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July 1, 2013

The Return of Diamond Lil

July 2013


B-29/B-24 Squadron Officer & Staff Listing Position

Name

Telephone

E-mail

Squadron Leader

Neils Agather

817-946-9950

vnagather@agathertx.com

Executive Officer

Tom Travis

972-241-8102

TomTravis@aol.com

Adjutant & Personnel Officer

Debbie Travis King

469-688-1709

Squadadjutant@gmail.com

Crew Chief

Rick Garvis

972-380-8800

rgarvis@cafhq.org

Finance Officer

Gerald Oliver

312-953-0357

goliver@behringerharvard.com

Maintenance Officer

Don Obreiter

580-471-3048

obreiter@cableone.net

Operations Officer & B-29 Tour Coordinator

David Oliver

630-853-9624

B29ops@gmail.com

Public Information Officer

Kim Pardon

432-413-4100

kmpardon@yahoo.com

Ride Captain

Jon Oliver

312-925-6184

jake8350@gmail.com

Safety & Training Officer B-29 Scheduling Officer

John Flynn

717-632-4497

jnaflynn@embarqmail.com

B-24 Scheduling Officer

Chuck Burton

972-243-1316

charlesdburton@msn.com

Facility Manager

Jim Neill

972-306-1051

jakat2@verizon.net

Appearance Captain

Henry Bordelon

972-406-0644

pixiee@sbcglobal.net

Docent Emeritus

Jack Bradshaw

214-987-1963

jackbradshaw@sbcglobal.net

Webmaster

Rick Greer

The Flyer Editor

Konley Kelley

rgreer4@gmail.com

214-995-5184

konartist@verizon.net

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Crew for Diamond Lil Maintenance Flight, July 1, 2013

In this Issue:

• Summer and Fall Tour Schedule • Officer Reports • “Keep FIFI Flying” Fundraiser & Website • Diamond Lil B-24 Go Team Report • “Keep Diamond Lil Flying” Fundraiser & Website • Diamond Lil Maintenance & Training Flights – Photo Collage • Get Ready for Oshkosh! • Member News • Special Feature “Joe Whitt, Pearl Harbor Survivor” • Special Feature “Lessons Learned” by Sarah Wilson • Editor’s Corner • Squadron Contact Information

Special Feature “Lessons Learned” Learned” by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson’s Stearman Speedmail

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Summer Tour A Birmingham, AL Atlanta, GA Charlotte, NC Manassas, VA Baltimore, MD Reading, PA Pittsburgh, PA Akron, OH Dayton, OH Cincinnati, OH Nashville, TN

May 16 – 19 May 20 – 22 May 23 – 27 May 29 – June 2 June 3 – 5 June 6 – 9 June 12 – 16 June 17 – 19 June 20 – 23 June 26 – 30 July 2 – 7

Maintenance Break

July 8 – 18

B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / SBD / PT-26 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / SBD / PT-26 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / BT-13 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 Airshow B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 Airshow B-29 / B-25 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / T-28 B-29 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 Airshow

Summer Tour B Carbondale, IL Rockford, IL Madison, WI Oshkosh, WI Duluth, MN Fargo, ND Sioux Falls, SD Denver, CO Colorado Springs, CO Kansas City, MO

July 19 – 21 July 22 – 24 July 25 – 28 July 29 – Aug 4 Aug 5 – 7 Aug 8 – 11 Aug 12 - 14 Aug 16 – 18 Aug 19 – 21 Aug 23 - 25

B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman / EAA B-17 B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6/ Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 / Stearman

Lancaster, TX Fayetteville, AR

Aug 31 Sept 19 – 22

B-24 “Warbirds on Parade”

Dallas, TX Midland, TX Houston, TX

Oct 3 – 6 Oct 11 – 13 Oct 25 – 27

Fall Events B-29 / B-24 / B-25 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 Bikers, Blues, BarBQ and Bombers B-29 / B-24 / B-17 / B-25 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 + many more B-29 / B-24 / CAF fleet of aircraft: CAF AirSho B-29 / B-24 / P-51 / C-45 / T-6 Airshow

