Hello again, WIXers,
It's IndyJen with another update from Harpoon Land ...
Hot Stuff was out and about this past week, with a round trip to Peoria IL. The natives and other attendees of the Prairie Air Show were all smiles at her appearance, too, although with great foresight our hosts constructed an emergency backup smile-generation balloon, just in case.
There's the happy crew picture, although truth be told, it was one hot weekend, and though everyone kept on smiling and amusing, that's a tired-out bunch right there. PJ is not pictured, as she is behind the camera, but she'll be in plenty of pics to follow.
Such as right there in that picture, in which PJ is wiping her down. Hot Stuff is a much cleaner airplane than in years past, after endless efforts at tightening her up, but a PV-2 will always distribute some measure of fluids. These days, it hardly takes any time to spiff her up.
This was the second year in a row for us to be in Peoria. Unlike last year, this time I was running around on my own legs, so hooray for that. Hot Stuff ended up in a different area this time, segregated away from all the other warbirds. The ground staff weren't ready to receive us, I figure, and the Boss had to put us where he could put us. It was fine in any case ...
... but it took a little effort. And you know what, it doesn't take all that many people to push a great big harpoon, about twenty yards. You have to wonder about some people, though, who will drop out of the push and take a picture instead of contributing the elbow grease!
Our fellow WW2 iron was over on the adjacent taxiway, while we were on the closed parallel runway. There were some interesting planes over there.
There's PJ with the AT-11.
And that's the bomb bay of the TBM, who left midday on Sunday, not long after this pic was taken. Nice "MK-18" torpedo, especially with the removable baggage doors!
We had a couple F-16s from Oklahoma as well, but no pictures of them. IndyJen worked on ANG F-16s herself back in the day. But just beyond them was Sentimental Journey, an extremely shiny and fine restoration.
Pete "Doctor" Scholl, one of the B-17 pilots, came over to hobnob with us at our plane, and later PJ and I walked over to visit him and his bird. He is another F-16 type, flying ANG Falcons to tide him over between B-17 hops. There were a great many features in his airplane for us to ooh and aah over, not least of which was the navigator's/bombardier's position. We should all have so many of the right boxes installed in the right places. It felt like a time capsule in there.
There was no place we didn't get ourselves into in that plane, except for the ball turret, which, you know, your Correspondent believes she has long since outgrown the ball turret anyhow. The tail-gunner's position was interesting to sit in, though. A great field of view, and this late-model B-17 had far more comfortable accomodations than the early-model B-24's tail-gun perch, which is the only other one I've ever sat in. That's PJ, admiring the view.
Our neighbor to the north was a Delta Airlines display, which sent us an endless stream of recently air-conditioned airshow-goers. Touring Hot Stuff's interior got 'em heated back up again pronto!
There's another satisfied customer coming out of the door. A steady stream, all weekend, is what we had. Appreciative folks, too.
There's Hot Stuff, all dressed up for display, with Sandy's store under the wing as always. Sandy has a good eye for where the shade's going to be during the course of the day. I don't believe we ever had to shift the tables at all.
Other neighbors included some boys from Pensacola's helicopter training squadron 8. We had some nice chats with them.
Peoria put on the food and beverages for crews, and it wasn't bad. There's our bunch on Arrival Friday, the hottest day I have ever experienced, at least among those hot-day memories I have not yet repressed. Phew. That's Cap'n Bubba, who is also known as Long Tall Glen in these pages, and Machine Shop Gaylon, who flew copilot. Sandy and PJ and yours truly were the rest.
I think six people is about an ideal crew size for a trip of this kind, but five can get the job done well enough. One person ends up without a lunch buddy, though, which I guess is what it is.
The show put us up at the fine Pere Marquette Hotel downtown, like last year. It is a 14-story art-deco edifice, and just as nice as it can be.
We saw plenty of friends there at PIA: WIXer Flyin' Illini was there, taking his usual high-quality pictures, and Harpooner Gary Hilton was there with the lovely Mrs. Gary, who is actually called Carol. Gary is a nut for PV's, of course, and Carol is surely a saint to humor him in his (quite justifiable) obsession!
The Thunder Pig folks were there with their enormous C-123; we run into them at just about every place we go. Our man Hot Rod Steve was a C-123 loadmaster back in his day, and he (and PJ and I) don't get tired of confabbing with those nice people.
Eventually it's time to go, and there we see Gaylon tying down the cargo. He's the loadmaster, but as I say, it's a warm place, back in the tail of a Harpoon on a sunny hot day. Gaylon took a beating there, poor man.
There's Gaylon and Glen on the way home. It was a fine day for flying.
Near Bloomington IL is an enormous field of wind generators, stretching for miles. PJ had a good view of it from her turret seat, which is where you'll always find her in flight if she has any say in the matter.
Arriving home, we unload, clean up, and button up the old bird, and then finally we can head for the showers. I guess I was tired enough, I didn't take any pictures of that stage of operations, but so it goes. I'll end instead with a view of Friday on the ramp, preparing to launch for a good weekend with our old bird and her dedicated crew:
That's Hot Rod Steve, helping load us up before we hit the road. He stood fire-guard during the start, and shut up shop after we taxied out, and gave us the banzai-wave as we took off, says PJ, who could see such goings-on from the turret.
Next potential shows, I believe, are Mattoon at the end of August, and Scott AFB in September. If you have an event near you, it's not as good an event as it would be with a PV-2! Let us and them hear about it!
Till next time,