Lost Planes We Love: The Lockheed 1329 JetStar

Caution, if you are looking at some sort of historical retrospective on the Jetstar or facts and figures… stop reading — this is just an article based on pure opinion and observations.  Otherwise, enjoy!


The Lockheed Jetstar is one of those airplanes that kind-of grows on you after a while.  If you were like me, you hated it at first sight in the aviation books you read as a kid.  Raised on the clean lines of the Gulfstream and Dassault Falcon lineage, I had little taste for the boxy-looking 1329 Jetstar myself.  Everything just seemed wrong: four engines where two should be… square windows… those big damn tanks on the wings… and what about that barn door of a tail huh?  Gosh, I wondered who in the heck would have loved it.


Serendipity: Sometimes Things Happen for a Reason.

ryanavatar When a person turns thirty-years-old, the idea of being a “young person” has pretty much gone away.  You’ve passed the milestones of adulthood: you are old enough to drive, old enough to drink, old enough to get drafted (if that ever came about), and old enough to rent a car — which has become something of a 21st century right of passage at the age of 25.

But once you are 30; you’re an adult and there isn’t much left that’s off limits to you — except maybe an AARP membership — and that’s nothing I’ll look forward to. By this time, it’s assumed that you’ve got your life together and are past the entry-level jobs, have some sort of meaningful relationship, and are well on your way to personal success and happiness.

For me, I’ll remember my 30th year on planet Earth to be something of an interesting and strange year — one that became a perfect example of serendipity in motion.


Tell Us Your Favorite Airplane to Fly or Fly In?

rk_speedmail I asked this on Twitter today, but thought it might be a nice question for the folks that read Arizona Keough too!

“What is your favorite airplane to fly or fly in… and what event did it for you?”

So now is your time to tell US a story by posting a comment here!  Just click on the comments link and tell us a story!

I find that this simple question draws so many different responses… and in many cases people sit back and think of a truly memorable experience and are reminded of the excitement and passion that brought us to flying in the first place.  In an era of hearing so much bad involving flying, (airline troubles, gas prices, ATC understaffing, etc.) I think it’s important we look back at the grassroots of our love for the community and the industry and remember why we love the allure of the sky like we do.

OK, so here is mine…

gen20087103408 Picture this… Geneseo, NY… July 2005.  It was the conclusion of the Saturday show on the “Greatest Show On Turf” at Geneseo Airport and I was searching for a friend to take me up… in anything!  Along comes Quentin Marty (photo at left of Quentin via Eric Dumigan, www.airic.ca), the owner and pilot of a beautiful PT-13 Stearman from Van Sant Airport, and he was looking for a bit of “weight” for the front cockpit for a dusk flight!  The Lycoming barked to life with a slightly different sound than the Continental 220 normally found on the front of a Stearman… but the sound was still the reassuring growl of a round motor, so I was fine!

We took off from the grass runway and headed due east for the best spot to mess around a little in low light of the day… Conesius Lake.  The smallest of the Finger Lakes, Conesius is only about 10 miles long, but a mile wide.  As we came over it, the radiant heat from the ground subsided to a cool, moist breeze.

Quentin crackled over the intercom, “are you up for some acro?” and of course I said yes!  We got some altitude and began a slow dive with a pull-up to a nice, big, lazy loop.  The wires hummed as we recovered and he took it into a barrel roll… lazy yet again.  We went through a series of nice maneuvers that made the Stearman perform like the perfect lady she is.  People below stopped their boats and took some time to enjoy the classic impromptu show over their heads.

Finally it was time we headed back… though I could have stayed out there forever.  Quentin kept the Stearman low on the flight back so we could wave at people on the ground.  More than a few times we did a 360 turn for appreciate kids on the ground waving at us!  With a waggle of the wings, we were off to return to the field… a steak dinner was awaiting us at the crew tent!

That event did it for me… I was infatuated with the Stearman and continue to be to this very day!  It was my favorite flying moment aboard my favorite plane!

Many of my favorite flying moments took place aboard Stearman products… including the photo above when I flew with Addison Pemberton (of Spokane, WA) in his Stearman 4DM Speedmail Senior… with Tom Lowe in his Stearman C3R and Ben Scott in his Stearman Speedmail Junior off our wings.  A flight of early square-tail Stearmans over Galesburg, IL — home of the National Stearman Fly-In!

So that’s my story!  Add yours below by clicking on the comment link!

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Top Ten Ways to Become an Airshow Insider

2035287760057782051nvZtLX_ph Well folks, it’s summer and the airshow season is in full swing. The oil crunch has been unkind to quite a few shows out there, causing cancellations for some and scale-backs for others — but thanks to loyal fans, airshows still stand as tip-top entertainment.

I was supposed to be at my hometown airshow this weekend in Geneseo, NY — appropriately named “The Geneseo Airshow – The Greatest Show on Turf.” It’s one of the few grass-field shows left out there, and is something like a field of dreams for many aviation enthusiasts. Unfortunately the gas crunch hit me hard and made the trek of 2600 miles from AZ to NY impossible, so I am here soothing my sorrow for not being there with a blog post.

I will admit, I am not a die hard airshow fan like some — I rarely go to large shows with multiple jet teams and huge crowds. I prefer smaller, more intimate venues. I like the kind of shows where you can do a little talking with the crews and pilots and get hooked up with some behind-the-scenes access that the public can’t get usually. I like being an airshow insider.

But being an airshow insider is way more than the exclusive access and whatnot — it’s about getting more out of the show than just what’s happening in the air.  It’s about finding new ways to enjoy the event, or even just survive the harsh environment that they sometimes present to allow yourself to enjoy a show without feeling pain.

So based on that, I came up with ten ways to become the “Airshow Insider” — or ways to get the most out of your airshow experience.