CONTINUING COVERAGE OF THE
2010 DC-3/C-47 LAST TIME EVENT
IN ROCK FALLS, IL.

10:50 AM


07-21-10: If the big bump in traffic to this page is any indication, then the organizers of The Last Time event at Whiteside County Airport (KSQI) from Friday July 23 through Monday, July 26 will have a big success on their hands. Seems MANY people who are searching for the event are ending up here. So in the interest of prudent information delivery, if you are planning to go to this event, you absolutely need to click here to download the event's Arrival Instructions (pdf).

07-11-10: I am excited tonight that my plans to become "embedded" with the crew of Duggy are intact. I leave Friday 7/23 for Fargo, ND where I will meet up with this incredible airplane's crew, and begin reporting on just what it takes to move a vintage DC-3 around the country. I will focus on "inside baseball" stuff, blogging and photographing as we take Duggy down to Rock Falls for the weekend. Stay tuned to this blog from Friday through Tuesday 7/27 when I will be immersed in the world of DC-3s 24/7. This ought to be the trip of a lifetime, and through this medium as well as Twitter (@Av8rdan), I will take you along with me as I get up close and personal with "The Smile in the Sky."

06-04-10: While EAA's Tom Poberezny says the previously-scheduled "mass arrival" from the Rock Falls event 7/24 and 7/25 is "off," EAA released info yesterday saying they are indeed planning DC-3/C-47 formation flights on Tuesday, 7/27 at Airventure. From their website: "The latest addition is a DC-3 and C-47 "Max-Effort Day" on Tuesday, July 27, that will include formation flights and aerial displays from all DC-3 aircraft that wish to be flown that day. That includes groups of the aircraft type in both airline and military configurations, plus others. This activity will give more aircraft the opportunity to participate above the previously scheduled mass arrival on Monday, July 26."

06-02-10: Aero-News Network has a podcast interview here with EAA President Tom Poberezny discussing the formation flight that was planned into Airventure to open the show on Monday, 7/26. According to this report, the "DC-3 Mass Arrival into Oshkosh is off."

06-02-10: This is from thelasttime.org website, verbatim: The 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3 special reunion activities will occur at the Whiteside County Airport (KSQI) from Friday July 23 through Monday, July 26, 2010!. Be there and walk among these large aircraft parked together for the last time. Food, festivities, music, and static and flight displays, airplane rides, and media rides will take place all weekend long. See the world record formation flight take off and fly proudly overhead the departure airport on Monday July 26. This will be the most DC-3's and C-47's in the air at the same time since World War II! This is truly the last time in history that you will ever be able to see this! Come join us at KSQI for The Last Time.

05-28-10: I am being asked from numerous followers of this event what is going on in the dispute that surfaced in the last few days between the formation flight organizers and EAA. For the record, I am not in any way affiliated with thelasttime.org, the Rock Falls event organizers or EAA...I am just a journalist/blogger covering the event. I am not in contact with the organizers, and have no inside information about what is going on.

05-20-10: (via press release): Safety is paramount when it comes to any formation flight. The shear size of this historic event requires even greater collaboration, along with integrated communication and planning. The following group of aviation professionals has been assigned the responsibility of overseeing this Flight Operation to ensure that the highest level of safety will be achieved. This group consists of the following eight pilot consultants: Mike Filucci, Project Lead, Terry Calloway, Jim Goolsby, Dave McGirt, Ken Terry, Sherman Smoot, Pat McGinn, and Jon Goldenbaum. Together, these individuals represent more than 163,000 hours of combined flight experience.

04-28-10: Organizers of the "world's largest Douglas DC-3 Reunion" have launched a new Virtual DC-3 Reunion Board on their site. Just go here and click on DC-3 REUNION on the home page and enter your info. This is a great way to list yourself as "I am going" and reconnect with DC-3 friends from around the world. The feature has an extensive multi-layered search feature built in so you can do searches for DC-3 people that you're looking for.

04-08-10: One of the DC-3 owners flying in the formation contacted me and asked that I remind readers just how much it costs to fly these great vintage planes. It costs roughly $700 per flight hour for gas and oil, about $60,000 for an engine overhaul, $3,500 for a carburetor, and $1,600 for ONE TIRE! Needless to say, if you are in a place of financial independence and can donate to this event, you can contact the formation flight organizers with your intentions here.

