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Thread: How ya fight back..According to Budd and Rich

  1. #1
    flyrite's Avatar
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    How ya fight back..According to Budd and Rich

    16 Oct 2019 -- An Important Subject
    A Change of pace for Thinking Out Loud: I'm running an important and wonderfully written blog from my buddy Rich Davidson of Lee Bottom Air Field. It concerns a critical aviation issue that I think needs more attention.

    And The Wind Was Gone

    Rich Davidson
    NORDO News

    Among the greatest aspects of aviation is the secret of what lies behind the curtain. Flying is an otherworldly experience - a universe within a universe with rules and colors not shared with the grounded. Aviators don’t think outside the box, they live outside it. Existing among the elemental gears of an ethereal machine painting backgrounds for mortals, they are also, unfortunately, inconsiderate of their realm.

    Years ago, when power lines threatened our stretch of clear-span river, we notified the FAA, construction stopped, and a proper site and airspace study was begun. Along with the study came the all-important opportunity for pilots and enthusiasts to file comments with the FAA.

    At the time, our fly-ins were attracting over 400 aircraft and thousands of people. Additionally, over 7000 “regulars” were on our email list. “Let’s enlist them,” we thought. And, we did. By giving out all the ways our airport followers could comment on the proposed wires, we were sure to offer a hefty swing. The many followers who were openly unhappy with the notion of the wires would surely come to our defense. And, they did – Can you guess how many? Here’s a hint. It wasn’t one and it wasn’t ten thousand. The answer is below.

    The number of people who wrote in was three. Think about that the next time there is a threat to a local airport, a senator speaks out against your activity, or some local group decides they don’t like your plane flying overhead. Think about it and realize that if it happens to your community nobody is going to come to your defense. Because, for all its hot air, aviation does a horrible job of working as a team to promote the sport, and an even worse job of standing up for its own.

    Posts on social media are nothing but the worst kind of messages in a bottle, tossed into a closed loop puddle. They may make your feel as though you are doing something, but you aren’t. To be effective you must expend your time, often some money, and a sincere effort to support the greatest freedom known to man. If you love it, stand up for it.

    Here’s where I’m going with this…

    For many years, people who knew me thought I was anti-warbird. No matter where I went guys would bring it up and make jokes about it. My belief is that notion developed from my desire to question everything. In today’s society, if you aren’t blindly loyal to a single point of propaganda, then you’re against it. Question how things work, well then, you must be against it. Right? Wrong.

    My passion for antiques was the result of several factors. First, they’re challenging, fun, and have real history. Two, they are most often chaperoned by down to Earth people. Finally, I couldn’t find a warbird group where I fit. Then, one day, a friend invited me out to the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour. I’ve been involved ever since.

    What did I find that made me want to do more? What about the group makes me stay? In short, it was the great group of people committed to keeping the soul of aviation alive, nurturing freedom in the hearts of millions, that made me stay. Some people say it, some live it. The Collings Foundation lives it.
    Along the way I’ve met amazing people, worked with amazing pilots, and learned much more than I imagined. I have also watched, with great admiration, as the Collings Foundation mentored more next generation aviators than all other groups combined. Yes, it may be my observation but I stand by it. The organization believes in its mission and it shows. That brings me to my point.

    As I’m sure you know, the Collings Foundation’s B-17, “909,” was recently involved in an accident. It was a tragedy. For those of us who knew the pilots, it was heartbreaking. Yet, we also cannot help but think of “our passengers.” To those who volunteer with the organization, every person that celebrates freedom with a flight in a foundation plane feels like family. Thinking of any them being injured, or worse, is crushing.
    However, with heavy hearts the organization must go on. Were the foundation to stop promoting the history of our great nation, and the ideas of freedom that accompany it, it would be an admission of defeat, or at the very least an indication of insincerity. Fortunately, that’s not the case. However, for the Collings Foundation to continue its mission it must have the FAA’s approval.

    Recently, Rob Collings, Executive Director of the Collings Foundation, sent members a letter addressing this very subject. In light of recent circumstances I cannot fathom the weight he is carrying. However, as you read his words, I believe you’ll see his commitment shows through in concern for both those in the recent accident and the ongoing mission of the foundation.

