Flightline Friday re-post: The “almost” F-15

There is more about the North American candidate here than I have found anywhere else. KUDOS to the creator of this post

A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

Most people have at least some small familiarity with the mighty McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle.  First entering service in 1974, the Eagle has been the mainstay US air superiority aircraft for 40 years (uhhh….which isn’t exactly good that it’s been that long – can you imagine Wright Flyers fighting WWII?).  It’s a beautiful ship.  It has an unparalleled air to air combat record  – over 100 kills and zero losses (although, the quality of the opposition does sort of diminish that record).  But what everyone knows as the F-15 could have been a radically different, and in some ways even more capable, aircraft, had things gone a bit differently.

The military, in particular, almost never produces a weapon system without a competition within private industry to try to find the very best product available.  The competition that produced the F-15 was started in the late 60’s and was…

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Lincoln Flyer November 2016

Here is the Lincoln Flyer published last month. I just realized I can PUBLISH it here at WordPress, and I intend to publish the previous nine issues here as soon as possible. Please read them and please support AeroKnow Museum.

Best wishes to you and yours for a warm, rewarding and reverent Christmas!

 

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WELCOME Room in Transition

The ground floor AeroKnow Museum office, a/k/a WELCOME Room, is moving to a new location on the ground  floor, further into the building housing  Stellar Aviation, formerly  Horizon Aviation. Rob Fisher, long-time  owning partner and all the terrific people employed by Horizon remain on the Stellar payroll; excellent news since they’re a terrific aviation professionals. I’ll share more about the new operator next week.

About a week ago Rob reminded me that about six  years ago we had agreed that if and when the FBO found a business who wanted to pay rent for the prime-visibility room he was letting AeroKnow Museum use for no charge, he would necessarily engage that business. Before we walked down  the hall to see the space, he told me he thought I would like the new location. He was right.

The stroll was down the hall past the rest rooms, the break room and into a large room that looks like this.
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In the weeks to come the furnishings in that room will change along with the signage on the heavy glass door entrance. AeroKnow Museum’s new WELCOME Room will be inside the first door on the  left in the hall to the rear of the large room. A major PLUS in the new location is that visitors may walk through to the Models  Room which  will display built models and model kits. There are windows with a view of the adjacent parking lot and the general aviation ramp to the left.

The next few pictures show how the rooms looked October 14 before anything was moved into them.

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Looking north toward the parking lot and terminal, visible on the right is the entrance into the Models Room.

Though showing evidence of former occupiers the WELCOME and Models Rooms are in too shape. Replacement  ceiling tiles will fill  gaps created earlier.

Both non-functioning rest rooms will be moderately renovated and will contain book cases with reference materials in easy reach for future consultation.

Lacking at present is a strong signal from the wireless network provider and for  that  reason, museum operations will continue in the current WELCOME Room. Resources remaining in the current room will be minimal, but AKM WELCOMES visitors who want to see the new rooms and tour the rest of the museum rooms upstairs.

If YOU would like to visit, please email — akm@eosinc.com — to let me know what day   and what hour of the day you want to stop by and give me at least half a day to respond,  so I can confirm I will be here.

Thanks for reading this post and for your support of AeroKnow Museum. Have a great day!

 

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“You Have One or Two Years”

For three decades, visitors to the AeroKnow Museum at my home often said, “Man, what are you going to do when you have to MOVE all of this?  Since moving into our new home at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport,  more visitors than ever are asking, “Man, where is all of this going to go when you DIE?”

Here’s a nutty circumstance to consider. Here you are, four days after a thorough physical check-up by a respected physician you’ve known for years. You’ve just stepped out of your car and started toward the supermarket entrance when your doctor pulls up next to you and rolls down his window; says the words quoted in the headline above.

About two months ago,  those words were spoken by the gentleman who just over six years ago had invited me to move AeroKnow Museum (AKM) from my home to empty rooms at the airport. That invitation was the best thing that ever happened in my life while I was wearing socks!  In May, I contacted him, inviting him to walk across the parking lot when he had a few minutes to see the improvements I’d made since his last escorted tour. He responded that with his busy schedule, it was hard to set a day and time. He’d come over when he could, and if I was there, that would be great (words to that effect). I welcomed and dreaded the director’s dropping by. Why the dread? Earlier this year some engineers and toured the upstairs rooms, part of the process of making recommendations about the future of the building, which has served as home to FBOs and other businesses since it was completed in 1947. That visit confirmed that the process of replacing the structure was formally under way. The anticipated director’s visit would, surely, more clearly reveal the anticipated time line and perhaps present some options regarding the future of AeroKnow Museum at the airport. The words quoted in this post’s title came to me in the parking lot. He had just arrived as I was exiting the building to take a few pictures, so we conversed convivially and briefly as his vehicle idled, and he indicated he would visit sometime.

