The Official Keepers of All Hangar Flying Tales

4:49 PM

We've all heard 'em...whopper flying stories usually told in the vicinity of a hangar or airport coffee shop. Generally, they go something like this:

I was flying my J3 Cub back in '53, in a little 'berg called Oregonia, just spittin' distance south of Dayton, Ohi-ee. I was a-coming over the fence when one of them damned Gooney Birds came outta nowhere, cut right in front of me! Before I knew it, my windscreen was filled with Douglas, and there was nothin' I could do but hang on for the ride. And true as the sun shines, I throttled back, slowed her to stall, and dropped my gear right onto the Gooney's back...and rode that sucker right down to the numbers.
Or something like that. O.K., you might have already figured out that the hanger flying tale above was just fun with fiction, but you know those stories are out there by the thousands, waiting to be told. And a year or so ago, I stumbled across the people who I believe should be considered the Gatekeepers to All Aviation Stories of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

EAA's Timeless Voices of Aviation (TVA) oral history program coordinated is a valuable archive of video interviews with a long and very important list of interviewees such as Dr. Peggy Chabrian, Founder and President of Women in Aviation International, Aircraft Designer Burt Rutan, Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson and General Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay. According to a very good article about the program on Aero News Network, over 756 people in the aviation world have given their story, many of them just regular hamburger chasers like you and me.

According to the TVA site, their goals are lofty but extremely important to aviation history:
(1) To collect thousands of first person video oral history recordings from individuals who have impacted aviation’s development. (2) To document and preserve these recordings for future generations of family members, teachers, students, historians and others. (3) To make the recordings accessible through an on-line video history archive, and initiatives such as Museum displays and TV productions. (4) To engage thousands of volunteers in the rewarding process of gathering video oral history recordings.
Of course, it takes lots of leg power to amass this important video archive, which is where you come in. If you have an off-the-shelf digital video camera and want to help, read the following:
Timeless Voices has made it easy for volunteers with a free project kit that can be requested. The kit contains release forms, checklists, the biographical data needed from the subject, tips and sample questions on conducting the interview. Potential volunteers can contact them via email. A volunteer can perform one interview, perhaps someone in the local area they know with a story to tell or the volunteer can be a "have camera, will travel" type.
To sample some of these great video interviews, go here and select a category such as Commercial, Military, WW II, Performers, Pioneers, Recreational or Space. And while you're on this awesome site, be sure to give special thanks to the Robert A. "Bob" and Susan C. Wilson Foundation for generous support of the Timeless Voices of Aviation program. of the most important acronym organizations in all of aviation. And each summer, they are the Kings of All Who Fly, the Guardians of Airplane Mecca, the hosts to the World's Largest Fly-in and Flying Machine Orgy. EAA'ers are a jovial and tireless group of aviators who always know the best ways to boil Brats in Beer and Onions before throwing them on the grill, truly some of America's finest who will give you the shirt off their backs, if you're in need of a shirt.

Damn, those people at EAA just keep bringin' it, don'tcha know.

You Might Also Like