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LIAS, Revisited

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During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I was beginning to travel across North America in search of larger and more diverse air shows than those in my backyard of New England. This was the time before widespread use of the Internet and electronic media, and it involved searching in the land of land mail and magazines for any tidbit of information about an interesting theme or an exotic visitor from another shore. Plus, I had a network of friends who, via long distance telephone, would pass along news of interest to me, and I would return the favor when I could.

As I wasn’t connected with any friends or family who lived on military bases and would be able to bring me aboard to watch any Friday practice air shows and to photograph the arriving planes, I usually went in with the public on Saturday and Sunday and took my (film) pictures with everyone else. This all changed one year, when my circle of friends expanded, and I learned about the “photo tour” at the London International Air Show (LIAS). As Jeff recounted the 1988 show, which featured thirty McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms assembled for the thirtieth year of the jet’s operation, I was hooked. Additionally, a special photo pass that allowed for access to the ramps on Friday, and early entry to the grounds on Saturday and Sunday, allowed for uncluttered photos and opportunities to meet up with other enthusiasts.

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Owls Head Transportation Museum’s 2016 Wings and Wheels Rally!

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The Owls Head Transportation Museum’s Wings and Wheels Spectacular was held on the first full weekend in August this year, on the museum grounds on the north side of the Maine's Knox County Regional Airport . Featured were aircraft designs that spanned a full century of flight. These flying machines, coupled with a collection of automobiles and other wheeled vehicles that also spanned the century of progress, presented a great afternoon of living history in the picturesque MidCoast region of Maine. Not only were a multitude of rare and interesting vehicles displayed, but the vast majority of them operated as their creators expected them to – flying in the air and motoring around on the ground! Let’s take a look at most of the aircraft that were featured at the “Rally” (as it is sometimes called), along with a few of the performers: Read more »

Boeing’s First Century Celebration

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Story and Photos by Bob Shane On July 15, 2016, the Boeing Company marked its 100th birthday. The aircraft manufacturer’s “Founders Day” event at Boeing Field, Seattle was the high point of a celebration that had been going on all year. Boeing was officially founded on July 15, 1916, a month after the first flight of the Boeing Model 1 single engine bi-plane seaplane known as the B & W. It was designed by William Boeing and U.S. Navy Lt. Conrad Westervelt. Boeing 12 Read more »

Rockford 1966 to AirVenture 2016

000 -196608 EAA Rockford_027 A few months short of age seven, I knew I loved aviation. I'd flown with dad many times and had seen my first P-51D (N51KB... Then N988C) fly. As best I can remember, I'd been to a local airshow and spent more time at the airport than at home. Then Dad and I went on an adventure of a lifetime, a trip from Oriskany NY to Rockford IL in a 1963 Corvair. The drive took forever, no interstates to speak of, no more entertainment than an AM radio and no air conditioning. We got to the show and slept in the car. Dad in the backseat and me in the little space under the rear window. Showers were at the bathhouse and cold until the sun warmed up the water tank, but the field was covered with aviation and life. The feeling was the same as today, excitement, but different times and different people. There are pilots and there are aviators. To me, a pilot goes to flight school and learns to fly, his time spent with aviation is when he is at the airport and knows little more about the airplane than how the controls operate. An aviator lives "the life", you could say he learned to fly in a more casual environment, he learns constantly from the experiences of others and knows what makes the airplane fly and can actually fly it. Back in 1966 there were more aviators than pilots. Men and women who could take the controls and handle the plane. Back then there were no computers on board (unless you want to really call an E6B a "computer"), and you needed real situational awareness. You weren't playing a video game like you are now. When you left home to fly your homebuilt to Rockford, you had a sectional chart and an alcohol compass, chances are you didn't even have a radio. It took skill and a degree of confidence you simply don't see very often now. Read more »