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DC-3 Reunion Too Important To Screw Up

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Now that the knuckles are bandaged and we've all finished spitting teeth, can we get back to the task at hand, that being creating one of the greatest aviation spectacles in recent memory?

You may have read about the spat between EAA and The Last Time, the group that has gathered more than 50 DC-3 owners together for a massive reunion planned for just before AirVenture Oshkosh.

The original idea was that the planes would gather for a weekend rendezvous at Rock Falls Ill. and on Monday 40 of them would fly in formation to AirVenture's opening day.

A week of festivities was to follow at AirVenture honoring the 75th anniversary of its first flight and bringing together the pilots, mechanics, cabin crew and others who ushered in modern airline transportation and deployed the aircraft as arguably one of the most important war machines ever built.

But somewhere along the line, something went wrong and although there's been some public airing of dirty laundry in the last few days, who needs it?

The way things stand now, the Rock Falls event will go as planned and the formation flight will occur there. Operators will then head to AirVenture individually, if they're still planning on going. Some noses are seriously out of joint.

EAA still has a full program of DC-3 events planned for AirVenture week and, last we heard, was trying to facilitate some kind of mass arrival.

Let's tap the brakes a little, shall we, before the two events become so divergent that they can't be put on the same track again. As of now, there's plenty of time to get over this bump and make this event everything everyone was hoping it would be.

Sure, The Last Time folks can have their event in Illinois and I'm sure it will be great. A year of organization and planning by some really capable people has ensured that. But honestly, folks, the formation flight over Rock Falls will pale in comparison to the spectacle of an arrival on the opening day of AirVenture.

As for EAA, the show will go on with or without the mass arrival and there certainly will be DC-3s there. But wouldn't you rather have a field full of happy, energized advocates for the DC-3 celebration than a bunch of disgruntled pilots muttering nasty things every time they see a blue shirt or a Volkswagen?

Oh, and what about the vets that everyone brings up when they're talking about the noble cause that spawned this effort? There are people whose exploits in these aircraft make the current fight look like a petty turf war.

There's still plenty of time to fix this. Someone has to blink, and if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, how about Paul Poberezny? The EAA founder is one of the DC-3 vets this event is supposed to honor, and he was supposed to fly in the formation. Surely that's an opportunity worth your trademark diplomacy, Paul.

And if you can't do it for yourselves, for the vets or for Paul, then do it for me and the thousands of others who can't wait to hear 80 round engines at a 1,000 feet over Wittman Field. We've been waiting all year for it and to lose it over some ego-driven bickering would be a sad thing, indeed.

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