Red/Bold indicates both bombers appearing together

Please check www.AirPowerTour.org for the latest schedule

Rocky’s new trailer wrap for the AirPower History Tour

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Squadron Report Diamond Lil is back. Last week she went out for a successful test flight and did so well some of the crew were able to get their re-currency check-outs. After being worked on for many, many months, Lil went out and flew basically flawlessly. Such is the work of our crack maintenance team and the volunteers. This week and over the weekend, in preparation for the tour, some additional cosmetic work is being done, as well as some successful work to the intercom system. Lil is ready for prime time. I have been receiving a steady stream (several per day) of emails confirming ride flights being bought. There are ride flights on FIFI, Bucket of Bolts, the T-6, and for a while now, Diamond Lil rides too. It seems the public is eager to get on her to go for a spin. I am sure she will be a big success. FIFI is back in the Addison hangar for a couple of weeks to inspect and tweak before we kick her out again for Summer Tour B. Several exciting stops are planned including, of course, Oshkosh. Our Squadron will have a large presence there, with Diamond Lil on the center square all week and FIFI arriving for the final weekend. Bucket of Bolts will be there, too. We are expecting a large turnout of Squadron members and a whole bunch of Colonels. I am sure it will be a successful, fun stop. I hope you consider coming if you have not yet planned that trip. On a separate but very important subject, the CAF move of its headquarters, I spoke in the last Flyer of the good turnout at the Bidder's Conference - 45 people, 23 communities. Your general Staff has now received a high number of very good initial proposals from many of the those 23 communities. The General Staff met last week to carefully consider each of these initial offers. The list was culled down to a workable number of the very best offers. It was a difficult task, because there is a great deal of enthusiasm in these communities and the offers were all good. Steve Brown will be announcing shortly the communities on that list. These are exciting times. I hope to see you on the road. Neils Agather Squadron Leader

Lil watching guard over FIFI

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Executive Officer Report Monday, July 1, 2013 was a milestone for Diamond Lil. With 1,000 gallons of fuel and a crew of 5 she lifted off from Addison on her test flight after over a year in the hangar. It was good to feel air under her wings again. Rick, Don and the maintenance team did a fantastic job of getting Lil airworthy again. She flies better than ever. Thursday, July 11, was another notable day. We flew again and did training for loadmasters, flight engineers and pilots. Everything went well despite the hot temperatures. We expect to leave on the summer tour next week. Tom Travis Executive Officer

Debbie Travis King and Tom Travis aboard Diamond Lil

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Training & Safety Report The first portion of our 2013 CAF AirPower History Tour is behind us. We returned safely home to Texas after the 12 stop “Summer A Tour” and we are now getting ready to take on the challenges facing us during the 10 stop “Summer B Tour”. It is good that we now have both of our squadron aircraft operational and many of us will be able to spend a lot of time on tour for the remainder of this summer. While out on tour it’s very important to protect ourselves from the heat and the sun's damaging rays. Remember to always apply and re-apply the sunscreen. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids. Keep your hat on your head and take a few breaks out of the sun to help protect yourself. Safety must be first and foremost in all that we do as we continue our squadron’s mission on the remainder of the summer tour season. John Flynn Safety Officer

REMEMBER: IF THE JOB IS DONE RIGHT, IT IS SAFE!

Photo by John Schauer

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PIO Report No rest for the weary. This two week break between Tour A and B has been non-stop work for me as I contact the press and get advertising placed for our next ten tour stops. I’m encouraged by how busy we are and by how enthused our partners and hosts are about our visits. The CAF AirPower History Tour model is one that encourages the involvement of other like organizations – especially other CAF units – but also EAA chapters and air museums. Working together with these other people is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from one another – I love it when I learn something new. Thanks to David Oliver and his connections at SIU, we have great foot soldiers out there doing advance publicity for us at our first tour stop in Marion, Illinois. Former SIU professor Charles Rodriguez and volunteer Sam Hoskins conducted the first of three scheduled radio interviews this morning in Carbondale. http://news.wsiu.org/post/warbird-salute-veterans We have already had one article in the Southern Illinoisan and I was contacted by a reporter today who is writing another in advance of the event. Two television news morning programs will be interviewing the crew Friday morning. Marion is looking good. We have equally amazing enthusiasm at Rockford and then in Madison, WI where we will be partnering with EAA for a pre-Oshkosh event that will include the B-17 Aluminum Overcast in addition to all of our airplanes. Duluth is working hard for us and so is Fargo, where we are fortunate to be working with the Fargo Air Museum. In Sioux Falls we will be celebrating the grand opening of a brand new CAF unit – The CAF Joe Foss Squadron. In Kansas City we will be joining the Heart of America Wing for their annual Air Expo. All exciting events. . . Even though my life is utter chaos most days, I love the feeling we are doing really good work out there. Summer Tour B is going to be the best tour yet. Just watch. . . See you on the road. Kim Pardon PIO Officer P.S. We also have a nice article in the current Warbird Digest entitled “FIFI and Friends” written by Steve Schapiro with photos by Scott Slocum from the West Coast tour. 8


