Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Legendary Flying Machine Returns to the Air

There’s one kind of phone call I always love to receive.  On the other end of the line is a good friend with great news.  And although they almost always try to conceal it, the excitement in their voice can never be fully constrained.  Those are truly special moments.  Two days ago was the latest.
When you watch an aircraft project begin, often it is hard to imagine the finished product.  For something like a Jenny, the problem always lies with fully grasping how many man hours will be required.  You look at fragments of wood, bent and broken metal, and think, “an army of talented men would take 20 years”.  But it’s never really that bad and somewhere around year 19 ½, you get the call, “We flew the Jenny today”, and you think, “Wow, that was much quicker than I expected”.
Soon after you learn such news, you too begin to get excited.  In your mind, far away you see your friends accomplishing what was most likely a lifetime dream and you can’t help but smile.  There on that patch of grass a group of people stood marking time, kicking at the unseen objects, pacing in circles, and making small talk.  Everyone was nervous but none were willing to show it; all of them wanting to help but few knowing how.  It’s not every day you get to see a vision develop into an experience of the senses.  Therefore, it’s not uncommon for spectators to be more excited than the builders whose minds are far more concerned with everything going well.  Only afterwards when the final cylinder has fired, the first flights have been made, and she’s sitting there silent on the grass do the owners begin to get giddy.  And in your mind, all those miles away, you can see the smile sweeping across their face.  It’s a great experience and you weren’t even there.
This Hisso Jenny will be based at Peach State Aerodrome.
Such is the allure of an old stringbag.  Demanding craftsmanship, skill, and the concerted efforts of many, machines like this Jenny bring people together in ways they never thought possible and leave them with some forgotten part of their soul reignited.
Congratulations go out to Brian Karli and Ron Alexander on the first flight(s) of their “Hisso Jenny”.  It’s about time our geographic area of the country (South of Pennsylvania and East of Texas) got such a plane and to know this one was built to fly as often as possible makes it that much more exciting.  Thanks for seeing it through.
Below are some videos from the day of the first flight:
*And here is a link to Brian's blog about the restoration.  This has been one of the better rebuild blogs I've followed.  Check it out.

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