04-02-10: An organizer of the formation flight contacted me with something that is in the works for not only this event, but also the entire 2010 Airventure. I cannot let all the cats run free yet on this, except to hint that while most of our attention has been focused on the aircraft making this historic flight, we will soon have a way to focus on the people of this great event. Please keep watching this space as the details unfold.

03-17-10: HUGE NEWS! As if a DC-2, several DC-3s and numerous C-47s weren't enough to make this formation flight the most significant aviation flight of the year (um...ever?), now the organizers have announced the addition of two more extremely rare models. Slated to enter the formation for the trip to Airventure show center on 07.26.10 is the only C-41 (N41HQ) and C-41A (N341A) aircraft ever made. Both are 1938 models and were built as "luxurious command staff transports" for Major General Hap Arnold. The C-41 is based out west at KOAK while the C-41A is coming in from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Click here to read about the full list of vintage aircraft registered to make up this historic formation.

03-17-10: Info on the Formation Flight Staging Airport: M & M Aviation at the Whiteside County Airport (KSQI) in Sterling/Rock Falls, IL is the host FBO for this historic event. Organizers have posted the following info on the flight website:
M & M Aviation is full of anticipation, excitement, and awe at the advent of hosting the event for the weekend. From the first meeting, we began to focus on the challenges and goals needed to show our visitors our friendship, respect and our professionalism. This project, with all of its logistics, has been and will continue to be time consuming, but rewarding for all involved. As of now, we have succeeded in involving very dedicated and hard working volunteers, so that this historic event can also be part of the history of the Whiteside County Airport. During the time they are here, we will strive to treat all with the hospitality for which the Illinois Rock River Valley is famous. Plans include providing them with free transportation, food, beverages, and just about anything these visitors need. We have negotiated with the local hotels for great affordable rates for the weekend. Our celebration with them will culminate in “The Last Supper” which has been donated for all by one of our local businesses.
03-17-10: Another "Hero" FBO announced: Carlson Aviation at Chan Gurney Airport (YKN) in Yankton, SD is offering formation flight crews and pax free food, cheap fuel, wonderful facilities, and a great time.

03-05-10: The organizers of this huge formation flight have finally announced the identity of the 40th plane in the formation, and man is it a good one. Real all about it here.

03-04-10: The gaggle of 40 will assemble during the weekend prior to opening day at Whiteside County Airport (KSQI) where the entire gaggle is being welcomed by M&M Aviation. The public as well as media are welcome to visit this gathering and subsequent launch of all 40 aircraft as the formation will be built in the skies above this airport heading for Oshkosh! The existing world record formation for the type in formation is currently set at 27, set in 1985.

03-01-10: In one of the biggest developments to come out regarding this historic flight, a pair of "Hero FBOs" have made the formation flight's crews a tremendous deal. Dwayne Clements of Clemens Aircraft located at Stearman Field Airport (1K1) in Benton, KS is offering Conoco Phillips 100LL fuel at cost and free meals from the on-airport Stearman Field Bar and Grill to The Last Time DC-3 and C47 aircraft and flight crews. And Jerry White of Montgomery Aviation at Grissom ARB (GUS) in Peru, IN is offering a fuel discount, free dinner, and possibly free lodging for all DC-3/C-47 pilots and crew that land here. More information is here.

02.22.10: We've sort of entered a holding pattern on news related to this big event. I am told EAA and the formation flight organizers are working behind the scenes on a number of announcements, so please bookmark this page and pass it around to your friends and family who love these great vintage DC-3s and C-47s so everyone can stay tuned right here for developing news.

02.12.10: The organizers of this formation flight are getting close to announcing the details of the aircraft marked "TOP SECRET" on their site. This is the final of the 40 slots to fill up, and I am told "this aircraft is one of the most rare in the world." So, thinking caps on, go look at the site's attending aircraft page and see which aircraft have signed up, and try to figure out which DC-3/C-47 this will be. I swear I do not know, but if you think you do, email me here. [UPDATE: Just got word that the negotiations for this aircraft's participation is complete as of 02.12.10, and the name will be coming in an EAA Announcement soon.]

02.08.10: I have announced a gigantic personal achievement regarding this historic flight. Click here for details

01.29.10: Everyone reading this page loves great stories of the people who flew and crewed DC-3s and C-47s. These stories are now being told on the event organizer's web site in the Diaries page. Go there now and re-live some fantastic flying tales.

01.26.10: Organizers of the mass arrival are now saying as many as 16 DC-3/C-47 aircraft above the currently registered 35 aircraft have contacted them to be included in the formation flight to Oshkosh on 7.26.10! Due to logistics issues, they most likely won't be able to accommodate all of these, but World of Flying has learned that we can expect not 35 but 40 aircraft in the northbound formation flight KSQI to KOSH.

