The month of June saw the arrival of not one . . . not two . . . but three Pups!

The first one is great project I purchased a while back called a Buhl Pup. It’s powered by a three-cylinder Szekely engine that puts out 45 hp.  It’s a cute little plane from the Golden Age that I thought would one day make a great character for my Gee Bee Book Series.  It just seems to scream out with personality!  It was developed in 1930 as an inexpensive airplane but the Great Depression took its toll and the company eventually folded after only about a hundred were built.

Is this cute or what?

The other two are WWI Sopwith Pups, which were the predecessor of the famous Sopwith Camel!  The Pup was one of the first Allied aircraft with a machine gun synchronized to fire through the propellor.  Both are powered by original 80 hp LeRhone rotary engines.  I acquired them separately in the 1980′s and used to fly one of them at the Weeks Air Museum facility in Miami.  It’s a very light little plane with a lot of wing area and flies around like a butterfly. Hurricane Andrew took its toll on both of them and, after we got the DeHavilland DH-4 projects back from Century Aviation, I decided to let them rebuild them.

Unloading the wings

Fuselages

I have no idea when we’ll get to them but, if we get the room, it would be nice to assemble one uncovered for display.  One thing is for sure . . . they sure look a lot better than when they left!

Kermit

I attended this year’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In in the Grumman Duck, which I brought it over the first day of the show because we had so many things going on at Fantasy of Flight.  Due to weather in northern Florida, the Warbird ramp was essentially empty when I arrived!

An empty Warbird Ramp!

On Thursday of the Fly-In, I was to fly the head of the FAA, Randy Babbitt, over to the Splash-In, which Fantasy of Flight was hosting.  Unfortunately, bad weather moved in that morning and devastating winds (possibly a tornado) hit the site and damaged a number of airplanes and displays.

Day of the Splash-In!

Thankfully, the Duck had been put inside a hangar the night before in anticipation of the approaching weather.  While Fantasy of Flight missed the worst of the weather, it dampened the Splash-In, which was held the next day.

Some of the airplane damage at Sun 'n Fun!

Randy and his entourage drove over instead and I got a chance to show them around and give them the vision tour of what we’re creating.

Touring the head of the FAA

I got to visit the Fly-In during the week and checked out my dream jet . . . the Phoenom 300!

My Dream Jet!

Hopefully I will be able to justify one, if and when Stayhealthy pays off!

Kermit

Famous author, Richard Bach, came by for a visit and checked out our Travelair 4000.  Richard is most famous for his classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which is about a seagull that transcends the perceived limitations of his species while trying to get them to go beyond themselves.  He also wrote many other classic books revolved around aviation and is a legend in the aviation and writing community.

Richard and my Travelair 4000

I first met Richard about six years ago when he came to visit Fantasy of Flight during the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In.  He has become a great friend, as we both enjoy aviation and using it to get people to look within themselves and self-discover the potential that lies within.

Probably the other most famous book Richard wrote was Illusions, the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. It’s a great story about a barnstormer giving rides during a season in the mid-west that happens to bump into another barnstormer and the adventures of self-discovery that follow.  Famous film director, Zack Snyder, has told Richard he intends to do a movie-version of the story as soon as he finishes filming Superman II for Warner Brothers.

Guess what airplane the reluctant Messiah flew? . . . a Travelair 4000!  Richard has recommended the use the Fantasy of Flight Travelair for the film!  Now, how cool is that? I  sent a video clip of the Travelair flying to Richard and Zack so we’ll see how all this unfolds!

Kermit

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell recently came by for a visit and tour of Fantasy of Flight.  He was the sixth man to walk on the moon and the Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 14 mission.  After successfully landing on the moon and departing, his job was basically done.  On the trip back to Earth he sat in thought as the capsule rotated for cooling purposes from the suns rays.

While looking out the window, he saw the Earth, then the sun Sun, then the Moon . . . every three minutes . . . for three days.  At some point, he had a very transformational and mystical experience which changed his whole perspective of life.  As a direct influence from this experience, he founded the Institute for Noetic Sciences to study human consciousness.

Edgar and myself touring Fantasy of Flight

But there’s somewhat of an interesting twist of synchronicity to our stories.  When Edgar founded IONS in Petaluma, CA, he also found interested people to help support and realize his dream.  As it turns out, and I didn’t know this until several years ago, the chairman of the Board of Directors for IONS for the first twenty years . . . was the lawyer that negotiated my famous geologist grandfather’s oil-royalty in Australia.  It has been my grandfather’s generosity that has allowed me to share my passions and good fortune with others.  Small world!

Edgar is also well known for his outspoken views on UFO’s and getting the government to disclose what they “really know” about them and alien life forms.  While giving Edgar a tour through my offices, I couldn’t help but take a picture in front of one the doors where the bathrooms are located, of which there are four.  One is for Ladies, one for Gentlemen, one for Angels, and one for Aliens.  In my world, you just never know who might stop by!

While the door is definitely an inter-dimensional portal to other realities . . . it also serves as a storage closet for Earthly maintenance products!

Small world?  Hey, maybe it’s a small Universe!

Kermit

We hosted a symposium again at Fantasy of Flight for Black History month honoring the Tuskegee Airmen.  They were the black pilots that flew for America during WWI and got their name from the field they trained at in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Hanging with my friends after a flight to honor all that they did

Again, I got a chance to fly my P-51C Mustang for them as the attendees looked on.  They talked about their adventures and exploits as well as the hardships they went through due to the racial prejudice and segregation at the time.  I was honored when they inducted me into their organization as an honorary Tuskegee Airman because of be being the first person to paint an airplane in their colors to help promote their cause.  Their signature markings were the red nose and tail.

Helping tell the story!

Several news stations came out to cover the event and I got a chance to sport the red jacket they gave me!

Kermit

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