Tuesday, June 4

Livin' on Tulsa Time

With the winter season in Florida completed, Dave Buffington, John Thatcher and Tom Taff flew to South Florida in late April where they were hosted overnight by Bob Gross. The next day Peggy Fairchild ferried them to Stuart Airport to rendezvous with the Flagship for the flight to Tulsa where she was to be the main attraction at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum's annual fundraiser. Zane Lemon joined the crew in Tulsa.
Some of you who follow this blog may not know that there is a whole other group of dedicated Flagship fans in Tulsa. It is the site of a major maintenance facility for American and these folks had a lot to do with the original renovation of the plane. She is as close to their hearts as she is to the crew who fly with her.
During the month of May, this group of volunteers washed and polished the Flagship Detroit until she looked like her 1937 self. See the photo above. The mechanics went over her from nose to tail, finding and fixing things as they went along. Those who wanted to were treated to flights either in April or last weekend.
In recognition: Those who washed the plane were Jean Paul Malveaux, Brian Hendricks, Josh Mattingly, Drew Hockenson, Robert Mayfield, James Orr, Mark Thompson, Deon Gresham and  Barbara Schirmer. The buffers were Mark Thompson, Daniel Trujillo, Keith Magyar, Monty Mcelhaney, Matt Bussey, Robert Jennings, Brad Winsby, Matt McDaniels, Grant Am
mons, William Atkins, Joel Nelson and Jeff Howell. Mechanics were: Bill Brown, Ben Jarvis, Gonzo Miller, Spencer Slater, Henry Parish, Ken Morain, Steve Malloy, Jim Pidlychak, Larry Machal, Danny Caughman, Dale Christen, Devin Hassell, Carl Boggs, Larry Sailing, Dan Mott, Tracy Mitchum, Charles Carswell, Jim Gentry, Bob Lee, Dan Mott and Tracy Mitchum. I wish you Tulsa folks could be with us and see the reactions of the crowds when we take the Flagship on the road.  Those of us who fly with her, give you, the unsung heros, a salute and our gratitude.The second photo shows some of these guys after a flight.
On Friday, May 31, Steve Jacobson, Peggy Fairchild and Gene Christian drove from Fort Worth to Tulsa where they were joined by Tom Taff and David Gorrell. Driving gave them a vehicle to use while they were there as well as a way to accomplish the next phase of the journey. That afternoon they did recurrent training, then took a load of volunteers for a flight. On Saturday there was another volunteer flight and a membership flight.
Late Saturday afternoon Captains Taff and Jacobson with Stewardess Fairchild on board took off bound for Mena, Arkansas where the Flagship was scheduled to have her nails done (paint touch up). Mena is a nice little town near the Oklahoma border but you can neither get a rental car nor a beer there.  This is where the car came in handy. Gene Christian drove from Tulsa to Mena to rescue the stranded and thirsty crew. From there they made a late night arrival in Texarkana and on back to Dallas on Sunday.
The Flagship Detroit will appear at the Dayton Air Show, the weekend of the 21st of June. Come see our newly spiffed plane. 

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