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Old 07-19-2006, 11:42 PM   #1
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Airstream and Flyboys...a connection?

We've been finding more pilots here on the forum so thought a thread for all the aviators in the crowd might be appropriate. This will be the place to identify yourself as a past, present...or wannabe pilot.

Seeing as I started the thread I'll go first.

I have a license, current medical and 1500 total time SEL / MEL. But I've been out of the saddle for quite some time now. Renewed my medical last year with the intent to go out and get a BFR and spend some money.... the best laid plans.

I started backwards... was an aviation photographer, then learned to fly. I've also worked in the industry as a market researcher/buyer/broker....etc.

As a result of the above I've slipped in and out of more types than most 1500 hour pilots. From C-150 to Mooney 231 for singles, Piper Seminole, Seneca piston twins, King Air 90's 100's, and even some Citation right seat time.

But the most "fun" flying I've ever done was rotorcraft. I'd still like to fly nothing else if someone else paid the bills.

So, what's your story? We all know that aluminitus comes in many shapes and sizes. Some rolls, some floats, some flies!

Tell us your flying story. I just like the look of rivets.

Glen Coombe AIR #8416
1984 28' Funeral Coach
Former Rolling Showroom & PuttLab (now party bus)
"I'm not an expert. But I did sleep in an Airstream last night."
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:07 AM   #2
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No I've never flown a B-25, but would love to (and not old enough to say I could have). I'm a flying junkie, started flying my dad's Baron twin at 14 years and have even wandered into the left seat of a B767-200 (another story) in over 30 years of playing. I'm in the flight simulation business, have been for 21 years, so I get to do a lot of field work i.e. data gathering . Spent 21 years in the Army Reserve, flew OH-6, OH-58, UH-1H and CH-47...I agree Glen, rotary wing is my real passion. Part-owned a family FBO in Montana up until a few months ago, source of many types to log. I have been an A/S fan since childhood, maybe because they looked so much like the C-130 my dad used to fly in the USAF.
Our coach is called the "Hemisphere Dancer" taken from Jimmy Buffet's Grumman Albatross he personally flies (and I'm also a serious "parrot head", have been since college).

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Old 07-20-2006, 07:16 AM   #3
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It is all in the Aluminum

I wonder how many of these I have flown?
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:39 AM   #4
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I have flown a B-25 and ...

a lot of other birds.

I enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict when college money ran out. After Radar school, I went into flying school and soloed a T-6 on August 24, 1952 at Maldin, MO. After T-6 Basic at San Angelo, I transitioned to T-33 at Waco. I missed being shipped out to Korea by hours when the treaty was signed. I went to Perrin where I became first a T-33 instrument instructor and then a supersonic F-86D Sabre all-weather interceptor instructor. Our base ops had B-25s, C-25s, and C-47s for use in moving personnel and they used the fighter squadron pilots as co-pilots. I flew as co-pilot in all of these types at one time or another. The B-25 is a terribly heavy and noisy beast when one is used to a F-86, but it was my idol as a boy and I was excited to get to fly one.

In 1956, most non-degreed pilots were discharged and I joined IBM. I was called up for the 2nd Berlin crisis and spent a year in Europe flying T-33 as the utility pilot for a F-84F squadron. I started to check out in the F-84F, but I was again let go when the Berlin crisis ended. I then flew C-119C and C-123 in the reserves for a few years before being retired.

In civilian life, I have owned an Aeronca Champ, a Piper TriPacer, a Cessna 195. and partnerships in several sailplanes including a Phoebus and a Slingsby.

I quit flying a couple of years ago when I moved too far from the soaring field.

My Airstream is named "Sabre-Dog" in honor of the F-86 Sabre.
John W. Irwin
2005 Classic 28 "Sabre-Dog III"
2013 Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison LTZ
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
I wonder how many of these I have flown?
and your father and your son [and grandson] could have flown them, too!

OK, I'll pitch in. Got my license in 1968. About 3500 hours, all pilot in command. 350 combat missions in Vietnam. C172, Blanik, King Air, H-13, Piper Arrow, T-38, T-39, F-100, A-37, T-33, A-7, F-4, F-117 and a few flights in F-16, F-15, KC-135, 737, F-101, F-106, B-26, and Huey.

