Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Plane on Little Field

I took a scenic route home from work yesterday.  It brought me past the little grass airfield, the sort of place with no control tower, the sort of place where pilots radio in their approaches if they feel like it, and overfly before landing to get a peek at which way the windsock is pointing.  

There was a huge WWII era troop transporter parked by the offices.  It seemed surreal to see something of that scale parked in the grass.  It was a tail-dragger, chin up, with the US Army star painted on the tail and the wings.   A proud mama-plane looming over her children.  I thought, "gosh," and turned around to take a look.  When it comes to airplanes I'm a ten year old boy inside.  

Unfortunately my cellphone camera does not do it justice.  But you get the idea.

The folks out in front of the hangar office were tired of answering questions about her. One of them was kind of a dick about it. Full on sarcasm: "You're the first person to ask about that plane all day."

"I'm sure that's not true," I said.

"You'd think we were having an air-show. Someone else tell him about it. I can't go through it again."

An actual ten year old boy who was hanging out at the airfield obliged me.  Apparently it belongs to a wealthy enthusiast from South Carolina, and it's here for some maintenance. (Really, was that so hard?)

This airport offers glider and biplane rides.  I joked that it looked like they were expanding their operation.

The kid's father said, "No, we can't give rides on that. The operating costs would be too high."

"I bet it burns a ton of fuel," I said.  

"It burns 100 gallons an hour."

Oh, proud mama plane, so noble and strong. Why must you be so thirsty?


  1. I am sorry you had such an experience. There was a wwII air show here resently and they could not have been more accomadating. It was very surreal to crawl through those and hear of all the details. Now when I see movies and pictures I will know what it really is all about. Gives new meaning to what our boys went through. It is a shame they work at an airport and have no heart for such beauty. Why do people have to be such jerks and spoil the experience for others?

  2. Oh, the experience wasn't that bad. In fairness to the guy, he wasn't being paid to run an airshow or give tours...I just thought it was funny he spent more words bitching about his day than he could have used to tell what the plane was. In fact he didn't have to say anything at all. There were other folks there to oblige me. But I can understand having a frustrating day at work.

    When we went to the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia, we had an absolutely marvelous experience. There were actual WWII veterans on hand to talk about their bombing runs over Europe, and flying the hump in Burma. The things these folks went through for us, really, go beyond heroic. I think that's why the old planes mean so much, when we see them.