Wed, Jun 06, 2012
Greater Value Should Be Placed On The Aircraft Which Helped Preserve Freedom
By Rich Davidson
This weekend at The Wings Over Gillespie Airshow, the only operating Fairey Firefly in the U.S. suffered a gear collapse on landing. To the typical airshow attendee this may look like a disaster. The same person may also fall prey to the notion that operating airplanes like this places them in unreasonable danger and therefore maybe they shouldn't be flown. Myself, I think we should fly and rebuild them until the very last one is no more.
Already today, a large and growing segment of aviation doesn’t even know their history or care if these old birds live or die. Society at large places no value on them and in fact a growing segment of that population despises the idea that some person of wealth could have the freedom to fly such an exotic aircraft. Meanwhile, some of our most prestigious museums strive to ground them forever, our government fears citizens who own them, and aviation’s best weapon is a few lobbying groups that always seem to fall on the side of politics vs. reason. What are we to do?
I’ll tell you what we do. We fight tooth and nail to keep these old girls flying; we support the people who spend their money to do so, and we enjoy every moment we have with them. We push for the easing of restrictions on aviation; we tell the people in DC to shove it up their collective rear end; we quit rolling over for the FAA and TSA; we put heat on the rule makers and bureaucrats until they walk down alleys looking over their shoulders, and we never ever quietly assume our alphabet groups are actually working in our best interests.
Here’s to you Captain Eddie and everyone else who keeps these old crates flying. If it weren’t for you a lot of people wouldn’t know the glory of these great machines. Our numbers may be dwindling but those of us who are left are willing to fight to help you keep them alive.
(This article first appeared on the Lee Bottom Flying Field blog 'NORDO News'. It is presented here in its entirety) (Image Fairey Firefly at Oshkosh 2003)
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