A couple weeks back, Bob Harrison (chairman of the National Stearman Foundation) stopped by the hangar to snap a few pictures and ask Brian about the Red Baron Stearman and his family's flying history. He wrote a wonderful article! Here's the link if you'd like to see it, too:
A morning too chilly for open-air flying (is summer gone already?) meant we had to warm up the Texan to make the short flight to Greenfield's annual fly-in breakfast. On the ground, we were joined by a few dozen fellow aviators who also made the trip and enjoyed a delicious breakfast served up by local teachers in Greenfield's museum/hangar. With our bellies full of omelettes, donuts, and watermelon, we toured the museum to learn more about Iowa aviation history and then toured one of the private hangars with quick an interesting collection. If you haven't been to Greenfield, I highly recommend adding to your must-see list. They have an impressive collection of airplanes and aviation memorabilia. We wrapped up a perfect morning with a slow flight home along side Matthew and Amy Sawhill in their Cessna 140 - the "Green Lantern".
Although I couldn't join Brian at Oshkosh this year, I gained an amazing memory from the world's largest fly-in event... On Friday night, Amy and I went to the White Oaks Winery to enjoy some live local music to help us from wallowing in self-pity. We were having a great time, and about halfway through the evening, Brian called to tell me about his day at OSH. After a quick update, he handed the phone off to someone he said he wanted me to talk with. Well, that certainly piqued my curiosity. A few moments later, a woman was on the line. This woman - Dawn - wasn't just any woman: she's a WASP! Instantly reverting to my giddy five-year-old girl, I listened as the experienced aviatrix shared some humor and advice about flying Stearmans. Like a big baby, I was balling from excitement by the time I was off the phone, promising to give Brian a huge hug when he returned home (OK, he'd get one anyway!).
A couple days later when Brian came home, I was still on cloud nine from my personal call with Dawn. He just smiled and handed me a book. It was written by a WASP, but - whoa - signed by Dawn to me! Our good friend Jeff had stayed in the same hotel as her and stopped by her room to get a signed copy for me. Thanks to Jeff, I'll always have a reminder of that special phone call. Most of all, I'll always have a reminder of how fortunate I am to have a great husband and friends and how lucky I am to get to fly. Blue skies!
You may have noticed we had some website issues this week. Still looking into why it happened, but hopefully things are all clear now.
... is what Jeff said after spending the entire day Saturday with Brian dressing up the Stearman with shiny new wheelpants.
The timing for the project could not have been better as the weather was not conducive with flying.
It didn't stop us from spending the weekend at the hangar. And, for the first time in... like, ever that all 3 planes are sitting in the hangar together without a single bug splat. (The Stinson doesn't count as I'm afraid it will disintegrate if I try to clean it).
Yay! Brian is back home! After several days of rain and sunshine at EAA AirVenture, Brian returned home on Saturday with stories and pictures to share. Curiously, out of all the amazing variety of aircraft crammed into one airport, most of Brian's pictures were of pieces of airplanes... for ideas, he says. Go figure!
Brian and Rachel Aukes are aviation nuts based in Iowa. They love to fly, and when the weather keeps them on the ground, they love to talk about flying. When they aren't in the air, Brian keeps the airplanes running while Rachel cleans them and keeps this website running.