Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brother Baker's Latest Drawings

I managed to snag a photo of Brother Baker's latest drawing before it shipped today.  The drawing looks fantastic---unlike my photo that has shadows and reflections all over the image.  I'm sure the new owner is going to be pleased.    

Joe said this one is going to be the logo for a buddy's cycle club.

Art By Baker:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Post Cards


My New Hire class at Eastern Airlines started the day before Thanksgiving, 1985.  I was twenty-seven years old, had just over 1,900 hours, and my ATP certificate was three months old.  I remember thinking:  "It can't be this easy!"  As it turned out; it wasn't.  But that's another story. . .

Life as a 727 Flight Engineer was quite the adventure.  A typical four day trip would have nine or ten legs, and total twenty-five hours of flight time.  Layovers were in places like Tucson, Arizona, Kansas City, Missouri, and San Diego, California.  Prior to Eastern, most of my flying had been on the East Coast---so I was having a grand time!  I would send post cards to friends, and family, from all my exotic layovers.  Eventually; I realized the post cards were getting boring.  The cards were different, but the writing never changed.  I had a problem.  I wanted to share my adventures, but I didn't want to annoy everyone doing it.  I decided to change tactics.  Here's an example:

Back side of the Tucson card.

I began creating stories to go along with the drawings.  Sometimes a theme would snowball and continue on for years.  Billy Ray Bob MacAllister is one such example.  He survived the Eastern and Pan Am years, and is likely to appear again sometime.

I found the next card in the old Airliners Store in Miami, Florida.  I thought it was unusual, and figured I could do something with it eventually.  I saw the name "Rosko Buljam" in the closing credits of a movie.  Sometimes; things just work out.

I like DC-3s.  This one is called "Life at 6,500 Feet & 150MPH."  I heard "Theo Mondragon" being paged over the public address system at Boston Logan one evening when I was flying for Private Jet Expeditions.  I knew I could use that one!

The EG's father flew C-47s in North Africa during WWII.

When I started this back in 1986 I had no idea it would catch on the way it did.  What started out as a way to kill time on layovers has morphed into a twenty-six year tradition.  The fact that people saved any of this stuff still amazes me.  Keep checking your mailbox, you never know what will show up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Altered Plans

Brother Barbeau sits in the sunshine after 1.5 hours in the January chill!

The plan was to fly over to Rutherford County and have lunch with the guys at the 57 Alpha Cafe.  It seemed like a good idea.  The weather was nice, especially for January, and Gary could get away for the afternoon---we would bundle up and take the Hatz!  The only glitch in the plan was a pesky tail wheel steering spring attach clip, that has been giving us fits lately.  We lost the right side steering spring on landing several weeks ago.  The spring was replaced, but conventional wisdom (and a healthy respect for Murphy's Law) suggested a test flight before we ventured too far from Jellystone Air Park.  We decided that if things looked good after a landing at Rock Hill, we would set out for Rutherford County.

The rear cockpit of the Hatz is fairly breezy.  During the summer months it's quite refreshing.  Wintertime; it's another story!  While it's not as bad in the front cockpit, you certainly feel the chill if you sit there for any length of time.  Our flight planning "suggested" it would take fifty minutes to fly over to Rutherford County.  In either seat, that is a long time in January!  Shortly after takeoff, Gary said:  "It's too cold to fly all the way to Rutherford County.  How about we head down to Lancaster and shoot some touch and goes?"   An old sage once said:  "A smart pilot knows when to modify his plan!" 

Everything worked as advertised on the landing at Rock Hill, so it was on to Lancaster, SC, for touch and goes.  We ended up sharing the pattern with a couple of RV's, and a Helio Courier from JAARS---an interesting mix of airplanes.  Final tally for the day:  1.5 hours, and seven landings.  Not too bad for January!

Ron's 57 Alpha Cafe


Monday, January 23, 2012

Joe's Connie and the Hogan Museum

Speaking of Tom Kalina. . .

Here is Brother Baker with Tom's latest masterpiece, Through the Light of Ra.  I sent this photo to Tom and received this reply:  "Wow and Thanks!  His selection of framing is really beautiful. . .  Thanks for sharing this photo.  I always enjoy knowing that people are enjoying my prints and getting them up on the wall where they belong!"

While we are on the subject. . .

Even Brother Hogan has joined the ranks of the Kalina faithful.  He ordered a copy of South American Glory to display in his office/airline museum.  When he brought it home from the frame shop, his bride liked it so much she asked him to hang it over the fireplace!  Now that's a lady! 

The Hogan Museum:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tom Kalina on the Wall

"I Will Glory in My Duty"

"I Will Glory in My Duty" is the latest addition to the gallery at Casa la Cottom.  It's Tom Kalina's print of a USMC RS-3, which is the military version of the Sikorsky S-38. 

Here is how Tom describes the painting on his web site:  "A United States Marine Corps Sikorsky RS-3 flies low across the water on a mission in Nicaragua, circa 1932. The USMC operated only two of the military version of the Sikorsky civil S-38 amphibious aircraft. Unlike its Navy counterpart that was painted dark gray with a black hull, this Marine Corps RS-3 fuselage was painted solid light gray."

I'm a huge fan of aviation art.  I like Tom's work because he specializes in airliners, specifically the prop-liners and early jets of the post World War II era.  I also have an affinity for flying boats.  The Consolidated Commodores, and Sikorsky S-38s, of NYRBA Line and Pan American Airways, are particularly fascinating to me.  I'm constantly on the lookout for new material.  When I saw Tom's rendering of the Marine Corps RS-3, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets! 

I'm not the only aviation art enthusiast in the family.  My wife Nancy is as well.  I used to think she was just humoring me; but when she insisted we hang Tom's print of a Panagra DC-7 (a gift from The EG) in the living room, I knew she was hooked.  When she saw the RS-3 on Tom's web site last summer, she said:  "Wow, that's nice!  You should buy that for me!"  Yes; it was that easy!

"South American Glory"