April 3, 2008
copyright © John Fleck
We've chosen the winners to fly left seat in the Herpa Wings DC-3 at Sun 'n Fun!
Aircraft owner Dan Gryder has opened up another flight for a left-seat winner, so we were able to pick two of our favorite essayists from more than 200 entries. First and foremost, we say thank you to Dan and to every AVweb reader who took the time to share their DC-3 stories and aspirations with us.
Joining us for DC-3 flights on Tuesday morning, April 8, will be Joe Kaminskas of Biglerville, Pennsylvania and Christa Mabry of Batavia, Illinois. Both have confirmed that they can be there for the flight, and we'll be inviting a couple of the runners-up to come along with us as passengers.
Joe's a former airline pilot and had his first flight as a child in a DC-3. Throughout a long career, he's always wanted to fly one, but this is his first opportunity to do so. Joe didn't enter our contest himself, but his friend Charlie Tipton made a convincing argument on Joe's behalf with this essay:
Why I Want (Joe Kaminskas) to Fly the Herpa Wings DC-3
A DC-3 took my friend Joe for his first flight in 1950. The experience inspired him to become a pilot, and he has since relished flying in GA, USAF and airline service. Now retired, he is a dedicated vintage aircraft aficionado and a walking encyclopedia of historic aviation knowledge. However, the major regret of his career is that he never got to fly a "Gooney Bird."
I've seen Joe's poignant enthusiasm for the DC-3 when he toured Basler's conversion shop. I've watched him beam as he climbed into the left seat of a static display, and I've felt his contagious excitement during air show fly-bys. As someone who was privileged to fly the C-117D variant, I fully understand the thrill of flying this venerable icon. But I've already had my chance and now I'd like to see Joe finally get his.
Selecting Joe for the opportunity to take the controls of N143D would be a wonderful surprise for a deserving aviator in his twilight years. It would also give him closure to a journey that began with a teenage dream 58 years ago in the back of a DC-3.
Somehow, Christa managed to squeeze in flying lessons while raising four boys. She now flies at least four times a week in the family 182 her husband is a pilot, too and is working on her instrument rating. Here's her essay:
Why I Want to Fly the Herpa Wings DC-3 ...
Somewhere between starting the laundry and emptying the dishwasher, I find time to sit with my coffee to read my AVwebFlash e-mail (which, by the way, I love).
I do not claim to be an aviation/airplane bluff, but [I] know the DC-3 is a BIG plane! Being a mom of four boys has not made learning to fly easy for me, but it does give me motivation to keep reaching for all the information I can get my hands on to make me a better pilot. As pilots, we all know the hard work and dedication it takes to reach each goal we set for ourselves. But for me, it's also to encourage my boys to never give up on what they believe in or dream of! Flying the DC-3 would be the icing on the cake for my boys, in more ways than I could ever imagine.
Now back to the laundry.
Thanks for your time.