Seems like half the guys I flew with became astronauts. I reached for that brass ring and missed--in retrospect, probably the luckiest failure ever. You can't do an aileron roll in the Shuttle (rules, not aerodynamics, and I'm in the "doesn't conform well" group, you know). But it was crushing at the time.

Built a BD-5 back in 1972, but the engine problem never got resolved. Maybe that's when I got aluminitus.

Looking seriously at building a Sinus 912 motor-glider--great powered specs and decent soaring capability with a side-by-side cockpit! With 30+ mpg and 700 mile range, decent cruise speed as well as slow flight, it makes a great touring aircraft with its all-plexiglass doors (can be opened in flight for great photography).

Unfortunately, I won't make Oshkosh this year.

I took this photo back in 1981, posted here in Avatar size.

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Old 07-20-2006, 07:51 AM   #6
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Very cool, guys! Here we learn things about each other we never would have known. B25, like you I'm a Parrothead. I was a founding member, VP, President, perpetual MC of the Ocala Parrothead Club.
We've got some serious Flyboy experience here on the Airstream Forums!
Glen Coombe AIR #8416
1984 28' Funeral Coach
Former Rolling Showroom & PuttLab (now party bus)
"I'm not an expert. But I did sleep in an Airstream last night."
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:00 AM   #7
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Hail to Rosey the Riveter!

I'm not a pilot and have never flown a plane for longer than 3 minutes but as the son of an old B17 pilot (see ) I've always been fascinated with flight. I think my affinity to Airstream is definitely influenced by the very inspiration that early aircraft contstruction had on A/S. I have a photo of my dad standing right next to a non OD B17 and you can see his reflection off of shiney aluminum amidst the rivets. I too am a rivet freak!
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:55 AM   #8
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I have flown for many years - about 2000 hours total, but currently inactive. I have Commercial/Instrument/Multi/CFI. I have owned a Cherokee, an old Bonanza for 10 years, and a Twin Comanche for 8 years.

I co-owned a small flight school for a few years (we had a C-150, several Piper Warriors, a Piper Arrow, a Rockwell Commander 112, and two Twin Comanches). It was a marginally profitable venture, so I sold out to my partner. Later he sold out to someone else who went bust.

The price of insurance, parts, and now gas have put aviation beyond what I am willing to spend now. Perhaps I will try an airplane partnership in the future???
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:12 AM   #9
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I am a Military Aircraft Inspector . On a Chinook project , I am impressed by the "Flyboys" hours and military aircrarts beem used here, Its AWESOME , Hats Off to you Men!!!! It takes "Gonads" , Scott
Movie Stars and Film Crews come to Me from hundreds of miles enticed by My knowledge, My imagination,expertise, creativity and innovations!
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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Well...I have a pilot's license, but I'm not sure I should be on the same list with you guys. geez, what I wouldn't give for a resume like that.....

I solo'd at 16, license at of "those" kids . Never really accumulated all that much time, though. I got a Navy slot shortly after college, and just before training began, we got "one more" physical, where they discovered a congenital heart defect, and that was the end of my flying career. (there were lots and lots of preliminaries; plus I had been dealing with both the AirForce AND the Army for a slot in their programs, too...I was IN the national guard, and a civilian pilot=I was getting what were supposed to be extremely thorough physicals every time I turned around. so this really came out of left field).
class I or II medical is out of the question; classIII is highly questionable.

I was able to fly a little in fits and starts for a few years, but then my old, easy going, hard of hearing flight surgeon suddenly got himself some ears during my last medical...funny how they start paying attention once you've got a few grey hairs. We were on the "don't ask/don't tell" system for a while. (well, ok, it was the "don't tell" system. ) But now, my last medical has expired, and I'm stuck takin' the bus.
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:57 AM   #11
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I've only got about 200 hours so I pale next to you guys. I'm real enthusiastic though

Been an EAA member for many years and am designing a couple birds I want to build. One is a 300mph 4-seater to be powered by a Donovan big block V8; should give a Lancair IV a run for its money, another is a flying boat, another is a bush type plane. I was working on a biplane design too but seem to go off and on with it. They're not real practical for a family man, but boy are they fun!

