We hosted our second Splash-In event as part of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In on Thursday, April 23rd. It was a great success! Last year we had 85 seaplanes and this year we had 101! The weather was perfect and I got a chance to fly the Grumman Duck for everyone. We are beginning to plan and promote our own Seaplane Fly-In during the last weekend of September of this year so keep your eyes peeled for more information. With our great shoreline and seaplane ramp, we have the potential to create one of the premier Seaplane Fly-In’s in the world!
Of course, during the Fly-In I get to meet many new and old friends. One of the more interesting new ones were Lt. Hong My and Dan Cherry. The first time they met was in the skies over Hanoi, Vietnam where Dan Cherry flying an F-4 Phantom shot down Hong My in his Mig 21. They got reacquainted 37 years later and have since become friends, visiting each other homes and doing special events. They happened to be over at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and I was asked to fly them over and give them a tour of Fantasy of Flight. I picked them up in my Ford Tri-Motor and gave them both the opportunity to try their hand at flying it. It was very interesting to say the least because you hardly use the rudder in a jet except to steer on the ground and the Ford is very much a rudder airplane. I think it was a bit of a shock to both of them to watch the slip ball swing from side to side as they tried to wrestle the Ford around the sky. After landing, I gave them a grand tour of our facility!
Another person that came by for a visit was an old acquaintance but new Head of the CAF (now Commemorative Air Force). I gave him a tour of Fantasy of Flight and explained my Vision as to where we were headed. He seemed deeply influenced by some of the things I was proposing as well as some of the things we were currently doing. I let him sit in the cockpit of the Polikarpov Po-2 while he listened to the Audio Experience about the Night Witches. When we climbed out of the cockpit he said, “I HAVE to play this to my Board of Directors . . . this is exactly what they need to hear!” The next day he brought by several of his staff to show them the facility and listen to some of the Audio Experiences. Not a bad testimonial!