The Reno Air Races are now over and today I actually got to watch the show!  The reason . . . I RAN OUT OF BOOKS TO SIGN!

I arrived Wednesday morning on site to set out some posters to help market the book. It was the first official day and I signed a few books as the hard core enthusiasts began to settle in. There were three Official Merchandise locations and the Race Officials set me up in a great spot at the Main Gate store. The weather was perfect all week with blue skies and little wind.

As the week progressed, sales begin to increase. By the end of Saturday I completely sold out of the 600 + books I had on site. It was a great experience and I personally signed over 500 of them.

Sunday is always the biggest day of the Races so I think I could have sold another 200 books! Between the sales at Oshkosh and Reno I have sold over 1000 books. Internet sales are beginning to increase and we have yet to do any major marketing. It’s exciting to have made a significant dent in the initial order of 5000 printed.

While it was a lot of work, it was fun to connect with eveyone and great confirmation I’ve a created a great product. Next year I’ll bring more books, do a better job of marketing them, and bring Gee Bee clothing for the kids.

On a side note, I visited my Boeing projects at Roy Rehm’s shop in Gardnerville, NV.  After my original 1929 Boeing 100 was severly damaged during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Roy contacted me about buying it as he was working towards building several; one for himself, one for a museum, and several for other customers. I wasn’t interested in selling it but was interested in having it rebuilt. In the end, Roy began building eight aircraft, three of which are for me.

I originally acquired the Boeing 100 when I acquired the Tallmantz Collection in 1985. The previous owner was famous movie pilot Frank Tallman and had it painted in Navy colors. After Roy picked up my damaged airplane from Miami I made the decision to restore it back to its orginal factory civilian configuration and colors. Not one to pass up a great opportunity, I also commissioned Roy to construct a Army P-12 C/D and a Navy F4B-2 version for me. Each of my three aircraft will have slight differences in armament, landing gear, ailerons and paint schemes and be powered by the orginal engines.

My original Civilian Boeing 100 will be the first of the eight to fly. The wings are now finished and painted. The fuselage is on the gear with the engine is mounted with the instrument panel installed. The fuselage is scheduled to be covered next summer with assembly and testing to follow in late 2009. It seems like a long way away but Roy is still building lots of parts for the other aircraft.

Soon, I’ll be the only kid on my block with a complete set or the famous Boeing Biplanes!

Thanks to everyone for helping!

Kermit

I had the opportunity to have lunch with an old friend of mine, Joe Kittinger, and some of his River Rat buddies.  They flew during the Vietnam Conflict and are planning to have their 2010 Annual Convention in Orlando and use Fantasy of Flight for an off-site “flightsuit” party!  I hope to be in town to enjoy the festivities and maybe fly a P-51 or something for them! 

I have known Joe since coming to Central Florida.  He came to my Fantasy of Flight Grand Opening Party in 1995 and used to fly the Rosie O”Grady banner planes around Orlando. 

Joe has an interesting history and is one of aviation’s greats!  While testing the limits for the Astronaut Program, Joe set an altitude record for the highest free-fall skydive.  He launched in a gas balloon from New Mexico and stepped out at 103,000 feet!  I believe he is the only human to go faster than the speed of sound WITHOUT an aircraft!  Do a websearch on him for the full story!  He was also at Roswell when the UFO crashed after WWII but never would confirm anything about the event.

I was honored to be included with Joe and 14 other aviation notables at the 25th Anniversary of the “Gathering of Eagles” at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama in 2006 .  It was the 25th Anniversary of the Program and we were invited to talk to 800 students from the War College graduating class about things like Succes in Life, Leadership, Values, etc.  Another friend was there, Lee Archer (highest scoring Tuskegee Pilot) so I flew my P-51C “Ina the Macon Belle” up for the festivities.  This was Lee’s paint job during WWII and the plane became the centerpiece of two giant BBQ events.

While at the “Gathering” I saw a great opportunity to twist history slightly and have some fun.  I mentioned to Joe and some of the other ”Eagles” that Niel Armstrong had actually “borrowed” a statement from Joe when he landed on the Moon.  The statement I attributed to Joe as he stepped off the Balloon Gondola and into Space was, “One small step for mankind . . . One giant leap for Joe Kittinger!”

