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Straight and Level – August 2016

GeoffHeaderby Geoff Robison, VAA President
VAA Life Member 12606, EAA Life Member 268346

Welcome back and thanks for reading the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association’s Vintage Air Mail e-Newsletter.

HOLY COW! Oshkosh AirVenture 2016 was nothing short of amazing. I was particularly pleased to see so many Antiques parked in the Vintage area this year. It has been at least a decade since we last saw so many Antiques come to Oshkosh. To me this phenomenon drives home the idea that there continues to be strong interest among our Membership to maintain and fly these iconic aircraft to the World’s Greatest Aviation event.

Did you see it? Did you get a picture of it? Certainly you know what I’m talking about, right? Come on, have you ever seen eight (8) Spartan Executives all in a row? No you have not, because there has never been such a gathering with eight Spartans on any field or airport until it actually happened at Oshkosh 2016.

I really have to mention here that the Spartan Anniversary event would have never come together without the passion of James B. Savage, of Gibsonia, PA, the owner of Spartan Ser. #17. Many thanks to JB, and all of the Spartan owners who made the effort and investment to have this display of eight Spartans become a grand reality at AirVenture 2016.

In memory of Buck Hilbert: Deeper into this e-Newsletter you will find a more fitting “Gone West” tribute to Buck Hilbert who died August 3rd. at the age of 91. I have to comment here that Buck was not only a great friend, he was truly a class act. My fondest memory of our friendship goes back to many years ago when he and I were attending the opening day ceremony of the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum in Chantilly, VA. We were standing directly in front of the B-29 Enola Gay when a demonstrator threw a glass jar of red paint directly over my right shoulder at the aircraft and it struck the #2 nacelle. It did leave a small (easily repaired) dent on the nacelle, and the jar of red paint shattered when it hit the brand new floor.

We looked around and there were about a dozen people pointing at the guy who threw the jar of paint, and as he began to dash from the crowd we were hot on his heels. Very quickly, Law Enforcement had the guy on the ground, and as they were handcuffing him, my buddy Buck was headed right over to this guy. As you can imagine, I had to physically hold Buck back from interfering with the Officers apprehension of the culprit. Buck told me later, “I wasn’t going to hit him, I just wanted to give him a piece of my mind”. That was my never shy friend Buck! We will miss you buddy!

“Oshkosh 2017…it’s going to be another great one!” Hope to see you there.

Always remember, we are better together! Share your passion for Vintage Aircraft at every opportunity. It is never too early to begin your planning to attend the “World’s Greatest Aviation Event”.

Thanks for being a Member, and we hope to see you at Oshkosh 2017. July 24th thru 30th.

The adventure lives on!

 

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