The rare warbirds Senior Editor Dave Hirschman found on a Texas ranch—and the story of their owner—elicited many comments from our members.
“Tell Mike Fizer wow. Simply, wow. Those ‘Tall Tale’ photos were just wow. And not to leave you out, Dave Hirschman—you’re amazing. If I were teaching, next week would be devoted to this text, these photos, and the breathtaking coordination of the two. Wow.”
Merel R. O’Rourke
I was a T–38 instructor pilot at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas, from 1972 to 1975. Connie Edwards’ ranch was right off the end of our runway. Every once in a while he would call our tower and request a fly- by in his P–51 Mustang. It was always a great sight.
Your article mentioned he doesn’t offer tours, but he invited the whole training wing to come to the ranch as his guests. We saw all the airplanes, including the Bf 109s, a couple assembled and the rest in crates. He was a very gracious host, and ended up spending the evening with us telling war stories. The special treat were his home movies of the making of the Battle of Britain, shot from inside the bombers as he directed the action.
I’m sorry to hear he’s going to break up the collection, but I am thankful for having the opportunity to see one of the best warbird collections around.
I’m sorry, your story on Connie Edwards should have been buried. I read it twice, just to see if I missed any hint of humanity in the guy, but with the exception of giving a car to a friend without making him pay for it, I can’t find any.
In his own words, he says he doesn’t care about airplanes or pilots, and he doesn’t care what happens to his precious collection when he sells it. So he’s rich and wants to get richer, and AOPA Pilot has to give him space? I hope the airplanes get sold to people who care for them. They deserve better.
Morganville, New Jersey
In 1991 I was an instructor pilot for the U.S. Navy and I was tasked with the duty of teaching student Naval aviators how to fly the venerable North American T–2 Buckeye. One weekend we were dispatched to attend an airshow in Dallas. I had no trouble finding a student willing to depart NAS Kingsville, Texas, for an action-packed weekend in the big city.
While standing in front of the T–2 answering the usual questions, an older gentleman dressed in a Coast Guard flight suit struck up a conversation with me. He introduced himself as Connie Edwards. During the conversation he invited me to fly with him in his beautifully restored HU–16 Albatross painted in authentic U.S. Coast Guard markings. While flying the Albatross in front of thousands of airshow attendees, another Navy aircraft from World War II joined us in formation. I asked Edwards who the pilot was and he proudly said, “Why, that’s Tex, my son.”
Edwards was a proud father and deservedly so. All of these years I’ve wondered who was that guy that took me for that flight in his Albatross. Now I know. Thanks for the spectacular article and thanks again Mr. Edwards. I never forgot your generosity and that wonderful day in Dallas.
Rick “Vicious” Savage
El Dorado Hills, California
“Your latest issue of AOPA Pilot magazine (August 2014) was the best I have seen in 33 years of membership. Please tell all your staff a hearty thank you, well done, and keep up the good work!”
As a longtime Alaskan pilot and Pledge user I think Dave Hirschman overlooked Pledge’s great contribution to aviation safety (“P&E: Take the Pledge”). Years ago a new company pilot saw me putting Pledge on the front window of the Cessna 207 I was flying that day. He made a snide comment and obviously didn’t know what Pledge could do. After he walked away from the airplane he was flying that day, I went over and gave only the right front window a Pledge treatment, knowing we would be encountering a lot of rain that day.
Later that day his voice came up on our company frequency and asked me if I was around. When I told him I could copy him he called me a bad name. Knowing full well, I asked him what the problem was. He asked me to guess what seat he was flying from. Of course, I knew the answer. He quickly learned that Pledge was a great poor man’s Rain-X. Much cheaper, easier to apply, and easier to remove the smashed bugs. Having Pledge on the airplane’s front window takes a lot of the pucker factor out of flying in the rain, especially in the mountains and when landing.
Thanks for the article on using Pledge on the windscreen. I’ve been using this for about five years when I lived in the Chicago area. I moved to Arizona a few years ago and continued to use Pledge, but, a warning—during the growing season, whenever I use Pledge on the windscreen or anywhere else on the airplane, it attracts numerous bees, maybe from the citrus odor. If you leave any openings into the cabin (air intakes, doors, windows), the bees will find their way in and, obviously, this is not a great situation to be in just prior to a flight. So if there are bees around, I switch to Gel Gloss spray, which has more of a petroleum odor and does as good a job (at a slightly higher cost) without attracting bees.
Letters about letters probably don’t fill editors with excitement, but in this case I feel compelled to respond to the pair of August letters criticizing the June “Women Find Their Wings” article. The first writer seems to equate this private project with a government effort; not true in the slightest. The second letter suggests that nebulous innate differences between men and women are the sole reason so few women “respond to the magic of flight.” He also calls the issue “unimportant to most people.” Maybe among his cohorts it seems that way. The proportion of female pilots in the United States has been hovering around 7 percent for many years. Is that because women somehow just aren’t interested? Or is it possible that many women are put off by the fact that we walk into the FBO and feel rather alone among a sea of older men—some welcoming, some not?
The letter writer attempted to chastise AOPA by saying that AOPA Pilot needs to represent “all aviation enthusiasts.” Absolutely correct. To its credit, AOPA Pilot did exactly that with the “Women Find Their Wings” article, demonstrating that it indeed represents all of us, not just the 93 percent.
Lee Griffin’s name was misspelled in “Pilot Briefing: Flight for a Cause” (August 2014 AOPA Pilot). AOPA Pilot regrets the error.
We welcome your comments. Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701 or email ([email protected]). Letters may be edited for length and style before publication.