Kermit

Check out the great article in the latest Air Classics magazine by my good friend and editor Michael O’Leary.  It’s  in the Volume 44, number 10 issue on page 55 which shows a B-17 crew on the front cover.  Michael has done many photo shoots of my collection going back to the 1980′s and the Weeks Air Musem days in Miami. 

We have our www.geebee.com site up and running!  This is our first ever Internet Marketing campaign and was the product we used to get into the Platinum Group Internet Marketing group recently mentioned. 

Our Opt-In page offers free downloadable drawings for kids to color.  After you Opt-In with your name and email you then land on our Sales Letter Page which tells you all about the book and its benefits.  At any time you can click to purchase but check it out first and read some of the great testimonials and ideas we came up with to help promote the book, which I wrote.  To see how the system works you can wait a few days to purchase and you will discover out Autoresponder will send you an email every day for the folowing ten days with reasons why you should consider the purchase!  Of course you can Opt-out at anytime at the bottom of the page.  Once you purchase, you are automatically taken off the Autoresponder list.

We also have a first attempt at a kid’s site at www.geebeefun.com so check that out as well.  Particularly interesting are two short videos we did that tell about the Gee Bee “Z” and the Gee Bee R-1.  Once you click on the site wait until all the characters come up, click on Jimmy G. and it will take you to the two videos.  We’re still tweaking it but enjoy our first attempt!

Kermit

Last year I joined an Internet Marketing Group called AM 2.0 headed my Armand Morin.  Realizing the potential of the Internet, I have been trying to learn all I can to utilize it in the promotion of Fantasy of Flight and the products I am creating.

With the help of my IT department I have been working diligently to check off a 114-point list of items relating to our first promotional effort – my new illustrated children’s book “All of Life is a School”.  Once accomplished, we will be eligible to join a Platinum Group of Internet Marketers that are on the cutting edge of the business.

Well, while our athletes have been winning Gold at the Olympics in China this summer, we just got the annoucement this morning that we have completed our requirements and have now gone Platinum!  We have been invited to our first meeting in in Raleigh, NC early September.  As part of the two-day meetings, we will be given the opportunity to bring to the best minds in the business our ideas about what we would like to get input about.  And since we have a plan in place for the Gee Bee Book, I hope to bring to the group the concept we have for the song I wrote called “Daddy’s Little Girl!”

The instrumental tune was written by a friend of mine, Mark Johnson about three years ago and it’s on his second album called Acoustic Rising.  He is a renowned banjo player with a unique style and named the tune “Katie Weeks” after my little girl.  The album went up for the International Bluegrass Music Awards “Instrumental Album of the Year”.  And while it didn’t win, it is one of the most requested songs off that album on Bluegrass XM Radio.

After we heard him play it at a music festival several years ago and got the CD, words and visuals began to come to me.  I realized I was supposed to write words to his music!  I have completed a rough recording but will be back in the studio for the final version.  Every father with a daughter I have played it to has been teary eyed by the end of the song.  It has great potential to be put to a short music video and we hope to find a way to bypass the “difficult to deal with music industry” and promote in via the Internet.

Stay tuned as we head towards a June of 2009 release!

Kermit

pic2.jpgI just learned how to put pictures up on my Blog so check them out.One is of a new friend that came for a tour of Fantasy of Flight that I met at the Living Legends of Aviation Dinner I attended last January in Beverly Hills. I was inducted several years ago and my new friend was inducted this year. He had his private Boeing 707 up at the Oshkosh Fly-In.

 

pic1.jpgThe other friend is a well-known film director from New Zealand. He did a couple of films about “Rings” and another recent one featuring a very Big Gorrilla! I got a chance to fly in one of his absolutely gorgeous SE-5 reproductions with another friend of mine outside of Wellington, NZ while he stood in the middle of the airfield with an HD Camera. I was very fortuante to spend my Birthday at his house with his family on my last round the world trip. They gave me a signed statue of the Big Gorilla grabbing an airplane on the top of the Empire State Building!

Kermit

PS – Now that I know how to insert photos I will go back and insert earlier posts!  If you click on the picture it might show up larger and clearer.

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