. . . . . . Since then I’ve thought long and anxiously about the future of AeroKnow Museum. From the looks on some faces I see regularly, I can almost read in their eyes and demeanor that they know more than I know. For now I am reasonably confident — given the obvious regard for the museum that led to its coming together out here, starting May 27, 2010 — that when it’s important for me to know more, I will be told more. It does not advance the mission of AKM for me to carry myself around here as though I am treading water in a turbid tide of cataclysmic dimension. So I don’t, and won’t.

Earlier this year while talking with one of the owners of the FBO which hosts AKM I mentioned the then-recent visit by the architectural engineers. He responded, explaining that plans to replace the building are in process, that there would be space for AKM, but there would be fewer square feet available.

As we ease into August, I am considering the future of AeroKnow Museum, approaching my 69th birthday in early September, in excellent health and physical condition, grateful for every hour I spend at my favorite airport. Given the support demonstrated by the aviation community and general public in central Illinois, I must confess that a smaller museum would certainly benefit yours truly, Job Conger.

The president of another local aviation history group which I have served as a board member for the past three years has offered AeroKnow Museum a deal. If  I will write a certified letter promising to declare, in a revised “last will and testament,” that when I die, AKM will be donated to this group, they will try to provide some volunteer help for AKM by arranging with a local college for students to help in return for “work-study credit.” As board members of said organization, not one of them is willing to lift a finger to help, though I have helped them as time permitted over the years. . . . . . . . . I declined the offer because of reasons I may explain later via this blog.

As a not-for-profit corporation — 501 (c) 3 — AKM must transfer assets to other organizations of the same kind.  If there are PRINCIPALS (officers, board members, curators) of other aviation history organizations interested in acquiring some of our resources, respond via email  akm@eosinc.com because later may be too late.

Thanks for reading this post and for your support of AeroKnow Museum.

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Part 4 – AC-47 “Spooky” Trip to Urbana, OHIO

AC47-y55The question of the moment was: Since (the airport golf cart driver explained) everyone connected to the Champaign Aviation Museum was in the middle of a membership meeting,  would they also have locked the front door on the public side of the security fence?  With his gate pass card. it was a short drive to the front of the museum where I successfully opened the door and thanked my new friend for his hospitality. For the next five minutes in that beautiful  facility I fast-walked around the exhibits like I had ants in my pants. I could  probably have been arrested for how fast I covered the floor space, and for darn few pictures . . . .

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The star of this show is the B-17 “Champaign Lady” which is being restored from FIVE different B-17s, using the best parts from partially intact aircraft and fabricating new parts where possible. I had visited the project about five years ago. I was amazed (again) by the quality of craftsmanship throughout!

I knew time was of the essence, that Keith knew where I was, but I did not want to inconvenience him and Chuck by lingering longer than absolutely necessary. As I started to head back to “Spooky,” I detoured long enough to take a few more pictures near the building . . .

It was an easy walk back to “Spooky” at the opposite end of the drive shown here culminating at CAM. Keith told me my timing was good. Chuck was on his way back with the rental car. Happily I was able to visit the open hangar of theGrimes aircraft lighting operation just a few yards from our big bird.

Chuck pulled into the airport parking lot with the rental car as I exited the Grimes hanger, and in a few minutes, Keith and I joined him. It was a delight seeing Urbana for the first time in about four years.

It was a fine journey home. The car’s computer/voice talked to driver and navigator as much as we talked to each other. I’m not used to being interrupted by a computer, but if the opportunity ever arises again, to share more of it with the intrepid airmen courtesy of Chuck, Keith and “Spooky” Squadron of Topeka, you can be sure I will be good to go. As the sun set I took the following to pictures. Thanks again for a terrific Wednesday!

 

 

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pt. 3 – AC-47 “Spooky” Flight to Urbana, OHIO

Before leaving Spooky, I took a picture of the firepower on the port side of the cabin. Visitors to the weekend veterans’ gathering would not be “touring” the inside.
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The first place were directed to park Big Bird was, on second look, not the  best place for free movement of aircraft onto the ramp from nearby T-hangars, so Captain and Co fired up the engines and re-positioned her.


