Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Big Thank You to the Crew Back Home

As they make their journey home, Andy, Mark, Andrew, Dan, Russ and Art wish to extend a special thank you to the following people who worked so hard on the DVII, Dr1 and DVIII getting them ready for their epic flight. They worked tirelessly long hours and generously volunteered their time:

Stewart Bergner, former United Airline mechanic, next to his beautiful RV 4. Without his mechanical expertise, the planes would not have left Platte Valley!

Mark and Cindy Beam. Both are airline pilots. Here they are standing next to their beloved L-5. They both worked on all 3 aircraft; fabricating sheet metal, working on engines and painting final touches. Mark wrote about flying the DVII earlier in the blog.

Ryan Lunde, of ChampionAirPhotos.com, lent a hand as well and was our air-to-air photographer here at Platte Valley Airport. Ryan owns and flys an Aeronca Champ.

Brian Waltman, third from the left, also tirelessly donated his time. He assists his father, VAFM web site developer Ted Waltman, rebuilding Moose aircraft.

In the previous blog entry, Andrew King mentioned Jimmy Doolittle. I thought it fitting to include a photo here of my father sitting down with Gen. Doolittle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fun and Thrills at the Dayton Dawn Patrol Fly-In!

What a beautiful day Sunday turned out to be! Andrew, Dan and Mark put on a wonderful flying demonstration for the crowd. After the planes landed, children were invited to have a seat in the Fokker Dr1. The kids were thrilled!

Right after the planes landed.

A young boy delighted to sit in the Dr1!

The line of kids with their parents waiting for their chance to sit in the Triplane.

Announcer, author Steve Skinner,
Andy and Steve's son trying out the Dr1.

A delighted young lady helped into the Red Baron's plane!

Steve being filmed by co-producer, cinematographer Russ Wiltse as he tells the crowd of the 1200 mile journey these planes have made to arrive at this air field.

Another shot of the line of kids with their parents
waiting their turn in the Dr1.

The DVII, Dr1 and DVIII lined up for the crowd.

Art making his way to that perfect camera angle for that perfect shot!

Art getting that perfect shot!

Russ getting his crowd shot. Look at him in those stylish Jodhpurs-how apropos!

The Munth's. They were at the Vintage Aero Flying Museum in August. They are from Ohio. When they learned of the event, they came out to see us!

Andy with event co-creator, Chris Mirren, discussing
plans for the next WWI Rendezvous in 2011.
Mr Mirren was in the restoration division
for the USAF Museum.

Andrea with Mr. Mirren. He shared that he knew Dr. James J. Parks very well and was delighted that the DVII Dr. Parks built was one of the aircraft that made the journey.

On the flight line getting ready for take-off!

At the pilot interview in Urbana, Ohio.

During the pilot interview for the documentary, each pilot was asked how they felt about the journey, what it was like to have flown the 1200 miles to the event and what was most memorable for them. Here were they're responses:
Mark Holliday, pilot of the Dr1:
"When I was first asked by Andy to make this cross-country trip, I was hesitant to commit. I remembered what it was like 10 years ago flying the Triplane from Tennessee to Colorado and how demanding that was. I was now being asked to go twice that distance! You've got to remember that I have to stop every 100 miles for fuel and oil and while in the air I have to keep completely focused. The Dr1 is not like a general aviation aircraft. The Dr1 has extra difficulties. Its tri-wing construction blocks visibility both in the air and on the ground. Its responsiveness is quick, but different and remember, this is an open cockpit airplane with a relatively small cockpit--you're not comfortable! What I think is most memorable is landing at those grass runways across middle America. It was cool to see the folks so excited! We knew at Dayton people would be excited, that's what they came to the show for. With all that being said, its been well worth it and I'm glad I decided to go."
Dan Murray, pilot of the DVII:
"I was excited to go on the trip. I'm used to flying around in my open cockpit TravelAir. But that being said, that damn Fokker DVII is a bugger to fly! It's heavy, slow to respond and not easy to maneuver. And speaking of maneuvering, you've got to remember I'm 70 years old!! Getting in and out of this large, full scale aircraft is demanding. But it has been fun and I feel a great sense of accomplishment as well. The whole trip has been memorable for me. But I must admit, being one of of 3 airplanes like these flying in formation cross country has been quite a thrill. It's also been quita a thrill pretending to have the other 2 guys in my sights!"
Andrew King, pilot of the DVIII:
"Well I have to admit, I have the easiest of the 3 planes to fly! When Andy asked me to come along on this journey, I was all for it. I've had a lot of experience making cross country journey's. It is demanding none the less. Again, it's cold, cramped--I'm 6' 3" for crying out loud! But it's also a lot of fun! I liken it to climbing a mountain; it's difficult, your muscles ache, it's tiring, but once you've accomplished it, there is a terrific amount of satisfaction. I think one of my most memorable moments was at Wright Field Flying the DVIII and thinking about how this same field is where Jimmy Doolittle did the first inverted loop. Here I am flying around at the same place he accomplished that--how cool!"

Andrew King with his beloved Pitcairn Autogiro. Isn't she a beauty!

The pilots are due to head out tomorrow, September 30, and start their trip back.
More to come as they journey home!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

At Wright Field for the Airshow

With filming and the need to assist the camera crew and with film editing taking precedence over everything else, extensive photos for this Blog entry are having to wait:( ---But they're coming!