www.keepfififlying.org

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B-24 Go Team Report Diamond Lil flies again! On July 1st, Diamond Lil took to the skies on her first flight since starting the 13-month long restoration. Instructor Pilots Bill Goeken and Tom Travis were at the controls. The landing gear and all major systems functioned well. Only a few minor items are being worked on before leaving on tour. The date for departing on tour is rapidly approaching, so it continues to be a busy time as we wrap up a number of projects. Last week, Mike McMahon, President of Squadron Signal presented us with an outstanding historical presentation of B-24's and their crews on a 15' x 3' banner. This has been an excellent cooperative effort by Konley Kelley and the B-24 Go Team. The goal is to present the history and context of the B-24 and her brave crews to the public with this large banner, eight new A-Frames and interior signage during aircraft tours. During the 4th of July Celebration of KaBoom Town in Addison (the evening of July 3rd), we conducted the first cockpit tours of 2013. This was a successful event and we continue to evaluate methods for conducting aircraft tours.

Mike McMahon and Jeff Johnston (right) w/Squadron/Signal A-Frames

We plan to leave ADS for Carbondale about July 18th, to be in position for an event over the weekend of July 20-21 at SIU in Carbondale and Marion, IL. Diamond Lil will accompany FIFI for all stops on this tour, through Aug 25th. We have officially rolled out the Keep Diamond Lil Flying campaign at www.KeepDiamondLILFlying.org. The site includes info and a great video created by Alex Mena. For the latest info on tour dates and stops, go to www.airpowersquadron.com If you scroll to the bottom of the tour schedule on the left side of the screen, you can click "See Complete Schedule" for a list of all events/calendar. Al Benzing B-24 Go Team

Interior signs: Waist gunner, Tunnel gunner, Radio Operator

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www.KeepDiamondLILFlying.org.

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The Return of Maintenance Flight, July 1 Training Flight, July 11

Photos by: Leslie Garvis Al Benzing Angie Whitney

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Member News July, 2013

In June, the Squadron welcomed the following new members: Jeffrey Kay, Allen, Texas Thomas Bennett, Jupiter, Florida Greg Falk, Westminster, Maryland Jake Baldwin, Downers Grove, Illinois Kyle Householder, Sikeston, Missouri Michael Dickert, Gainesville, Florida Michael Little, Sewell, New Jersey Bob Culmer, Dallas, Texas Michael Schmidt, Plano, Texas

Squadron Appearance Captain, Henry Bordelon, is always looking for help keeping Lil and FIFI clean, shiny and ready for tour.

I'm very happy to report that I'm meeting people in the hangar that I've just added to the roster. This means that we have new, enthusiastic members who have jumped in and rolled up their sleeves right away. A big thanks to everyone within the Squadron and at our hangar responsible for welcoming them and helping them find a place to volunteer! If you have any membership questions, please feel free to contact me at: squadadjutant@gmail.com Dues and new member applications can be mailed to: Debbie King 13562 Braemar Drive Dallas, Texas 75234

B29/B24 Squadron Adjutant 469-688-1709

Squadron Monthly Meeting July 20, 2013 3 p.m. @ the Addison Hangar Squadron Monthly Meeting August 17, 2013 3 p.m. @ the Addison Hangar

B-29 / B-24 Squadron PX http://www.b24b29px.org/ Find us on 14


Special Feature Joe Whitt, Pearl Harbor Survivor By Konley Kelley with special thanks to Angie Whitney I first learned about Joe Whitt from his niece, Cheryl Rios. Cheryl contacted me after seeing my artwork of the USS San Francisco, CA-38 on the USS San Francisco Memorial website. Cheryl asked me for a print to give to her uncle, Joe Whitt, who was a sailor on the USS San Francisco and also survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack and veteran of numerous naval campaigns in the Pacific. In fact, Joe can claim he heard the first shot of WWII at Pearl Harbor and the last shot of WWII at Okinawa. As luck would have it, FIFI was going to be at Lunken Field in Cincinnati on June 29, very close to Joe’s home. Joe and his wife, Judy came to see FIFI. Here is little bit about Joe’s amazing life and service to our country.

