06 June 2007

More Stuff and Some History

Not that I think my occasional stories don't amuse or induce reflection, but I've been thinking that you may be inclined to return more often if I provided an incentive for you to do so. Such as more cool stuff to check out.

So, while I intend to ratchet up the frequency of my writing, I also plan to add aviation-related features to make this site more interesting and useful. And more popular.

I've started the expansion by placing a few new items on the sidebar to the right: links to common and useful aviation sites as well as an awesome video clip, links to home-based business opportunities and, yikes, a Google ad (but it is for aviation-related products!). These resources will continue to grow and, I trust, become useful to you.

You really should check out the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum site - it's located in Reading PA where I'm originally from, and is based at the
Reading Regional Airport, General Carl A Spaatz Field (RDG).

This is also the location of the annual
World War II Weekend, which is held the first weekend in June and is the largest gathering of WWII re-enactor groups in the country. It's a really cool event with a large contingent of resident and fly-in WWII warbirds, period clothing and a Glenn Miller-style dinner and dance, a simulated WWII encampment and mock battle, and numerous flight demonstrations.

The MAAM is also in the process of restoring to airworthiness a P-61 Black Widow. This aircraft crashed in the New Guinea jungle in 1945 and remained there until its recovery in 1991, and it is one of only four still in existence. Very cool story

Not coincidentally, Spaatz Field remains near and dear to my heart, as this is the first airport I ever saw and visited but even more importantly, my Uncle Jules' house was directly under the glide path for runway 36. My family often visited him and Aunt Peg on Sundays and I was captivated the first time a plane passed over, and each and every time since.

Now that I am a pilot, I can tell you that those planes were on short final to land on 36 about 1/2 mile north of my uncle's place so they were pretty close to the ground at that point. Probably no more than about a couple hundred feet.

From about the mid-60s and into the 70s, the Reading Air Show was one of the country's premier shows and attracted (if my memory serves) hundreds of aircraft manufacturers and suppliers who set up exhibitor tents all over the ramps. There were also food tents and of course planes parked, open, and available to explore.

Being an actual kid at the time, I was like a kid in a candy store wandering around in a sugar daze, checking out the food, exhibits, and planes, too overwhelmed to actually talk to anyone.

Oh, I also took some pictures of the flight demonstrations. Like several thousand maybe.

I have a pretty decent library of images from that time, but most are on paper only, the film having long since disappeared into some black hole. Old paper at that, but they may scan OK. Well before the days of digital photography I'm afraid but we'll see . . .

The flight demonstrations were truly amazing (to me) and included guys like Bob Hoover, who did amazing things with his Aero Commander and his P-51 Mustang, which is my favorite warbird of that era. The Navy Blue Angels also performed every year, and I made it a point to get to the airport every year for about five or six years in a row to get flight-line photos of the pilots and planes.

My wonder and fascination with airplanes and flight were born in my uncle's back yard and nurtured by the air shows at Spaatz Field.

But I'll talk more about the air shows another time . . .


Teaching Mommy said...

One of these days we'd like a ride!!

wingnut said...

You got it! Just let me know when . . .