Chuck had arranged for the local Enterprise Rent-A-Car business to have a car waiting for us about 2 pm. We would grab some lunch at the airport diner and be back in Springfield with time to spare. He and Keith headed for the admin offices and cafe. I stayed with the airplane awhile and talked with visitors. By the time I rejoined inside, they had finished their lunch, and told me the airport would buy mine was well.

High on my “to do list” was to tour the Champaign Air Museum, a fairly short hike down the airport grounds from the Airport Cafe.

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This sign, facing the ramp, greeting arriving aircrews and friends in front of admin and Cafe is a nice touch. I had visited the museum a few years ago during a delightful occasion when I was part of the dedication of the renovated Johnny Appleseed Museum at the local college. I was eager to return.

I returned to “Spooky” to check with Keith to see how much time we had. He explained Chuck was in Urbana getting a car for us, didn’t know how long he’d be. I explained I was going to fast-walk down to have a fast look and take pictures.


I knew I was running out of time, and I didn’t want Chuck and Keith to have to come looking for me so we could “westward ho.” My time inside Champaign Air Museum was less than ten minutes and I took only a few pictures. Those pictures, and more from the rest of my visit to the Grimes aircraft lighting array in the ramp-side of their offices,  and the details of our journey homeward will be shared in part four of our saga.

Thanks for reading this post.

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Late Resolution re Der Adlers

If I could “do over” 25 seconds of my life or erase them from my memory, those 25 seconds would vaporize last winter’s discovery of several issues of the German World War II propaganda magazine MISSING from AeroKnow Museum’s Magazine Room.
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The revelation his me like a sledge hammer delivered with maximum malice and power to my solar plexus. The dismay over someone entering the unlocked door and leaving with the priceless magazines sent to me by a long-forgotten correspondent in Belgium was worse than any woe I have experienced since setting up the museum out here in 2010. It was my fault. I hadn’t paid attention to locking the doors upstairs. During my hours and hours away from the airport who had seen the magazines and where I had put them after showing them to the visitor, could have walked upstairs un-noticed by anyone in the lobby, placed them inside an overcoat and exited in less than five minutes. The worst part about the disappearance was that I KNEW I had to KNOW the THIEF. I had my suspicions, my “suspects,” and I informed the airport security people — Tim Franke and his terrific team — about the loss.  It’s been months since the incident happened, but the disappearance has never been a distant memory.

I am exceedingly relieved today to report that I now know the name of the person who made those Der Adlers disappear. His name is  Job Conger.

Yesterday,  June 28, I was giving my friend had AKM supporter John Holland a complete tour of the upstairs rooms. Earlier in the visit he had brought some books, including a 1954 US Air Force Flight Surgeon’s Manual and seen other parts of the museum, including the Books and Miscellaneous Files Room, pictured below — the same room which, for several years, had been headquarters of of the fabulous Springfield Air Rendezvous air show.  He’s holding an issue of Springfield Skyways a newsletter I wrote and produced more than 10 years ago.
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Our last stop on that tour was the Magazine Room. One of the niftiest parts of that assemblage was a modest collection of LIFE magazines, big extra-large magazines that could be used to cover and hide a boxed pizza, should such a need ever arise, unlikely though it would be. As I separated some of the LIFES, showing John the covers (F-80 pilot in 1946, Yuri Gagarin with Nikita Kruschev, Winston Churchill)  I discovered the missing Der Adler magazines! Last winter, in a flash of ill-considered “wisdom” I had placed them under the slightly  larger magazines to protect them from excessive exposure to light and to keep them away from the eyes of more casual visitors. My action of probably 25 seconds of  consideration and action was totally, almost instantly, forgotten. Hence my dismay that came after.

John graciously posed for a picture holding one of the issues. I did not tell him how downright elated I was to have discovered those publications because I would have revealed a museum director (me) to be more bleeping excited than the occasion warranted.
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So the Der Adlers are officially back where they need to be, behind a locked door. I will be arranging to photograph every page of each of them so I can share content with visitors and supporters more securely in the future.

I never accused by  name, any of those who had seen the them of stealing them. So no apologies seem appropriate here.   I  appreciate the sympathies and support shared with me when the agony of their apparent theft was deeply felt.

I’ll be more careful — and cognizant of what the heck I’m doing — in the  future, that’s for sure.

Thanks for reading this post.

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