Joe Whitt in FIFI’s cockpit

Joe was born in Kentucky on September 29, 1923. At age five, he and his family moved to Ohio where he has remained his whole life. At 17, his Father agreed to let him join the Navy on the condition he didn’t come back with any tattoos (Joe kept that promise). After basic training at Great Lakes IL,

Joe was assigned to the heavy cruiser, USS San Francisco CA-38. There he manned the #1 gun turret. The “Frisco” was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. Joe and his crewmates broke the lock on the armory and went on deck to fire on the attacking aircraft. He witnessed the Oklahoma capsize and many other horrors of that fateful morning. Nearly a year later, the Frisco shelled the Japanese positions on Guadalcanal in support of the Marine landings to take the island. Joe Whitt in Honolulu, 1941

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During the Guadalcanal operation, he received training as a Radar Operator but a “voice” told him to stay with his #1 turret crew. During an air attack, Frisco gunners hit a Japanese “Betty” bomber. The pilot aimed his plane at the Frisco and crashed into the Aft Control Station where Joe would have been manning the radar. 15 of his crewmates were killed and 29 were wounded. On the night of November 12th, the Frisco engaged in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. This hard fought surface battle took place in the glow of searchlights, star shells and the blasts of naval guns. The Frisco traded fire with the Japanese battleships Kirishima and Hiei. Joe’s ship took 45 direct hits resulting in loss of Admiral Callaghan, Captain Young and 75 of his shipmates with another 105 wounded. The Hiei turned away (later it was learned the Frisco dealt a fatal hit to her steering control. Navy pilots later found and sank her). Joe assisted with the wounded. The light cruiser, USS Juneau sent a boat over with medical Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, artwork by Konley Kelley personnel. Less than an hour later, the Juneau was struck by a torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine. Joe witnessed the final seconds of the Juneau as she literally blew apart in a massive explosion and sank in less than a minute. Included in the nearly 700 sailors lost on the Juneau were the five Sullivan brothers.

Shell-riddled sections of the Frisco’s bridge at the USS San Francisco Memorial at Land’s End just west of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

From Pearl Harbor to Okinawa, Joe was under fire by the Japanese approximately 65 times. He served on the Frisco until 1944. Later he was transferred to the USS Alaska, CB-1. He was honorably discharged as a Boatswain’s Mate First Class in November, 1946. 16


Upon leaving the Navy, Joe spent a year in Chicago to learn refrigerator/air conditioning. He returned to Cincinnati and was employed by the Coca-Cola Company as a refrigerator technician for the next 38 ½ years. He currently lives with his wife, Judy, in Nicholsville, OH. Joe is Ohio State Chairman for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc., the Midwest Regional Administrator for the USS San Francisco Association, and is a member of the USS Alaska Association. He is an associate member of the Leatherneck Detachment of the Marine Corps League of Cincinnati. He is an active public speaker and frequently sought out by news outlets for his perspective on Pearl Harbor. His son, Rodney Whitt and family live in Tempe, AZ where he recently retired as the Engineering Manager of the city. Joe’s daughter, Carolyn Larson, lives with her family in Cincinatti, OH. Three of Carolyn’s sons have their doctoral degree, a fact that makes Joe unbelievably proud. Joe and his wife Judy visited FIFI in Cincinnati. I have received a letter from Judy expressing her thanks for the visit. Joe’s niece, Cheryl Rios, also sent along these words, “I can never thank you and the flight crew, Angie, Paul and everyone else involved in giving my Uncle Joe such a wonderful day. We all know he is definitely well into his sunset years but his mind is extremely sharp. I am forever grateful to everyone associated with FIFI.” During the visit to see FIFI, our crewmembers, Paul Maupin and Angie Whitney, assisted Joe, who will turn 90 this year, into FIFI’s cockpit. Joe said to them, “I feel honored to be up in the cockpit. I always had great respect for the men who crewed these planes.”

