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