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10 Mhz , St. Louis approach, as I usually do, while bulking my fuel truck at SUS. It brought back memories of hearing similar conversations on the radio, while watching planes take off and land at Lambert back in the 90‟s. Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to enjoy my own private airshow, by a new F/A-18 Super Hornet being tested out over Pike County where we live with our nine dogs. It is always a thrill to see a U.S. military jet overhead, especially one that is built right here in our own backyard, in the great state of Missouri. Every time we get to service a Hornet that stops in for a gas n go, I am proud of the fact, that every single one, was built right here in St. Louis. It goes without saying, that there is a lot of history being generated, with each plane, from the time it starts down the production line, entering squadron service, missions flown, and ultimately going to the bone yard. It is such a special moment, when we discover a stash of squadron photos, or a flight manual, especially if it is from a specific airframe, because it brings us closer to all the wonderful people who were associated with that particular airplane. I think one of the greatest things that we can do as an organization, is to not only research and document all of the wonderful history that is out there, but more importantly, share it with the public. Many of the people that visit an air museum, or attend an airshow, most likely have someone in their family, who was either a pilot, or a crewmember on a plane, or knew someone that worked at the plant. If we can provide a pathway that they can enter into, either to simply reminisce, or to help someone along, that may be writing a book, or a high school student learning about the early days of the space program, then that will become one of our greatest achievements as a historical society, and one that we can all be very proud of. I hope all of you had a great summer and were able to take in at least one airshow or fly-in. With the Reno Air Races just finishing up, and the days getting cooler, we will dedicate this issue of “Signal Charlie” as our annual Swimsuit edition. I hope you enjoy the cover, as well as some nifty nose art photos! I would like to extend a hearty welcome to all of our new
Missouri Aviation Historical Society members and hope that we provide you with a positive experience, and that you will help spread the word about our group. As most of you are now aware, we have moved our meeting location to Clayton. A big THANK YOU! to Alan Hoffman, for providing the conference room and hospitality for all of us at 190 Carondelet Plaza. I would like to also shout out a big THANKS! to both Dave and Bill Doherty, and all of the fine folks of EAA Chapter 32, for hosting our two previous meetings in both April and June. We sincerely appreciate all of their support, and look forward to our two groups working together on future projects! Our August meeting was one of the best yet, with 14 members and guests in attendance. The evening‟s double feature began with Fred Roos, PHD, who recently retired from Boeing, and is now teaching at Washington University, giving an excellent presentation on one of Missouri‟s early aviation entrepreneurs, Tom Benoist. Tying in perfectly with Fred‟s talk, Randy McGuire, PHD and archivist at St. Louis University, let us in on the efforts of the Duluth Aviation Institute‟s efforts to construct a replica of a Benoist Type XIV flying boat, for a centennial celebration of “The Lark of Duluth” in 2013. Both presentations were very engaging, and I personally learned a lot. The replica is fairly well along in its construction, and looks great! To see photos of the plane, and find out more about this exciting project, please visit their website at www.duluthaviationinstitute.org I want to thank both Fred and Randy, for sharing their time and expertise with us, for a very enjoyable evening. The Missouri Aviation Historical Society, recently gained some excellent publicity at the Scott Air Force Base “Airpower Over The Midwest” Airshow, held the weekend of Sep 11/12. I want to thank Jeremy Cox, of the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, for offering to share their booth space at the show. I also want to thank Mark Nankivil, and those who manned the booth, handing out MAHS Flyers and newsletters! I also want to thank Carmelo Turdo, who gave our Society a plug in the World Airshow News. “We sure appreciate the support Carmelo, and we hope you can make it to our next meeting.” If you want a one stop shop, to find out what is going on in aviation, in or anywhere near St. Louis, or the bi-state region, please visit www.aeroexperience.blogspot.com Another excellent website is www.stlaviationcalendar.com This is John Henke‟s site, and is a very useful place to go, to find out about upcoming meetings and events
throughout the St. Louis area, and the Midwest. “Thanks so much John for placing our August meeting on your calendar, and we sure enjoyed visiting and talking with you that night.” Fast forwarding into October, there are several significant events taking place that I want everyone to be aware of. The American Heroes Airshow will be holding their inaugural St. Louis event, on Saturday, Oct 09th, at Spirit of St. Louis airport in Chesterfield, MO. This will be a unique experience, in that it is a helicopter only airshow, featuring static displays of military, law enforcement, and civilian rotary wing aircraft. There will also be a replica of the Vietnam wall on display, along with a naturalization ceremony for new citizens who are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. For more information, please visit their site at www.heroes-airshow.com The first annual Midwest forum of the American Society of Aviation Artists, will be held at the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, on Oct 16/17. For more information, please see the museums newsletter at www.airandspacemuseum.org/newsletter.pdf You can also visit the ASAA site at www.asaa-avart.org/index.php The next meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society, will be on Wednesday, Oct 13th, at 7 PM, and will focus on the wonderful Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Recently, there were 6 P-38‟s in attendance at the California Capitol Airshow, in Sacramento, CA! We will be showing a video featuring color footage from WWII. This presentation ties in with my research of Verl Jett, a pilot from Missouri, who was an ace with 7 kills. An airworthy P-38, based in Houston now wears the markings of one of Verl‟s mounts, as “Thoughts of Midnight”. That‟s it for the gouge this time, let‟s all please keep member Bob Burgess, and his wife Doris, in our prayers, as they are both being treated in private health care facilities. Take care. Very Respectfully, Dan O‟Hara
