Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Keep the ADF warm and take your sextant."

Please indulge me for a moment while I brag about EAA Chapter 961 in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  I'm not sure if there is a nicer group of aviation addicts anywhere. In our ranks we have doctors, dentists, machinists, A&P mechanics, aviation historians, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, sport pilots, private pilots, corporate pilots, glider pilots, flight instructors, avionics guys, airline pilots, aerobatic pilots, retired military pilots, and a couple of chief pilots, just to name a few.  Builders?  You bet---residential, commercial, and airplane.  We also have the vintage crowd; both flyer's and airplanes! Rumor has it there are even warbird enthusiasts in our group.

As you can see, it's a pretty talented bunch.  Answers to aviation related questions are usually close at hand.  It's rare, but occasionally someone even has a question for the airline crowd.  Several weeks ago fellow member, Bob Cauthen, sent the following blast email:

We are looking at a spring trip to Europe, hoping to have enough air miles to go Business Class on the overnight flight.  There are a number of flights to choose from to Barcelona through Philly and JFK.

Anyone have experience with the American Airlines Boeing 777 vs. their Airbus A332 with respect to the seating in Business Class?  Russ (Farris) - You may have flown one or both?



Former wide body captain/current narrow body RV-7 test pilot, Rick Maury, replied:

Can't speak to the 777, but have flown in Business Class on our 330.  We have individual pods with almost lay flat seats and a full entertainment system.  It was a nice ride to DUB from PHL.


Our most distinguished member, 90 years young former B-17 pilot, Pinky Funderburk, was quick to share his words of wisdom:

I can speak for the Boeing B-17.  Suggest the northern route.  Hot springs bath in Iceland and great skiing in Greenland.  Keep the ADF warm and take your sextant. Sorry, no GPS.  Half frozen ham & cheese sammiches damn good if you're hungry, Bon voyage.

Tom "Pinky" Funderburk

Folks, Pinky Funderburk is the real deal!  A four-motor tail wheel pilot---even the Luscombe crowd stands in awe.  He was twenty years old when he flew his first combat mission in World War II.  On one mission his B-17 was badly shot up while flying at low level near Rotterdam.  With two engines out, and another loosing oil, the mission ended with a belly landing on a field in Belgium, near the town of Leuven.  It is my understanding that when the number of bullet holes reached 200, they stopped counting bullet holes.

Yes, Pinky is our most distinguished member.  He is also a super nice guy---as are all our members.  Come see for yourself.  Members and guests of EAA Chapter 961 gather regularly on the second Monday of each month at 7 pm, in the terminal building at the Rock Hill-York County Airport (KUZA) in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  You will not be disappointed.

Tom "Pinky the Real Deal" Funderburk, front row, second from the left, Leuven, Belgium, April 6, 1945.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wipe Your Feet!

Before you step on the super cool floor mat that Mats For You man, Bill Graves, designed for Rick Maury's RV-7.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Madison Super Ace

Here are a couple of photos of a Corben Super Ace that is on display in the Frank Lloyd Wright "prairie style" terminal building at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Corben Sport Plane Company produced Super Ace kits in Madison during the early 1930's.  This particular Super Ace was donated to the airport in 1991 by the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.  I have to say I like the design. It looks like it would be fun to fly.

I have mixed emotions when I see vintage airplanes on display in terminal buildings around the country.  My first thought is that it's a shame that nobody gets to fly them anymore.  Then, because I'm a "cup half full" kind of guy, I think it's nice that someone at the airport likes airplanes.  I can think of a few places where that's not always the case.