Today’s Email Announcements

Annual Stamp Show and Bourse at the Best Western on May 12-13

The Holston Stamp Club will be holding the Annual Stamp Show and Bourse at the Best Western in Johnson City, TN, on May 12-13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event has free admission, and there will also be countless stamps, exhibits, dealers and prizes. This is something for everyone of all ages, a fun event full of stamps both worldwide and from the U.S., commons and classics. Don’t miss out!

 

CCCTI to Offer Extreme Super Summer Camp and Kids in the Kitchen Camps

This summer, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Continuing Education Division will once again offer “Extreme Super Summer Camp” for kids ages 5 and up and “Kids in the Kitchen” camps for kids ages 9 and up. The programs will feature week-long courses and daily activities Monday through Friday.

Super Summer Camp sessions are held on the Caldwell Campus from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily. Each Super Summer session covers two topics with students separated into different age groups to allow each program to be customized with age-appropriate activities. Early drop-off times will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Late pick-up times will be from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost per session is $90 and includes early drop-off, late pick-up, two programs and a snack between programs.

Kids in the Kitchen camps are offered on both the Caldwell and Watauga campuses and are held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Kids in the Kitchen sessions are $150.

Registration for Extreme Super Summer Camp is ongoing and space is limited. To register, or for more information, call 828-726-2242.

Following is the program schedule for each week:

Super Summer Camps

June 19-June 23

Steps Ahead Fitness

Basketball Camp – Love Basketball? Want to learn more? Come and have fun this summer learning basketball fundamentals such as ball handling skills, passing, dribbling, shooting and team play. Bring your friends and make it a group effort. Students need to bring gym clothes, tennis shoes and a water bottle with their name on it.

Kickin’ Martial Arts – This course will introduce students to the basic movements within martial arts. Several styles and techniques will be covered to help students get an idea of the many different disciplines that are taught. Students will need to dress in casual gym clothes and have socks available. Students will need to bring a water bottle with their name on it.

June 26- June 30

Power Cheer

Cheerleading/Dance – Learn age appropriate dance, cheer and chants. The class will work on tumbling and stunting. Students also will do several team building/cheerleading activities, which will work to build self-confidence. Cheerleaders need to dress in gym shorts or pants, t-shirt and tennis shoes. Hair needs to be put up off their shoulders. No jewelry is allowed. Students need to bring a bottle of water with their name on it.

Gymnastics/Dance – Students will learn to express themselves through movement. They will learn different dance styles within the classroom and will have time to share ideas and be creative in coming up with their own dance routine. Students will need to wear comfortable clothing that allows easy movement. They will also need tennis shoes and socks. Students should bring a water bottle with their name on it.

OR

Little Robots (Designed for ages 5-8 only)

Building Robots – Students will be involved in interactive, hands-on activities that include creating, designing and constructing eco jewelry, robots and cars.  Through this process, members will learn how to create and maintain an engineering notebook while learning about the engineering design process.

Robots Everywhere! – Robots surround us everywhere. Students will discover how they interact with robots on a daily basis and how they can work to make their own creations.

July 10 – July 14

Destination Science

Mad Science! – Step into a lab full of fun and discover your inner mad scientist! Whether you are a chemist, a physicist or an engineer, during Science Adventures Camp students will have a wild and wacky time exploring different types of science.

Science AdventuresScience is experimental, exploratory and exciting! It’s about the Aha! moments in life – like when you figure out how something works, or realize that science and cooking go hand in hand. Students will get to of creativity and discovery while building and playing with astonishing gadgets and fantastic gizmos.

OR

Bigger Bots (designed for ages 9 and up only)

Building Robots – Students will be involved in interactive, hands-on activities that include creating, designing and constructing eco jewelry, robots and cars.  Through this process, members will learn how to create and maintain an engineering notebook while learning about the engineering design process.

Robots Everywhere! – Robots surround us everywhere. Students will discover how they interact with robots on a daily basis and how they can work to make their own creations.

July 17 – July 21

Speed Camp

Aerodynamics – Like airplanes? Want to build a helicopter? Come learn how to build and fly different types of model airplanes. Students will learn different ways to achieve top flight speed and time. Each student will have a model to take home with them.

Pinewood Derby – Want to race a car? Want to build that car with your own hands? This course is designed to allow students to build their own pinewood derby car and to prepare for a race on the final day. Each student will take their car home with them.

July 24 – July 28

Art Expo

Foam Magic – Like making things with your hands? Come experience the world of foam.  Students will have the chance to learn with hands-on experience the art of creating many different projects with foam and sculpting. All of the pieces that are created within the classroom will be displayed at a gallery opening at the college on the last day.  Students will be able to take their projects home at the end of the week.

