Let me start by apologizing that it has been so long.
A few months ago when I saw that the EAA Ford Trimotor tour was going to be stopping at Aurora and Salem, I contacted my friend Bryan Heim, who has a close connection to the B-17 Alliance. I thought they might be interested in being the site host for the visit. He responded by telling me he had volunteered me to be his co-event coordinator for this visit and asked if that was ok. Knowing this meant that I’d be able to spend a lot of quality time with the Trimotor, of course I said yes.
Turns out the work part was easier than I expected. Bryan and Terry, executive director for the alliance, took care of most of the volunteer coordination activities and the volunteers were so good, that on site everyone worked together like a well oiled machine. I took the job of being the guy signaling the pilot to start the engines, making sure no one was going to approach the props on foot.
The biggest part of the work I did however, was that Bryan and I helped the pilot bring the plane out of the storage hangar every morning and then helped him put it away in the evening. This job usually did involve a few brief moments of stress, moving an aircraft that valuable in and out of a hangar makes one worried about making a mistake that will damage the aircraft. The rest of the job was fun though. We watched the preflights, learning a lot about the aircraft, talked to the cool folks around the hangar, and took pictures.
The EAA tour folks worked very hard to make sure volunteers and others who helped with the event got rides in the plane, and I got a ride in the copilot’s seat. This was incredible fun and the slow, graceful movements the plane made were surreal when compared to my previous flying experience. The turn on to final was my favorite part, it looked like I was watching a slow motion reel. Of course, the turn on to final is a bittersweet moment, as it also reminds you the ride is almost over.
In conclusion, I couldn’t be happier that I took this opportunity. It was fun, I met a lot of good people, and it felt good to do this different sort of work.
Take a closer look at the Trimotor visit pics.