    Upon reading his closing words (below), I hope you’ll remember our Lee Bottom story about the wires which now cross a once clear-span stretch of river. For those of us in aviation to nurture the freedom of flight we must all positively participate in standing up for it. There are no other people out there who will. It is up to each of us. It is up to you.

    Dear supporters,
    Please join the Collings Foundation in our thoughts and prayers with those who were on the tragic flight of the B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine-O-Nine” on Wednesday, October 2nd. We will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley International Airport and the assistance of all local agencies in the days after the crash.

    The Collings Foundation team has been and remains fully cooperative with officials to determine the cause of the crash and we will comment further when facts and details become available. We have suspended the Wings of Freedom Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season and the aircraft have returned to our winter maintenance base in Florida.

    The mission of the Collings Foundation remains steadfast in the goal of making history come alive as we have for over 30 years. Since 1989, the Wings of Freedom Tour has touched the lives of millions, as we have made visits to over 3600 communities in that time. Tens of thousands have flown aboard our Living History Flight Experiences (LHFE) on the B-17, B-24, B-25, and A-1E and flight training on the TP-51C, TF-51D, and TP-40N. In the past week we have received many stories on how powerful and life-changing the tour has been for families and as we move forward, and we expect there are thousands more who have been touched by the Wings of Freedom Tour.

    In the coming months, federal agencies will be reviewing the LHFE program for not only our organization, but many other organizations nationwide who continue to fly vintage aircraft as a part of their educational mission. As these reviews take place, we feel it is important for the voices of those impacted by the Wings of Freedom Tour over the years to be heard. We need to let federal agencies know that the LHFE program is important to you and other American citizens as an educational tool.

    Please take a moment to add your comments to the current docket regarding the renewal of the Collings Foundation LHFE program with the FAA at the Federal Register. You may do so online at the following link:

    As you write your comment, please review the tips for submitting effective comments from at

    Thank you for your support of our living history mission.

    Rob Collings
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  2. #2
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Sometimes just one letter will effect an issue for the good, when politely brought to the attention of just one person or department.
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  3. #3
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting that info. I have commented. Not sure whether I should post the text of my comment, but here it is. If anybody has writers-block, maybe it will help in identifying your own thoughts.

    I am an active private pilot, and have had the privilege of flying on two different Collings Foundation aircraft - their B-24 and their TP-51C. Each of those experiences is indelible in my memory. Each painted a stark rendition of the bravery and resourcefulness of those who fought in the skies during WW2 and since.

    Obviously, in any activity involving aviation there is risk; we all know that. Again obviously, the risk for military aircraft, especially older ones, is greater than that of a modern airliner, and I think anybody engaged in flying in these old warbirds would recognize and accept that risk. I recognized the risk and was more than willing to accept it, because the experience was so important to me. For me, the risk/reward ratio was small. I would hate for regulatory restriction to deny others the opportunities of evaluating risk and potentially making their own choice to participate.

    I encourage the FAA to adopt a regulatory position that will encourage the Collings Foundation to continue its work of sharing the thrill and nostalgia of historic flight in its aircraft. The populace of this country deserves no less.

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: (case sensitive)

  4. #4

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    I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with Rob Collings in the past and can attest to his commitment and dedication to the preservation of historic aircraft and promotion of it to the new generations. I am not in the US and naturally have no say in your affairs but I am also a warbird operator and pilot, and was privileged to fly with Thunder City through the decade it operated and have also served on the board of an aviation regulatory authority. I loved what Rich wrote above and feel his frustration that not enough people come forward and make themselves heard when the chips are down - when it is really necessary. I enjoy this site and while Super Cubs are mainly not warbirds they are mainly old and there’s a lot of articulate and knowledgeable people on here so I’d like to encourage you to support the continuation of events like the the Wings of Freedom tour by making representations and getting others to do so too.

    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    'There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty".
    Margaret Thatcher
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    Comment made

    Comment made, thanks for posting the link!

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