Storytelling Passion - Mike Burke
Storytelling. Whether you‟re presenting an oral history, a written history or producing an illustration of a historical event, you are telling a story of the historical event. I‟ve touched on this idea already and my original intent for this article was to explore the importance of point of view in the telling. I‟ve set that idea aside (again) so that I can explore the need to tell stories. If you are reading this, you already have at least an interest in Missouri‟s aviation history so I can skip the part about interest and discuss those whose interest in history has led them to - driven them to - want to share that interest and keep the memory of the events alive for the next generation and those that follow. What‟s driving them is passion. We‟ve all known those people. Those who own a complete Revolutionary War Uniform, or a Civil War Uniform or a WWII flightsuit and flight gear and make the effort to get to schools, to civic groups, to anybody who would listen, and discuss - tell - all that they have become enamored with in that history. We‟ve all read the works of those who are driven to record their knowledge of history in the written word and we‟ve seen the work done by those who‟ve been driven to create visual presentations of historical and current events. This is beyond the freelance writer who takes an assignment to write about Charles Lindbergh then moves on to write a piece about World Cup Soccer. This is beyond the illustrator who does a cover for a Jimmy Doolittle biography then does all five covers for a western series. This is about those who either let their passions drive their careers or those who let their passions dominate their non-working lives. Mel Torme and Peter Jackson are two who fall in that later category. Aviation was and is their passion. Mel Torme was a pilot and a builder of WWI era model aircraft. Additionally, he underwrote the cost of at least one aviation modeling magazine just to be sure that the channel remained open between the writer historians and people like him. All this while attending to his other passion - singing. Peter Jackson, when he‟s not working on movies, is steep in aviation - with his collection of aircraft and his efforts to produce fine kits of WWI aircraft. Then you have those who let their passion drive their careers. Keith Ferris, Robert McCall and Shigeo Koike are three examples. They each reached a point where they were able to let their passion become the focus of their career and they each developed their craft into a recognizable style. For everyone who has achieved this goal there are many who feel the need to strive for that goal. I count myself among those many. As I write this, I am looking for a job. I‟m not looking for a career at this time - I had one in Telecommunications for twenty some years. I‟m looking for a job that will pay the rent and the bills while I continue to improve my painting skills and while I wait for conditions to reach a point where the people who have been admiring my work will be willing to purchase some of my work. It took a while, but I‟ve finally reached the point where I‟m consistently producing work that I can feel good about trying to sell. I‟m sure that what I‟m feeling is a passion because when I read or hear about an aviation event, prominent among my thoughts are questions of how would I paint that? Could I show it from a point of view that has yet to be shown? When I see an interesting skyscape my thoughts are how would I paint that? What colors would I use to paint those clouds? When I drive out to Smart Field I think about the colors I‟m seeing when I look at the farm fields and the distant bluffs. Additionally, I think about what aircraft would fit that setting and cloudscape. I think you get the idea. I promised myself that I‟d keep this short. Time will tell if I‟m successful with my passion driven ambition.
Now, I‟d like to invite each of you to share a story. It could be about your passion for aviation or it could be about an aviation related event that made a deep impression of you. I‟ll go first with a story about an event. It was back in the „60s and a number of the classes in my grade school took a field-trip to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Edgewood, Maryland for what I believe was the Armed Forces Day Celebration. I was too young to understand everything that I saw but over the years as I‟d learn about a different technology or device, many times I‟d find a related memory from that day at Aberdeen. Among those memories is the „wireless‟ telephone call that could be blocked with a book or your hand - a microwave transmission demonstration. During the first part of the main event, the Army demonstrated some of their vehicles and fired some of their big guns. I grew up in Dundalk which is several miles away from Aberdeen but even at that distance on many days I had heard the distant thunder of those guns being fired so getting to see what it was that had been making that thunder was a treat. The Blue Angels climaxed the main event. They were still flying the F-11A (F11F) Tigers and during the course of their demonstration they flew a supersonic flyby. I can still remember the feel of it - sitting there with my hands pressed against my ears and feeling the boom pass around my body. While I have seen many other memorable things at airshows, none has surpassed that sensation. The nearest anything came to it was the high speed pass from behind, which I saw the Thunderbirds do on a few occasions, but that long rumble did not quite match that quick punch of a sonic boom. At least I can still see low level supersonic flybys depicted in movies from time to time. So that‟s my little story. Who‟s next?
