Fairfax, VA - 11.16.05:
A Photo Shoot I Shall Never Forget
With NASM Curator of General Aviation Dorothy Cochran (and several Security Guards) keeping VERY close eye on me, I was able to poke my head and my camera inside the most famous Cessna on the planet. What I found transported me back in time to April 17, 1964 at Port Columbus Airport at the precise moment when Jerrie Mock yanked out the mixture, shut down her trusty Continental and crawled out of Charlie…for the last time.
Everything remains perfectly intact. The wear marks on the left door panel, the cracks in the original 1953 factory plastic, everything. I almost expected to see the remains of a Ham sandwich or an old ink pen on the floor, if not for the fact that I know Jerrie kept perfect house in Charlie during her flight. While the Smithsonian has kept Charlie in great condition, like many of it’s artifacts, they have chosen to preserve history by leaving the original plane alone rather than complete a full restoration. Because of this, I was able to get an unprecedented look at this historic flying machine before the NASM suspended Charlie from the ceiling of the Hazy Center.