01.25.10: One of the mass arrival's "stars": C-GDAK - The Burma Star - is a 1939 C-47. In 1981 the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at the Hamilton International Airport in Mount Hope Ontario Canada acquired the aircraft where it underwent a 14 month major restoration before it flew again in June 1982 and won the “People’s Choice Award” at the 1982 Oshkosh “Air Venture” show. The aircraft is powered by two Wright Cyclone 1820-202A engines and has accumulated 81,499 flight hours.

01.19.10: "Opening day [of EAA Airventure Oshkosh] could be spectacular in 2010. With the expected arrival of the Oshkosh Express 747 from Australia and New Zealand that day, and an opening-day concert again, the aerial arrival of so many DC-3s will make this a very big opening day." - Dick Knapinski, EAA Media Relations Dept.

01.17.10: While there are many DC-3s coming to the mass arrival, one that will certainly be the subject of endless photos will be NC17334, aka Flagship Detroit. This glorious example of a DC-3 is owned and operated by the Flagship Detroit Foundation, and is the oldest DC-3 still flying. It is also one of the best looking too. Learn more about Flagship Detroit here.

01.16.10: Seen on thelasttime.org: "The sights and sounds from these legendary airplanes is something not to be missed. It's going to truly be a once in a lifetime event. Please come join us at Oshkosh this July for this historic celebration." - Patty Wagstaff

01.15.10: As this event is generating a HUGE bill for many people including the organizers and DC-3/C-47 owners and crew, there are PLENTY of opportunities to help financially with a sponsorship. Info on how you can help is here.

01.12.10: Organizers of the mass arrival event have set up the "DC-3 Diaries" on their website thelasttime.org. This forum has endless stories of the people and planes at the center of this fantastic formation flight to Oshkosh.

01.11.10: According to the organizers of the mass arrival, the closest commercial airport to KSQI (the staging airport) is KMLI - Quad Cities International in Moline, Illinois.

01.11.10: This just came in from EAA's Communications Dept: Fewer than 100 of the aircraft (DC-3/C-47) remain airworthy in the United States, meaning that nearly half of the current fleet could be present at AirVenture 2010. The weeklong festivities at Oshkosh will also include historical and technical forums/presentations, fly-bys and a special evening DC-3 commemorative program at Theater in the Woods.

01.10.10: The DC-3/C-47 world in late July, 2010 will be centered around KSQI, aka Whiteside County Airport - Jos H Bittorf Field in Sterling/Rock Falls, Illinois. Find out everything you need to know about KSQI here. And at the center of that action will be M & M Aviation Services.

01.09.10: The DC-3/C-47 mass arrival organizers have posted "N" numbers of the aircraft registered for the formation flight from KSQI to KOSH on Monday, 07.26.10. Most entries on the site have photos, and as more information becomes available, detailed bios on planes and crew will also be linked to this page.

01.08.10: EAA has posted their story about the DC-3/C-47 mass arrival event on the Airventure website and it is a good one.

• • • • • •

At the annual summer spectacle of airplanes, brats and friendly aviators we know as EAA Airventure, aka "Oshkosh", you see things that can only be described as magical. You see the absolute best of the best of any airframe ever made, you see airshow acts that redefine what "bringing your A game" can mean. You see four

