Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tuesday at Oshkosh

Tuesday morning we ran into friends Ken and Lorraine Morris who were doing the hand-propping demonstration. They needed a "qualified individual" to man the cockpit, so naturally Skyler voluntered (the spark plug wires were all disconnected). After that, we went and walked around the four Exhibition Buildings and the EAA Wearhouse. As we headed back to camp, Sky saw Glacier Girl and wanted to go see her and the Spitfire parked next to her. I recognized one of the pilots and started talking to him. He asked if I was still in St Louis and with that the guy standing next to him jerked his head around, looked me straight in the eye and said "Hello Don." I soon realized I had flown with him 12 years ago at Trans States. He said he'd left Trans States to go to work for the owner of Glacier Girl and the Spit, Rod Lewis. We chatted for awhile, then he asked, "Ever sit in a Spitfire? Ever want to?" With that, he just smiled, lifted the rope allowing me and Sky into the area and soon we were on our way around the wing to the cockpit.
He told Sky where he could step, where he couldn't and then helped him up on the wing and into the cockpit of the Mk Vb Spitfire. Sky sat there for quite awhile and then I got to go in and place my hands on the controls that Don Blakeslee once used to pilot the plane over England. I got out, we profusely thanked him and then walked back to our Fairchild with broad smiles on our faces.
Later that night we were out looking at the Mustangs. I was over looking up at the cockpit from the left wing with Sky reading the signs posted in front of the right wing. All of a sudden, a big man (John Muszala) walks my direction with Sky in tow saying, "If he wants to sit in the cockpit, just hoist up behind the wing. He can sit there as long as he wants." I asked Sky if he had asked if he could, but he said John had just invited him to sit in the Mustang.
I lifted him up on the wing (He's getting heavy!), one of John's workers was already there and hand slid the Malcom Hood back so Sky could get into the cockpit. I handed him my camera and he got a great shot of Sky sitting in the cockpit looking like a WWII fighter pilot.

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