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!


Was in Wichita, KS for a Board meeting with the Lindbergh Foundation and got a chance to check up on the progress of my Grumman Duck.  The fuselage and hull are basically finished as far as the structure goes.

Duck Float

I purchased this airplane in the late 1980’s from a gentleman named Sam Poole out of Lake Wales, Florida.  I happened to stop in and see it in the mid-eighties when I was coming up to Central Florida looking for a place to expand, which eventually became Fantasy of Flight.

Sam had flown the airplane in South America and at one point held the longest water-taxi record in the world.  He had damaged a float during take-off on a submerged log and didn’t want to take the chance flying it.  So he ended up taxiing it . . . 400 miles down the Amazon!

If I remember the story correctly, he picked up a couple of nuns along the way and when the river began winding forever back and forth closer to his destination, he realized he didn’t have enough fuel to taxi the rest of the way.  He did a somewhat shade-tree repair (which was still evident when I got the plane), got the nuns to roll their rosary beads a few times with a prayer, and flew the rest of the way!

Fuselage Sheet Metal is basically done!

The wings still need rebuilding but the project has been put on a back-burner project for now, as we have the flying Grumman Duck Candy Clipper on display at Fantasy of Flight.  The Duck was one of my first Warbirds and I still remember going out flying out of Tamiami Airport in Miami with some great tower controllers.  I’d show up five miles southwest of the airport, key the radio, and just say, “Quack, Quack” . . . and they’d clear me to land!


Got a chance to go to the annual Living Legends of Aviation again.


Shot taken from my table at the Gala, which is held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA

They always have a pre-party the night before and this year it was in a big hangar at the Van Nuys airport with many of the latest jets on display.  One day!

I got a chance to catch up with an old friend, Cliff Robertson, a famous Oscar winning actor for his role in Charlie.  I first met cliff when he visited my museum in Miami in the late 1980’s.  After showing him around, I took him up in my original WWI Avro 504 with a rotary engine!  He never forgot me!  I later got to spend even more time with him when he became the first Chairman of the EAA Young Eagles Program.

Cliff and I at Pre-Legends Party!

He also starred with our DeHavilland Mosquito in the films Mosquito Squadron and 633 Squadron and used to own a Stearman, a Spitfire, and a Messerschmidt 108!

On the cutting edge of trend . . . or hopelessly behind the times? Actually, just being ourselves!

I couldn’t believe he had started growing a ponytail so I couldn’t resist taking a picture from of us behind!  I think we were the only ones at the party with ponytails!  It’s great to hook up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was a great event and it’s fun enjoying the glamor and the glitz!

You never know who you might run into!

And sitting at the table next to me . . . Harrison Ford and his wife Calista Flockhart!  I first met them, and got to know Harrison when he was the third Chairman of the Young Eagles Program while being on the Board of the EAA.  He’s an avid flyer and enjoys flying his Husky, Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and Cessna Sovereign.

Looking forward to next year!


Got invited out again to the Kelleher/Agather Quail Hunt in west Texas again and had a blast.  I’ve blogged about it before so won’t go into the details of the event but this year had some interesting and fun twists.

My Roommate!

Guess who my roommate was?  Country Star Aaron Tippin!  He did some singing for the group on an old guitar and I got a chance to bang out a few songs on an old piano they have at the ranch house where we all gather to eat, drink and be merry.

Shamans Bud "Light" Feather and Kermit the Brave "Lost-his-Feather" pleading to the Great "Spirits" to show up later for the evening's festivities in an actual Indian ceremonial cave complete with petroglyphs!

As is the protocol, we drive around the 200,000 acre ranch all day in search of the elusive Quail (I’ve never had the heart) and gather in the evenings to tell tall tales with aviation greats such as Bob Cole (Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot), Dick Rutan (around the world flight), Bud Day (longest POW in Vietnam), Tex Hill (highest scoring Flying Tiger, now deceased), Sean Tucker (airshow performer extraordinaire / heli-ski partner), Clay Lacy (movie pilot), and an assortment of Air Force generals, etc.  As I mentioned before, most of the shots fired are with a glass and based on the groups past hunting record Fish and Game is considering giving us a conservation award!

My carriage for the trip!

This year was a great surprise when I got a chance to fly out from Ft. Worth and back in a Cessna Citation Jet.  I got to ride up front and actually got to take-off and land it.  What a blast!  I am hoping one day my Stayhealthy investment will pay off so I can get my own personal transportation.  I guess I’d better get my Instrument Rating first!  We’ll see!

Aaron listening to Naked in Jamaica!

During the weekend I got a chance to play Aaron my songs Naked in Jamaica as well as Daddy’s Little Girl! He was impressed!  What a great fun group of guys.  I can’t wait until next year!


Writing by the fire at my ski condo in the mountains of Utah.

Worked over the Christmas holidays (2010) on my book The Journey Never Ends about my metaphysical experiences and, judging by the title, the Journey of writing this book WILL NEVER END!  While most of the writing is done, I was “led” to include some simple illustrations to help describe my point of views while exploring “other” realities.

Now I have access to some of the best illustrators in the business that work on my children’s books, but it seemed life was about to take a turn in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  I realized I needed to scratch out some basic drawings anyway for an artist to get the feel of what I wanted so, no big deal as I had done this for All of Life is a School. Well, after including some them in a few early chapters for my friends to read, they all insisted that I NEEDED TO DO THEM!  I got comments like, “They’re a reflection of your energy!”  “They’re precious . . . they’re so . . . you!”

“What . . . you’re kidding . . . I can’t draw!”  They weren’t.  I hadn’t drawn anything beyond a stick figure since third grade!  But after being reminded my whole Fantasy of Flight concept is about pushing your boundaries and realizing the untapped potential within, I found I didn’t have much of an argument.  I figured I needed to do some basic drawings anyway, in case I ended up using a “real” artist, so I began to scratch out where I felt the book needed them during the next editing pass.

Oh my God . . . I had no idea where this was all headed.  By the time I got to the end the book there were . . . Are you ready for this? . . . Over a THOUSAND drawings!  So, in case you’ve been wondering why the book isn’t finished . . . this is my excuse!

My best ice cream cone!

I continue to work on them when I get the chance.  The problem is . . . by the time I got to the end of the book with my first pass, my drawings began to improve and now I feel the need to go back and redo many of them.  They’re still pretty simple, and I’m not going to give Rembrandt or Michaelangelo a run for their money anytime soon . . . but it has been a fun yet frustrating experience.

Pretty basic, but do the job!

Simple, yet capture all that I need to get across!

With the addition of all the drawings embedded in the text, the book is now over 1500 pages!  I will have to deal the publishing issue when I get it all done.  We’ll see.  Like life . . . I have no idea where this is all headed, or when it will finally get finished.  All I can do is follow the energies and do the best I can.  I’ve finally realized it’s not my timetable and things, like Fantasy of Flight and this book, have to manifest in their own time.


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