FLYING JOURNAL - It's a Small World, It's a Big World

Now I get to fly more again and that resulted in a more eventful aviation month. Cinda Rodgers flew a beautiful first solo at Springfield Downtown Airport (3DW) in the Cessna 172 she shares with Lynn. She also had to perform with an audience. There was a large outdoor concert at Cooper Park, with skydivers for extra thrills. The skydivers were staging and landing between the park and the runway, right where Cinda touched down on each of her landings. They reported she made excellent landings.

Even though I learned to fly at 3DW, I don't think I have soloed anyone else at that airport. I also realized it's been about ten years since my own first solo at 3DW.

Aviation is a Small World, continued:

Now my students are starting to fly jets, and I'm starting to feel left behind! Former Pro flight Air CFI, Bob Dobson, whom I trained for IFR, Commercial, and CFII ratings is now flying right seat in a Citation for Jack Henry Associates of Monett. Doug Jackson and I shared some of the training duties for another former Pro Flight CFI, Fred Reed. Fred just went to work flying right seat in a Citation for Coca-Cola with my cousin, Tom Holmer. I say again, aviation is a small world, and congrats to Bob and Fred.

And the Big Aviation World:

Actually, this dispatch is coming to you from Indianapolis, where I am visiting my granddaughter Claire. We realized Dayton, Ohio is only a hundred nautical miles away, so we drove over to see the Air force Museum. It's pretty amazing.

Actually, after about 4 hours, I was getting a bit jaded by scores of old Air Force jets. I realize I am actually more interested in smaller GA aircraft, like the things I have flown myself. But the museum has very high quality exhibits.

For example, they have over a dozen of the O-series light observation aircraft, all suspended in a row high in the hangar. In fact, everywhere you look, there is a second tier of aircraft suspended above the primary level. The second level alone would make a grand aviation museum.

While many museums will have P-51 and a B-17 or B-25, this museum has all the rare birds, the P-61 and P-80 and B-24 and B-26 and real rarities like the B-36 and B-58 and the rare F-107 and X-3, even the lone surviving XB-70 Valkyrie.

Spacecraft and rockets are included, from a V-2 engine cutaway to the Apollo 15 Command Module. (The scorching evident from re-entry is especially dramatic).

Of course there was no way to do justice to the museum in one day. Next time I'm saving the Presidential Hangar, lots of small but interesting exhibits about individual military units and battles, and the 72 plaques and stories of all the AAF and USAF personnel who have been awarded the Medal of Honor!

Happy and safe vacationing and flying!

Earl


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