We have returned from Brazil after another successful mission with new found perspective, better forged friendships and plenty of great stories. We gave the F-2 a check up and found all to be well. It receives the best care and is flown regularly. The Fairchild received a check up as well and we placed the original brakes and wheels where they belong, the garbage can. An upgrade to Cleveland wheels and brakes gave it a new lease on life. The ZQC-6 arrived well and without damage. We assembled the C-6 with lots of help from all around. The upper wings are pretty good size so we were happy to have all the extra hands when it came time to hoist them up in the air. Of course the lowers went into place first. We were running and conducting the first taxi test in two days.
The first flight went well as did the following flights. Some training with the chief pilot Cassiano was done as well as some pleasure flying in the F-2. Cassiano was kind enough to give me the back seat for the F-2 flight. I really miss that F-2 as it's my favorite. Having the opportunity to take it for a spin was a real treat. I snapped a photo of our flight in the F-2 while over the city. The other photo is of Cassiano and I in the Cabin during flight #1.
The weather there is nothing short of spectacular as was the flying and new sights. Many wonderful memories were made. I will definitely say the best part was being treated like family by the entire team. Being so far away from home can be difficult but the hospitality, enthusiasm and warm reception by all made it a wonderful experience. Many in Brazil have earned a permanent place in my heart as family. I truly feel as if I have new found family members. To be honest I really can't begin to put this experience into words. Yes, I know, even the guy who always has something to say about everything is at a loss for words. With that being the case I will say something about the stars of this show, the airplanes......
It never ceases to amaze me how these old airplanes take us on such adventures. Many of them offer an adventure when we meet them for the first time. The Fairchild, I met tucked away quietly in a Quonset on a little grass strip in Iowa. It offered a two day wrench turning adventure followed by flying it home. If at that time you told me on the other side I would be in Brazil with it a year later I would have laughed and called your crazy. The Cabin Waco, I met tucked away sitting in a quiet hangar on Washington Island. Dusty and lonely it had been left to sit. Its mags were tinkered with and left apart, fuel tanks empty and tires flat. Three trips and many hours were spent reviving the Cabin with a great adventure in the retrieval alone. It was with us for quite some time, received new cover and paint and well, you know the rest. Now having been through a few "meetings" with many old airplanes I always ask them the same question on our first introduction, "where have you been and where will you take me" because as I always say, airplanes are people too. If you don't think so, you're not listening to them.