PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

AirFair

June 20, 2009

Reported by Tom Gaylord

Nieuport 28 Fly-by

Despite the postponement, AirFair 2009 was a success! The crowd turnout was better than we expected, considering how hot the weather forcast was, the fact that we had postponed the event by more than a month and we were holding the event on a holiday weekend! Among the crowd was Becky Schenck, Dick Schenk's daughter, and she brought along several other relatives to the event. The weather was hot, but we had some cloud cover and a fairly constant breeze to cool everyone off. Still, it was a great opportunity to work on my "farmer's tan"!


Morgan cars on display

A Morgan car club came by and visited, and Al had several buddies present in WWI uniforms and equipment. There was one guy striding around dressed like one of Pancho Villa's raiders. Unlike the November fly-in, we didn't have a Villa raid re-enactment.


Museum Model Ts on display

Team Vehicles was up and running, with several Model Ts and the Nash Quad moving around during the day. The Signal Corps truck, wrecker, and TT stakebed were all running, and kept moving to amuse the crowd. We also had three additional T's on display adorned with WWI helmets (there was much grunting and wheezing when pushing them back into the hangar during the hottest part of the day) as well as the newly acquired 1921 Triumph and of course the Indian, which despite being not quite ready to operate, was started several times, both for the folks that wanted to see it cranked up as well as for Brent and Lynn who continued to do work on the bike.


Al Sumrall on Triumph dispatch bike

The Nash Quad re-debuted after at least three years or more of non-active participation at the AirFair. Both Lynn Howell and Al Sumral drove the Quad around, and in one case, we armed her with the Benet-Mercie Machine Gun (dummy display gun) and Al drove it with living history soldier Brian Weathersby behind the gun and living history soldier Kevin Bly behind on the bed. With the three of them in uniform I'll bet the old Quad thought it was back in service in 1917! Living history Bandito Gus Martinez was also present...we wanted to chase him with the Quad and get revenge for our defeat by Gus last time, but it was just a bit to hot. Wait till November!

We probably hosted some 35 - 40 airplanes on the field during the day, including quite an impressive array of Stearman biplanes. Other noteworthy guests were several WWII-era L-birds (including a Stinson L-5), and a variety of non-military biplanes. Late in the day a reporter dropped by and we ended up with a nice write-up in the Seguin newspaper.

The bad news was that the breeze was highly variable... parallel to the runway one moment, 90 degrees across the runway the next. These are not good conditions for flying WWI aircraft, and so our Fokker triplane and Canuck never left the ground. And Roger was feeling kind of puny, so he was mostly hidden away in his apartment in the shop.


Nieuport and Fokker parked together

The big highlight of the day was a Nieuport 28 replica flown in from Houston by Blake and Sandy Thomas. The triplane and N.28 were parked together under the shop overhang. At about 12:30, we pulled them out and ran the Triplane engine for a bit. Blake was able to put on a bit of an airshow twice and the airplane was a big hit with the crowd. Jo Hunter went up for some air-to-air with the N.28 and I'm hoping she got some good shots! Our "Thanks" to Blake and Sandy for showing their airplane at our event!

With the hot weather the crowd started breaking up about 2:00 PM, but a significant portion of the crowd lingered on for awhile. Overall it was a great time to catch up with volunteers we don't see very often but who are none the less a great part of our organization!

Two of the key contributors to the event's success were Bill and Will Walsh who served as event coordinators. Roger's secretary, Maureen, also did her bit to make the event a success, as well as a great many volunteers who showed up early to drag airplanes out and set up, as well as putting everything away at the end of the day. Last, but hardly least, Jerrie and Terry Bledsoe - who set up and manned the merchandise booth for the entire event.

Wesley "Slick" Perkins did this "movie" of the 2009 AirFair and sent it to us. He also sent video of the Fokker being run up