Joe Whitt, 1943

Joe Whitt, 2013

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Special Feature “Lessons Learned” Lighting the way with the Jimmie Allen Stearman By Sarah “Pancho” Wilson Those of us in the aviation community forget sometimes the wonder and magic of flight. . .what it was that brought us here in the first place. The first time I met Sarah Wilson she asked me point blank, "Tell me about how you came to be in aviation. Why did you want to fly?" That question defines Sarah -- whose work in aviation defines all of us who fly. She reaches back to a time during the 1930s when aviation news was a fascinating story -- air racing, air adventures -- and ties that together to those of us here still having those adventures. I love the perpetuation of that story. . . Kim Pardon, PIO Officer CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron

At Le Bourget Field in Paris at 10:22pm on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed The Spirit of St. Louis which had carried him over 3,600 miles in 33.5 hours. The entire world cheered in unison as they saw some reflection of their hopes and themselves in this tall, soft spoken pilot, this everyman. Upon landing his small silver plane, The Spirit of St Louis was torn apart by the crowds of people on the field that night, souvenir hunters wanting a memento. Almost every ounce of fabric was peeled off, handful by handful, and carried away by the men, women, and children wanting something to take home with them, something to connect them to the possibility of what flying could bring to their lives. There was no fear in the crowd on that day of any airplane in the world, only hope. Their tearing pieces of fabric off wasn't vandalism, it was optimism. Most people only dream of what pilots have seen, the best they can do is grasp at pieces of fabric to help connect them to what we know. After Jim Busha’s article came out in Sport Aviation, I started to receive letters, pages overflowing with incredibly kind and thoughtful words. These letters came mostly from complete strangers, telling me they were a Jimmie Allen Flying Club member, or wanting to say they thought Kimball’s, restoration was a work of art, and some even shared stories of their own flying adventures. I was overwhelmed with how generous each email and letter was, and they taught me a very important lesson of how I should choose to look at my Speedmail. About a week after the article, I got an email forwarded from Jim from a well known historian, John Underwood. It was a wonderful letter, chock full of all sorts of history and it included one good to know fact about my plane, and one GREAT to know fact. The good to know fact was that a Stearman 4E had cost $16,000.00 not $1,600.00, but mine had only cost Richfield $12,500.00 because it was a Model 4C when it left the factory. Being horrible with numbers I was not surprised that I had the math all wrong when I talked with Jim Busha originally, he forgives my blonde mistakes all the time. Now the GREAT to know fact was that Charles Lindbergh had made a single solo flight in my Stearman at Burbank Airport in California on April 2, 1930 for :30 minutes. Mr. Underwood wrote that he had gleaned the actual flight records 18


from fragments of information from Lindbergh’s private papers at Yale University, while working with the Lindbergh family in the '90s, attempting to complete an accounting of all the aircraft that he had flown. Mr. Underwood explained that it was a project that Lindbergh himself had initiated, not too long before he died. Learning that Charles Lindbergh had flown my plane was like being given the biggest and best surprise present ever, but when I examined it I found a completely different gift wrapped inside John’s news. It made me realize I am part of a much bigger community then my happy band of barnstormers and vintage fliers. While I love talking about tailwheel flying and flocking with them in the summers all across the country, I have a responsibility to share my plane with a bigger world if I truly care about him. More personally, I need the world to care about my plane as much as I do, so someone will love him long after I am gone. Endangered Species I read that pilots are currently less than 2% of the US population, and have been in a decline or plateau since peeking in 1980. I am a woman ATP pilot, I think that makes me about one hundredth of one percent .001% of the US population. It appears pilots are becoming a bit of an endangered species, perhaps much of our own making. Pilots make the worst pilots. This statement has to be rightly attributed to my great friend and fellow instructor pilot Chuck Gardner. Of course he uses it mostly when complaining about having to unteach nose- wheel trained pilots to fly the T-6 or P-51. He is correct, in that it is far easier to teach than to unteach anyone, and Chuck knows from experience as he spent lots of time unteaching me when I first got my PT-17. I feel we’re in a period of unteaching ourselves about what we thought aviation would be by now. I hear a lot of hopeless words pouring out of pilots sitting in the shade of my Speedmail, and I understand their fear and uncertainly of who will be the future caretakers of our planes. I know there are many bigger brains working on a solution for reforesting a world of pilots. But in my small world, one woman with one biplane, I choose to believe a solution starts with making a connection to what airplanes held to everyone in the world during the 20s and 30s, and reaching out beyond the aviation community to give it back to them. 19


