Thursday, March 19, 2015

Airframe or Family Member

Ginger flying her Cub.
Planes, are they machines or family members?  It never ceases to amaze me how people become so attached to them.  I bet each of you can name one you'll never forget. Ginger's Cub is a great example.
Several years ago we heard from the family of the original owner.  Their dad used to fly it all over Maine with his dog in the back seat.  While he was still getting around fairly well, family members arranged for him to see it once again. Pictures were taken and memories shared.  Like the horse of a frontiersman, to him it was a trusted friend; to family they were one.  It was a great experience.
Photo taken over Joe-Mary Lake near Millinocket, Maine.
If you own old planes you almost always end up with one such moment.  The other day a second one found us.  It was an email about the Cub.  Someone on the other end was looking catch up with it (N88734).  Their father had been the second owner.  And, once again, their memories of a person carried were married to a machine.
The first email led to an exchange of messages that eventually contained the photo above.  Dad flying the Cub is a fond memory many people share.  Sandy Haynes is one such person and has the image to keep it sharp.  Now, we do too.  And, to top it all off, Sandy has the original logbook that has been missing since 1960.
Soon, this treasured piece of aviation history will join the other logs so that it's story can be better told to future owner; numerous may they be.  Hopefully, one day someone will even tell the story of its time at a grass field field in Indiana.  If it's as relatively far in the future as the most recent discovery, that'll be 2070; one hundred and twenty-four years after its birth.

2 comments: said...

"Airplane or Family Member"

Last Fall, as a result of a landing accident, my 1939 J3 Cub was badly damaged. It was rendered into scrap status as a result. In the months that followed the accident, I debated the wisdom of purchasing the remains from the insurance company. Ultimately I made the purchase and brought my horribly crippled old friend back to my hangar.

I tell myself someday I just might rebuild her, but I don't really believe that. I have the data plate and the logs going back to the mid 1950's. To me, she is alive as long as those items exist. I'll find a way to see that she is rebuilt at some point in the future.

My dream is to know that someday she will roll her tires off of a grass runway and once again create life defining memories for someone as she did for me.

Until that day, I purchase a 1941 J3 to keep her company when the hangar doors are closed.

She is "Family" and for me it never was a question.

Bern Heimos

Unknown said...

My old 46 Ercoupe is a member of my family. My late wife, Mary Alice, "let" me buy it in 2003. Since then, it's been babied and upgraded and admired outrageously. It's always fun to fly it into a strange field and have people either say, "What the heck is that?" or "My Grandfather had one like that." When I can fly her, I visit her in the hangar just to buff her up a little and say hello. I've never treated cars that way..must be sumpin' magic.

Jim Snyder
Morgantown, WV