Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fantasy in Flight

I love aviation.  I give a lot of my time to the Delaware Valley Historical Aviation Associaion (DVHAA) and curate the Wings of Freedom Museum.

I have had the flying bug since my dad bought me my first plastic model kit (an Airfix 1/72 scale B-26 Marauder which I still have) in the 6th grade. Over the years I made a ton of models, but always wanted to try the real thing. I finally had the means to take some flying lessons about 10 years ago. I racked up 72 hours of time, but never finished my pilot's license because I decided to go to grad school.

I walked away from the airplane always intending to go back, but circumstances never permitted me to. So I was absolutely thrilled the other day when I got to fly a genuine warbird!

That's me with a T-34B trainer. Built by Beechcraft, this airplane is the oldest T-34 still flying. It is serial #9.
I am deeply indebted to a friend of mine who is a CFI and member of the flying club that owns this airplane. He took me up and let me fly it!  What a thrill! After years of flying only underpowered civilian airplanes this was so much fun to play with. We didn't do any aerobatics (I would have loved to, but the plane is 50+ years old), just some high-banked turns that pulled a couple Gs. But that was enough for me to get the bug again.  Now all I need is a little (OK a LOT) of money!

The view through the canopy is incredible- nothing to obstruct your view- just like a P-51.

I had to sit in the rear cockpit since I wasn't a licensed pilot, but everything is the same.

A bird's-eye view! My house is down there somewhere!

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