gigantic halls crammed with the hottest in aviator gear. And you see beautiful flying examples of your favorite airplane, whatever that may be:
To build up this post, I must tell the tale of my first Oshkosh. I wandered the four halls before walking through Aeroshell Square to the flight line. There, I headed south towards the vintage areas. I had just bought my first serious DSLR camera, Canon's 40D, and used up hundreds of frames worth of imaginary film as I strolled through line after line of glorious flying museum pieces. I let the day slip away and soon was mesmerized by the afternoon airshow. That was day one. On day two, I again went through Aeroshell Square but this time headed north and found the warbird section. But before I could drool on the estimated two dozen P-51 Mustangs, I saw one line of aircraft that made me literally stop in my tracks (not kidding about that). There, before me was maybe six DC-3/C-47s, standing proud, they were nothing short of majestic. I walked slowly around each one, taking in every rivet, appreciating each ship's graceful but strong lines. To this aviator, the DC-3/C-47 is king, there is no finer flying machine. Yes, some makes are faster, some way bigger. But nothing that has ever achieved lift can touch the storied, almost unbelievable flying history of this fabulous airplane.
Remember that I said SIX of these great planes at once, six. It was the highlight of any Oshkosh I have attended to date. Now let your mind go crazy, and imagine the following:
It's late July, 2010 at Oshkosh, and you and your family find a place on the flight line just after lunch, noticing the crowds have exploded this year for some reason. People are flocking to runway 18/36 en masse, everyone is excited. Soon, the crowd begins to crane their necks to the south, everyone is up on their toes. Then you see it, low and slow heading directly to show center, a large, dark flying cloud of metal, gasoline and history. As this mass of machines creeps slowly towards you, the shapes of the planes come into view. The crowd gasps, claps and goes freakin' CRAZY as they see not six, not a dozen, but 35 of the finest DC-3/C-47s on this planet flying formation overhead. The sound of 70 radial engines creates a never-before and never-again heard symphony, the wonderful sonata we call airplane noise. As this massive formation cruises by, you thank God and EAA for the chance to see this great show, as you are sure this is the last time so many examples of this storied craft will be together, in formation, in one place.
This is not a dream, it is real. A group of DC-3/C-47 owners and enthusiasts have organized the "mass arrival and reunion" for July 26 - Aug 1, 2010
 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the DC-3/C-47. The event has been in the works for years, and I am honored to be on the short list of bloggers who have been contacted by the organizers to keep you informed of developments. And man, are there developments:
Originally, the group had set the number of planes at 25, and knew getting that many flying DC-3/C-47s to Oshkosh would be a challenge. But this week they have confirmed that number has swelled to 35 aircraft! And, according to organizers, EAA is making the 75th anniversary celebration and mass arrival their lead attraction for 2010. Tom Poberezny, EAA President, said "While the 
DC-3 helped make air travel popular and profitable in the 1930s and 1940s, the fact that it is still used around the world today is a testament to the aircraft’s design. We’re thrilled to welcome these iconic aviation legends to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2010. It's likely the last time DC-3 fans will ever see a reunion this large."
You can visit the organizer's website www.thelasttime.org and see exactly what the airplanes scheduled to appear will be. When I scanned this list, I spotted a few highlights:
One ship that is always a crowd favorite is "Flagship Detroit", a 1936 DC-3, and "The Burma Star", a '39 -3 will also be very popular. The beautifully-restored Bluebonnet Bell, a 1944 C-47B, will be the subject of numerous photographs. Then there will be Dan Gryder's N143D, a 1938 DC-3 that with more than 57,000 hours on the airframe, demonstrates the durability and longevity of this make/model. But my personal favorite will always be N1XP, aka "Duggy, the Smile in the Sky". Duggy is a 1942 DC-3 painted in brilliant yellow, sporting the largest smile flying since Pacific Southwest Airlines went away. If you can look at Duggy and not break out in a gleeful grin, you, my friend, do not have the soul of an aviator.
If you wish to get into the whole groove of this mass arrival and celebration, the entire fleet will be on display at Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls, Illinois Friday - Sunday, July 23-25, 2010. The last formation flight is scheduled for Monday, July 26, 2010 with an engine start at 2:30 pm. All 35 aircraft will get airborne and join up for the one hour flight to Oshkosh. This is the main event and the signature feature of AirVenture 2010. A course to the show of 360° is anticipated.

And once the planes leave KSQI on Monday afternoon, the formation will all land and remain at Airventure throughout the week, with departures planned by each ship's owners. Other media only and public events are being planned at this time, and I can personally assure you after several conversations with the organizers that there will be plenty of great opportunities throughout Airventure to join in the celebration.

And, of course this effort is requiring massive amounts of money to pull off. If you are in a position to help with financial or "in-kind" donations, I urge you to click here and help these hard working people offset the endless costs that are piling up as this event matures.

Will I be there? Really, you have to ask? I already have a game plan cooking in my head to make this the most amazing Oshkosh ever. Yes, I did say "most amazing Oshkosh ever" in 2009 when they had the A380 slam the numbers into submission literally YARDS from my eyes. But this time, in 2010, it WILL seriously be the most amazing Airventure. After witnessing the mass arrival of the coolest plane ever, in person, there will be no way anything could top that.

I applaud EAA for standing behind this effort, because once the sky darkens with the sight of 35 DC-3/C-47s in formation, the bar will be raised so high, they will need to book in Amelia Earhart to do barrel rolls in the Wright Flyer, with Lindbergh at the mike calling the action to upstage a sky literally full of Gooneys.

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