Making our own History While I loved researching the history of my Speedmail’s restoration, and personally read mostly non-fiction, I am not a historian. If you are looking for more historic detail please contact Walt House at the Kansas Aviation Museum http://www.kansasaviationmuseum.org/ with questions or better yet, visit their Jimmie Allen Flying Club exhibit to learn about the history of the original Flying Club and radio series the Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen. Walt has helped so many learn about the history of their planes, I cannot speak highly enough of him, so give him a call. I believe the most important legacy of the original Flying Club was that oil companies like Richfield and Skelly saw an opportunity, albeit to sell their products, to tap into kids’ imaginations and natural curiosity of flying things and where they could take them. They built a community of loyal brand buyers by letting kids play with airplanes, dream about adventures, and listen to stories about another kid named Jimmie Allen, so that they would coax their parents into their local service station to filler-up and do some shopping. Sponsors poured in and a movie was made, SKY PARADE, and eventually those kids grew up and younger ones started watching their air adventures on TV. The point is kids want to see and hear about other kids, they relate to their peers. They don’t want to hear about us. If you believe as I do that history’s greatest value is how we use it to connect to our present and learn from that connection, then you will see the obvious flight lesson here. We need to be very cautious in repeatedly reminding kids about our history, and we would be wiser in helping and encouraging them to make their own! Lane of Light Richfield was the first oil company to establish a separate department for aviation sales and service. They were already the gasoline of power, on land and sea, and wanted to be first in the air as well. Some of the aircraft in Richfield Oil Company’s fleet were a Fokker 10, Stearman C3B, Waco 10, Stearman Model 4, and a Northrop Delta; all flown in promotion of Richfield Aviation Products and the Richfield Beacon Airway. The Beacon Airway was the brain-child of a group of Los Angeles executives who partnered with Richfield Oil to form Highway Communities, Inc., in July of 1928. The plan was to create a Lane of Light for their chain of hotels, service stations and restaurants, and it would stretch all the way from Mexico to Canada. Their marketing plan was to target automobile travelers equally with air travelers with each Beacon Oasis being strategically located near an airfield. They budgeted $10,000,000 to set up a series of dramatic 125-foot high towers, topped by high-powered aeronautical beacons running the entire length of the West Coast at fifty mile intervals. The tower’s spelled out R-I-C-H-F-I-E-L-D and were intended to be seen by all travelers navigating the night. The genius of their plan was that the beacons had a far greater market than just aviators, motorist could see the beacons for miles, drawing them to the Richfield village gas stations, restaurants called beacon cafes, a small grocery store, and some even offered a hotel. They created a village for all travelers. The beacon route thrived until the 1950s when the growing US interstate system provided a faster route for faster cars to transport people faster from here to there without stopping, and diverted people off the two lanes. At the same time jet airliners introduced tourist class and were transporting people in pressurized tubes faster and higher above our world in the air then ever before. It seems that with all this rush to travel faster and father, an important human connection for travelers, to meet in villages under the light of a beacon, was lost. The towers were taken down and the Lane of Light was closed. 20


Caretakers I have stood on airplane ramps for almost twenty years now as a professional pilot and I have never seen anyone but the pilot or maintenance crew walk up to a jet and pet it. The general public stands away, arms behind their back, in awe of the engineering and just observes. But place a candy colored, fabric and wood airplane next to a big jet on the same ramp, and everyone has to touch it. They cannot resist the connection, and my biplane’s fabric, engine, and propellor are smeared with finger prints always. This used to make me so mad, until I discovered it is the same reason strangers walk up and ask to pet your dog, or wiggle your babies toes. It’s the same reason The Spirit of St Louis had to have the fuselage repaired and recovered at Le Bourget. We touch things we relate to. We touch things we admire, that are beautiful or whimsical, that delight us or that we see our secret desires in. We can’t help but pick up things we are connected to, even when we can see them perfectly clear from arms length. With my child-like obsession for touching, I have never wanted to touch a Learjet (and I flew them) or a Beechcraft King Air (I flew them too), unless I was pre-flighting. I touch and kiss my Speedmail “Buddy” always. If you are the caretaker of a vintage airplane you hold a special tool, you have the power to reconnect everyone in the world to these planes because they see them as the handcrafted works of art each one is. Everyone who knows me says, “Sarah can’t fix em she just flies ‘em” - wisely started by my good friend and A.I./wing builder/ caretaker Jack McCloy. I have no knowledge or talent to build anything, let alone something that flies. If you could see how someone like me looks at the skill and talent it takes to build or design these airplanes, you would see what we see in all of you. You’re artisan builders of the air! The vintage and antique caretakers are the best aviation ambassadors on the planet because we’ve seen, felt, and smelled exactly what Lindbergh saw. We know how important these planes are. But if these beautiful planes you make and fly are collected simply for the sake of collecting, and hidden away behind closed hangar doors, how can anyone see or touch the treasures our planes really are? Not to play on peoples fears, because there is already too much fear associated with flying, but sharing your planes with a bigger world than your local vintage flying circle of friends is a vital step in solving this problem. How can young people or any people care about these planes if they rarely get to see them, and more importantly why should they care? 21