I have time in the usual C-150's, 152's, 172's, and got a lot of flying in on a C-206. I liked that plane a lot. Have flown a Luscombe and two biplanes, a Waco UPF-7 (beautiful plane) and a Stearman. Of them all, the Stearman was my favorite. I'd love to have one of those!

You guys that flew the big iron in the Air Force, I'm insanely jealous of you , but in a good way . My dream growing up was to be a USAF pilot. But I wound up haveing to get glasses. So much for that. Went the aerospace engineering route. Tried Seattle for awhile but missed the country, so now I build bridges (aka "targets").

Got my eyes lasered in May though, so what was once 20/500 is now 20/18. I wonder if USAF would take me at 36? Kinda doubt it...

I love helos too, even if they don't actually fly but beat the air into submission. HA!

I rode in "Fuddy Duddy", a B17, last September. That totally rocked! Imagine four cammed up radials burning high test gasoline....yeah it was like nirvana. I've worked on jets. Yeah they're faster, but they don't seem alive like the Fortress did. When I win the Powerball, I'm gonna buy one!

Oh yeah, the fuselage of the B17 was pretty much just like my Airstream
- Jim
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:58 AM   #12
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Chuck, your hair looks plenty dark to me in your picture there. I don't see a bit of gray
- Jim
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:34 PM   #13
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I'm in...

Thanks for start Glen...

My dad was sent to LA in 1939 to work with designers at North American and Jack Northrop as the Aluminum Company expert on alloys and castings and forgings, so I grew up hearing about the development of the Mustang with Edgar Schmued and Northrop's Flying Wings (including the true story of their cancellation by the Air Force..) He never flew, except when he could persuade corporate pilots to let him have yoke of Lear or Gulfstream, but arranged a flight for me at age 12 that got me hooked. Fascinated by Frank Kingston Smith (Weekend Pilot author) and his Comanche. Started lessons in Piper Colt at 16, licensed at 17 (mowed a lot of lawns and shoveled a lot of snow..), went to college and discovered eyesight so bad Army wouldn't even let me fly helicopters in 1968, so no military career..

Added commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings and quit defense job to sell Cessna's in Palo Alto in 1970's.. Flew pretty much everything from tail draggers to pressurized twins that we could sell or demo in Palo Alto, and I was also running flight department towards the end, doing everything but flying the charters.. Dealer went broke after 18 months (bad maintenance shop problems..) and I got real job in high tech and bought Piper Comanche 180 on same day. Have owned it 28 years, and flown it to British Columbia, Oshkosh, southern California and lots of other places. Just retired, and trying to fly more, and considering finding part time job back in the business.. Only 7 more years to earn Wright Brothers award from FAA..

Enjoyed opportunity to visit Oshkosh by Airstream last year and write about it in Airstream Life, and enjoyed meeting variety of people fascinated by rivets with wheels and with wings...

Pictures of Colt at Oshkosh that didn't make magazine, and of Comanche over Monterey Bay...

John McG
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In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:00 PM   #14
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Lunch-time, Feb., 1962.....
That's when the ' 1st ' aluminum bug bit me. I was home from school watching John Glen's orbit/splash down and was stricken!!! I knew then
I was meant to fly!! I don't have the experience most of you have but
that's where my true passion lies.
I started flying at 16, and have enjoyed it ever since. Mostly SEL with
350 hrs multi (turbo-seneca and a little C-90).
I haven't been in the saddle for a while, but plan on 'hitching-up' real

I was watching an FAA program a couple of weeks back and the guest
was stating common characteristics of pilots. He stated that they were
usually the first born or if not, they picked up 'the slack' in the family where
their siblings dropped the ball, and that they were adventurous/risktakers.
Maybe between the adventurous part and the love of aluminum, maybe
there is a connection !!!

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