This small painting was done for fun. The X-32 was pitted against the X-35 in the Joint Strike Fighter competition which resulted in the soon to enter service F-35. From most viewing angles the X-32 is an ungainly bird. I wanted to show that it does have a viewing angle from which it almost looks sleek. The setting is somewhere high over Edwards where the Air Force portion of the evaluation took place.
This small painting was also done for fun. The X-35 was declared the winner of the JSF competition and the design has evolved into the F-35. I chose this angle because of the way the hump to house the fan for the VTOL portion of the evaluation limited the pilot's rearward view. From this angle the thing almost looks like a drone.
Summer Travels & Visits – Mark Nankivil
With an active and inquisitive 6-1/2 year old in the house, I have a great reason (or is it an excuse?!) to travel and visits places and people. This Summer was no exception as we took a number of trips throughout the Midwest and visited a number of aviation and railroad (my son Jack‟s two favorite things) themed locations. June saw us taking a trip over to Lawrenceville, IL for the Wabash Valley Soaring Association‟s Vintage/Classic Glider Regatta. An annual event, it is a great place to see vintage and classic sailplanes both on the ground and in their element overhead. Jack even had the opportunity to take his first flight in a sailplane – an ASK-13 – and his first light plane ride with my good friend Bill Asbell in Bill‟s 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12D. Jack loved flying in both of them and I am relieved that he enjoyed it! July saw us taking a trip up to the Chicago area to see my folks and on the way north, we stopped by at the Prairie Aviation Museum in Bloomington, IL and the Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul,
IL. The Prairie Aviation Museum has F-4N Bu, No. 150444 on display in the markings of VF-161 aboard the USS Midway. The St. Louis tie-ins at Chanute are F-15A-3-MC 71-0286 which was one of the original development aircraft. Another is RF-4C 62-12201 which was the second RF-4C built. One other McAir product is an F-101B Voodoo on display outside on the ramp. August saw Jack and I taking a trip to Kansas City with a stop in Bates City, MO to visit White Industries. White Industries is a general aviation boneyard with quire a variety of aircraft – 2400+ airframes reside on the property. Seeing all these aircraft, well the bigger bits & pieces of them as it were, made me realize we tend to ignore the history that the general aviation types, such as Cessnas, Pipers Rockwell Commanders, etc. have been part of. Jack and I were only able to spend a very short while looking around but I plan on going back and paying the asking price for an escort and do a better job of photographing and documenting the numerous aircraft there. From Bates City, we headed on into Kansas City and stopped in at the Airline History Museum to see their most recent acquisition, a Lockheed L-1011. Presently on display minus the engines used to fly it into the airport, they are presently hunting for time expired engines to hang on the airframe to make it whole again. The aircraft looks in excellent shape and I look forward to going back when the interior is open to the public. In the hangar, members were working diligently on their DC-3 which is expected to fly again. The Connie and the Martin 404 were also looking good and it was nice to walk through both aircraft and see what it was like to fly back when flying was seen by most as a privilege or even as an adventure, something that seems to be missing for many who go flying in this age of TSA, long lines and body & luggage scans. Something has indeed been lost…..
The Scott AFB “Airpower over the Midwest” is now the only big airshow event for the St. Louis region and this year also was a venue for the St. Louis area “Navy Week” events. With the Blue Angels in town flying their “new” F/A-18Cs for the first full season, it was great to see them looking good and flying sharp – in my opinion the best they have looked in a number of seasons. I made it over on Sunday and the weather was spectacular with clear, blue skies, nice temps and low humidity. Scott has a great layout for the flying displays with the Sun behind the crowd line and consequently, ample opportunities for taking decent photos of the show. The static aircraft displays were not as extensive as in years past but I can chalk that up to the economy, military deployments and tighter budgets for squadrons and units but all in all, it was a nice variety of aircraft and seeing the home team‟s C-9s and C-40s shining in the Sun made it well worth the visit. There were two QF-4Es from Tyndall AFB in attendance and for those who were there on Saturday, the rare treat of seeing both of them flying together. Sunday the QF-4E was teamed up with an F-16C from the East Coast Demo Team based at Shaw AFB. It was great to be able to catch the QF-4E taxiing back in dragging it‟s drogue chute behind it. My son put it best while we were watching the Blue Angels about half way through their routine when he looked up at me and said “life is good!”. Yes indeed!
Stepping back in time, I wish I had moved to St. Louis a decade or more before I actually did so I could have visited the yearly open house held at Lambert or over on the Missouri
Air National Guard ramp. As the following two photos show, those were the days of variety and up close access to the aircraft. I‟m sure there are a number of you that were at these events and I hope you have some photos and memories you can share about those days not so long ago…. Enjoy the Day! Mark
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