Sorry if I disappoint Vintage readers here. I am sure many of you want to hear about the story of my restoration and feel cheated in detail. I cannot write that story because my plane was restored by the Kimballs and their craftsmen and it is their story, not mine to tell. I just helped them along with hundreds of other contributors, most notably Mirco Percorari, to build their masterpiece that I am lucky enough to fly. I can provide plenty of pictures for compensation, as they say it better than my words could anyway. This story is a bit like the original Jimmie Allen Flying Club Flight Lessons. The original lessons were written with children’s attention spans in mind, which suits me perfectly. Each flight lesson featured a picture and a short story about an important event in aviation. Then maybe a few lesson questions on the back page. So my picture of Charles Lindbergh and the story about what he taught me about my choice to be part of a larger community is my short story, but it needs a few questions to think about to end it properly. As I am touring with the CAF B-29 Airpower tour from May through October this year to be part of a bigger community, I am perhaps more aware than most about the high price of operating our planes. Flying now behind a Pratt R985 is double the gas consumption of my PT-17’s Continental W670, and I worry about finding gas money along with all of you this summer. So my questions to you are frugal ones. What does it cost to pull your plane out of the hangar in the sunlight and invite neighbors and their children over for an afternoon open-house? What does is cost to contact your local school and ask if the art teacher, science teacher, or shop teacher would want take a field day to draw or explore your plane and let the students play their music, and ask them what they think about airplanes and flying? What does it cost to take pictures of your plane and tell it’s story on cards, emails, message boards, on Facebook or a free blog, and share it with everyone including your local newspaper. What does is it cost to sell parts and projects you will never use to others at a fair price on the condition they will use or build them, instead of stockpiling them. If you're particularly generous you could donate them to great organizations like the Wathen Center at Flabob, California or the 88 Charlies in Wisconsin so kids can learn your craft while you get a tax benefit. What does it cost to talk to a kid or non-pilot at a fly-in or airport before you start talking with your fellow pilots? The correct answer is the same to each question. It cost us nothing, but I believe it will cost us all a great deal if we don’t start doing it right now. 22


Editor’s Corner B-24 Hula Dancer The cockpit of Diamond Lil is filled with switches, levers, throttles, gauges and…a hula dancer. Above the instrument panel and next to the compass is “Libby.” Sources tell us this wiggling figure was added by Crew Chief Rick Garvis and she is affectionately named “Libby” for our Liberator, Diamond Lil. Crews enjoy having her aboard. Some have said she is an excellent turbulence detector. Next time you are aboard, maybe you’ll see her doing the hula.

On every flight, Libby leads the way

Konley Kelley presents at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum This June/August, Konley Kelley is doing lectures for kids in aviation camp at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum. His presentation is “Modeling History in 3D.” Kids learn about 3D modeling and what inspires Konley’s art. Much of his artwork is about military history and aircraft. Getting and keeping the attention of your audience is often dependent on having a trick up your sleeve. Konley just finished a project and added two slides to his presentation that’ll be sure to surprise the kids.

THE FLYER WANTS YOU! You are welcome to contribute a story, photographs and artwork for this decades-old newsletter. If you are a veteran, please tell us your story. Squadron members continually meet veterans at the hangar, on tour and in everyday life – let us know their stories. We’re also looking for contributors for “This Month in History” and news spotlighting our aircraft and members. Thank you and “Keep ‘em Flying!” Konley Kelley THE FLYER editor konartist@verizon.net

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B-29 / B-24 Squadron Addison Airport 4730 George Haddaway Drive Addison, Texas 75001 www.cafb29b24.org 972-387-2924 (Hangar) 432-413-4100 (Ride Desk) 24


The Flyer July 2013