Sunday, November 16, 2008

Airshows and Historical Airplanes

Well, last night I fell asleep about two to three hours earlier than I usually do on a weekend night and neglected to post. So much for posting every day.

Anyway, I'm sure those (very few) who have seen this blog have noticed that I have a wide variety of interests. Well, one of my oldest obsessions is aviation. Thanks to my dad, that interest shifted away from modern aircraft and toward World War II-era warplanes (they have more character, he always said). It was a convenient hobby given where we lived; while I was a teenager in El Cajon, California our house was under the flight path of Gillespie Field, the local municipal airport. The airport was a yearly stopping point for several organizations that restore and fly historical aircraft such as the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and the Collins Foundation.

My sophomore year in high school, the Collins Foundation flew in their B-17G and B-24J, two of the most important and famous American bomber models of World War II. My dad and I went to the airport after school to walk around and through the bombers while taking dozens of pictures. My dad found out that for a donation of $300 you could go on an hour long ride in one of the bombers along with six other donors (the donations just barely paid for the gas burned by a World War II-era bomber in one hour). He asked me if I'd like to fly in one of them; I said that I would love to, believing that it was a rhetorical question.

The next morning (it was a school day, but a note from my dad would take care of that) I found myself flying on the world's only flight-worthy B-24J. The flight took us over much of San Diego, giving us a great view of such sites as the Coronado Bay Bridge. We even buzzed Miramar Naval Air Station, a privilege almost never given to civilian-owned aircraft (I was in the bombardier's station in the nose at the time and probably got the best view of anyone on the plane). I will always be grateful to my dad for his generosity, especially given how tight our family's budget was at the time.

A few years later, the summer after my first year at BYU, I attended the yearly Wings Over Gillespie Airshow. The airshow featured such historical aircraft as the B-17G, the Heinkel 111 (the only one flying in the world), the P-38 Lightning (extremely rare), and various other bombers, fighters, and transports from World War II. I usually went to the airshow either with my dad or, if he was busy, by myself. That summer, though, a girl I had been dating told me that she would like to come along to the airshow.

A few years later I married that girl. I suppose that any girl who is willing to go to an airshow featuring World War II warplanes to be with you has to be worth marrying.

1 comment:

  1. The ride in the plane sounds like it was fun. I'm not that much into airplanes, my dad was Field Artillery in the Army, so planes aren't really our thing, but I can appreciate the history of such planes. And watching airplanes fly is always a pretty neat thing, especially when they do stunts. Glad you decided to marry La Tisha, and good thing you didn't wait until you were done with school.



Related Posts with Thumbnails