Thursday, August 21

The Rest of the Story

Alan Murray, Zane Lemon, Jim Skelly
Low ceilings kept us in Chicago until almost noon after which we went to Iowa City. Zane had heard that we might get good support there for a ride. We flew above clouds for most of the way but the weather cleared later in the day. As we taxied in we noticed professional cameras filming our arrival and that is always a good sign.
We pulled up and opened the door and the first thing I heard was a voice directed at the cockpit from outside saying, "Captain Gene, how about posing for a photo?" My mind was in a state of confusion, who would know Gene's name? Then I saw the man, tall, good looking guy.....wearing a Flagship tee shirt. OK, who is this person?? Then I saw her: the female co-pilot from the previous day who was at the table when the twenty dollar bill went missing. This is where she lives and this is her husband in the shirt she bought him in Chicago. Talk about coincidence. And it does not end there. We find they are Jenny and Bruce Duling. Bruce learned to fly DC-3s at Aviation Academy in Griffin, GA where Gene had instructed years before. AND Bruce had flown down in Louisiana in the oil spill dispersion effort and knew the three Flagship pilots who also worked in that effort. Talk about small worlds!! Bruce and Jenny stayed with us for several hours.   Bruce even asked Gene to tell some DC-3 stories. He probably regretted that! They took many wonderful photos, including those in this post and later brought them to us on a thumb drive. Jenny is a former Navy pilot. They bought a former Catholic School in nearby Riverside and are renovating it for their residence plus some rental units.
Bruce and Jenny Duling
The two local Iowa City television stations filmed and interviewed us and ran segments on their evening news. The Cedar Rapids Gazette stayed with us for a couple of hours and ran a comprehensive article the next morning with photos. We thank these people for helping us promote the Flagship.
We also want to thank airport manager, Mike Tharp and his staff, who made us right at home for three days. They were excited that we were there and were so helpful to us. Deb even made zucchini bread for us.
Gene Christian
After struggling all day Tuesday to gather our minimum 11 people for a membership ride, around 3PM the skies opened up and it started raining new members. We ended up with 19.  Folks were also very generous with their donations to our cause. Thank you, Iowa City!!
Tuesday night Bruce and Jenny, plus Bruce's charming mother joined us for dinner and we got to hear Bruce's flying stories. He has has a lot of adventures for someone so young.
Our publicity had stated that we would leave Wednesday morning but we decided to stay another day. We still had a pretty steady stream of visitors and again booked a membership ride for 11. Bruce and Jenny again joined us for dinner with much frivolity....the guys have new victims to regale with their flying stories instead of just to each other. We will leave for Greeley CO on Thursday morning with Bruce and another new member on board. Lunch stop in Grand Isle Nebraska.

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