(photographs by Job Conger)
“I was the Hawker captain you showed so many things to.
“I was flying the Hawker 700 N26SC that you took pictures of.
“You have an amazing collection, and I just wanted to say how impressed and delighted I was to meet you and get an autographed copy of your book. I will treasure it.
There are not many of us kindred souls who appreciate the magnitude of your knowledge.
“I was so impressed that I could just pull a name out of my hat. . . like the Brown B-2 ‘Miss Miami’ and you would have all kinds of information on the racers . . . from the 30s. . . .
“You are a jewel of knowledge, and I hope to get a chance to meet you again, soon.
“Thank you for showing me how kids in the 40s made models . . . I had no idea. Those templates really made me think about it.
“Over the years I have got to know many old timers in aviation and listened to their stories. We just don’t have any idea what they did to advance us all . . . things are taken for granted . . . . and things are lost. God bless you for all you have done to preserve that!
“I used to fly Beech 18s and everything you can imagine over the past 30 years.
“I had a new co-pilot today. He doesn’t have a clue what we are talking about. It makes me sad, but I hope things will get better.
“We got back to Chicago with the organ transplant and it went fine. I’ve done that dozens of times. It’s good to save a life, but what you’re doing is important too.
“Keep doing what you are doing. I consider you a life-long buddy.
“Thank you again”