On Friday, September 25th, The Dr1, DVIII and DVII made a grand entrance on to the field at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. First to arrive was Dan Murray in the DVII. The announcer was extremely knowledgeable about WWI history, but I wanted provide him with more info about this particular plane and the pilot. So I meandered my way over to the announcer and when he broke from speaking, I asked if he would like to know some more specifics. I explained that this DVII was from the group who came all the way out from Colorado. He decided it would be great if we could chat on mic about this. As he's interviewing and learning about the DVII, and that my father built it 40 years ago, he suddenly stops and says, "Is your last name Parks?" After confirming that it was, he turns to the crowd and says, "I want you folks to know that her father, Dr. James J. Parks, is responsible for the most extensive collection of WWI Ace material in the world and has preserved history for us all to learn from and enjoy to this day!" He went on to say that he, himself, had written a book on WWI balloon buster Frank Luke, Jr. and did most of his research from our archives. The book is "The Last Stand" and it is by Stephen Skinner. As Steve continued the chat, he had me speak about the DVIII and the Dr1, which were due to come in shortly. The weather was spitting and the guys in the DVIII and Dr1 had been delayed quite some time. The crowd was getting anxious. Finally, an hour later, they arrive to cheers from the crowd! They are taxied to an open area and are allowed to been seen up close and personal by the crowd. Each pilot generously answered questions and kids and adults were thrilled alike! Andy arrived as well and got with Steve.
Andy and Mark happy to have landed

Andy and Steve reminisced for a moment about the research on Frank Luke, Jr. and then Andy spoke beautifully to the crowd about our three aircraft and the 1100 mile journey they have made. Local press and TV stations were in attendance. Andrew entertaining some folks--More pictures to come!

Meanwhile, today the sun finally shone, but not until 4pm! And the event ended at 5pm! Art was spitting nails because he was so looking forward to capturing the aircraft in flight with blue skies today. "I have all the footage I need of these planes with a gray backdrop!" Tomorrow promises sunshine. Art and Russ should be happy campers.

Tonight we had a formal dinner at the Air Force Museum. For the occasion, the pilots dressed in WWI uniforms and their wives in nurses uniforms.
Andy and his wife Michelle in full regalia!

Putting on the final uniform touches!
All set to go!

At the dinner, Andrew King, Mark Holliday and Dan Murray were recognized for their historic journey!
The event was held in the museum itself and a video montage of the history of flight was shown and the Air Force band played. We sat with General Metcalf and his wife. We felt very honored!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rainy Weather in Ohio Makes Time for Post-Production and Aircraft Repair

Today I landed in Ohio to meet up with the pilots and the ground crew. Andy, Mark, Andrew, Dan, Chuck, Cliff and Gerry were all up to their elbows in plane parts today. Repairs on the DVIII's engine and repairs to the DVII's wing, (more to come tomorrow, along with pics), kept them busy right up until the evening's briefing at the Air Force Museum for the start of tomorrows airshow. Pictures courtesy of co-producer and cinematographer of the documentary, Russ Wiltse.
Listening to the briefingbriefing
Mark Holliday, pilot of the Dr1, and Andrea enjoy a moment of levity!

After the briefing, a lovely reception was had inside the museum.
Engine problems on the DVIII, combined with bad weather are keeping us grounded today. With the many skilled mechanics working on it, we should be up and going here shortly.
Andy, after a long and arduous flight from Tahiti, with a quick 5 hour stop in Colorado to get some clean underwear, joins the team at Red Stewart airport. But in great spirits like a kid in a candy store, he's overjoyed to be with the guys (and Linda too)!

Art on the field with camera mounted on a tripod in the rain. He makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect the camera with his shirt. Brad Pitt eat your heart out!

We were joined today by Andrew's parents, Jane and Bill King. Jane knows how to prepare for the long days at Air Shows!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Pilots Have Landed in Dayton!

Some terrific shots by Russ Wiltse, 2nd camera man, of our 3 aircraft making their final leg of the trip out~

Our ground crew support team taking a much needed break!
Benny Young's classic model T truck. The flight team did a nice job acting as a WWI German military crew, but the wardrobe crew was taking a coffee break.

Russ is given an enjoyable ride in this classic roadster by some of ourfriends in Richmond, Indiana. My T Fun!
Here is Benny Young (center) of the Model T Club of America, who generously lent us his classic model T truck for a short scene in our film.

Chris, Sara little Ryan at their grass airport in Dobbs Ohio where they have been a great host for helping us with the filming of the planes.
We found a restroom at one of our stops today decorated with the parts of an old
DC-3. Check out the size of that thing!
Andy Parks, Executive Director and President of the Vintage Aero Flying Musuem, flew out to Dayton today to meet up with the pilots. On the agenda: getting filled in on all excitement of the ttrip out and meeting with the Air Force Museum's representatives for the low down on the next 4 days!
I'm heading to Dayton tomorrow to meet up with the gang! Will be blogging from Ohio next!
-Andrea Parks, Director of the Vintage Aero Flying Musuem and Ghost Writer for the Blog:)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In New Carlisle, Ohio...Next on to Waynesville, Ohio!

Though the weather has been cloudy and caused delay in travel, the filming has benefited. Amazing footage was shot at New Carlisle, Ohio.
Next stop today is Red Stewart Airfield. The Red Stewart Airfield in Waynesville, Ohio, is a family owned and operated grass field. The airport and the Stewart family are dedicated to the preservation of grass roots aviation. With its grass runways, picturesque surrounds and "old-time" look and feel of WWI, it makes an ideal place to shoot the documentary.

These next 3 photos were caputured by DVIII pilot, Andrew King, with his camera phone!

Andrew's view from the cockpit of the DVIII with the Dr1 and DVII straight ahead!
On the tarmac in New Carlisle, Ohio.
A simply beautiful shot of Producer/Director Art Annecharico's WACO. Art has been following right along side the Fokkers and shooting from the air shots all along the way. Camera's have been mounted on the WACO, as well as the Fokkers, and gyro-stabalized cameras and hand-held camera's are in use, too!