Art: A Little Bit of Everything – Want to create something? Like to use your imagination? Come and allow your imagination to soar. This course will introduce students to many different types of art and allow many great hands-on projects. Students will be able to showcase their projects in an open gallery at the college on the last day of class.

Caldwell Campus – Kids in the Kitchen

(Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)

Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. 4 p.m.

Learn the science behind the magic of baking and pastries. Students will prepare and enjoy such items as cupcakes, puff-pastry desserts, tarts and finish the week off with their own “specialty” cake.

Chocolates and Candies – July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! Students will learn how chocolates, fruits and assorted candies come together to create awesome treats

Pizza! Pizza! – July 24 – July 28; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn to make a different pizza every day including calzones, gourmet and dessert pizzas. Topping the week off will be a dough-tossing contest.

Watauga Campus – Kids in the Kitchen

(Ages 9 and up only. Cost $150)

Pizza! Pizza! – June 19 – June 23; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Also offered July 24 – July 28, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn to make a different pizza every day including calzones, gourmet and dessert pizzas. Topping the week off will be a dough-tossing contest.

Baking Magic – June 26 – June 30; 1 p.m. 4 p.m.

Also offered July 31 – Aug. 4; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn the science behind the magic of baking and pastries. Students will prepare and enjoy such items as cupcakes, puff-pastry desserts, tarts and finish the week off with their own “specialty” cake.

Chocolates and Candies – July 10 – July 14; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! Students will learn how chocolates, fruits and assorted candies come together to create awesome treats.

Cooking 101 – Teenage Style – July 17 – July 21; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

For the teen who loves to cook or wants to learn more. Students in this course will create different types of bread, discuss and practice some basic cooking techniques, and make sauces and homemade pasta.

 

Flu Restrictions Lifted at ARHS Facilities

As a result of the declining number of flu cases seen over the past few weeks, the visitation restrictions Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) put in place on February 24th at The Foley Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital, and Watauga Medical Center have been lifted.

The Art Cellar 2017 Season Schedule

Paintings Drawings of Herb Jackson
June 29 – July 29
Spotlighting the work of abstract artist and North Carolina Award
winner Herb Jackson.
Artist Talk and Book Signing – Sunday July 2, from 2-4 p.m.20 Years in Review, Tony Griffin Retrospective
July 13 – August 12
A look back at the figures and landscapes of classically trained
artist Tony Griffin.
Artist Reception – Saturday July 15, from 4-6 p.m.

Life on Canvas, Noyes Capehart Retrospective
August 2 – 26
A retrospective exhibition of Noyes Capehart’s complex and layered artworks. His shadowy, cryptic messages are often embedded in the evocative landscapes.
Artist Talk and Book Signing – Sunday August 6, from 2-4 p.m.

Conversations with William Dunlap
Artist Talk and Book Signing – August 13, from 2-4 p.m.

Artist Invitational, The Next 25 Years
August 28 – October 21
An exciting opportunity to see the work of promising regional artists whose work merits wider recognition.
Gathering of the Artists, Saturday, Sept. 2, from 4-6 p.m.

Holiday Open House
Share the joyous season in beautiful High Country surroundings Saturday December 16, from 3-5 p.m.

 

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Richmond senior center will show off new look – Palladium


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It’s This Easy To Look Inside An Algorithm

These are the opaque decisions made for us all day, every day, by computer programs–algorithms that dictate the fate of so much of what we see. And now, the U.K. studio If has a concept proposing how we could look inside this software to understand why we’re seeing what we see.

Developed for the U.K. government’s open call to make its digital services more transparent, If presents several straightforward bits of user interface that can clarify esoteric, automated processes.

Read the full submission here. [Image: IF]

This first workflow shows how much money will be paid by the government for a health checkup, how much will need to be paid by the client, and for what reasons. Note how the designers associate the simple color orange with the act of getting more information. It underlines the word “why,” it highlights that a key decision was made by a computer, and it’s even the color used in the “X” bullet points that detail why someone has been penalized. Orange becomes an unconscious cue to find out WTF is going on with this bill, with full transparency as to when a human or machine has made a decision.

Read the full submission here. [Image: IF]

A second workflow, for appointments, gives the user an even deeper look into the algorithm. Tapping into an appointment date that’s been set by the machine, the user can see the “insights” that led the software to make this decision–including where a person lived, the days of the week he preferred to have appointments, and his own history of attendance. If anything looks wrong, the user can “stop using this insight” with a tap. And if things still look wrong, the user can contact a human for help with another tap.

I’m not claiming this is cutting-edge design or anything. It’s links. Buttons. Lists. What’s radical has nothing to do with the interface but the intent of the interface, its willingness to bring the user behind the curtain at every step. The products of today do this a bit–Netflix tells you why it has recommended various movies, and Facebook has that “why am I seeing this ad” link you may have noticed. But there’s still a huge gap between what If has proposed and pretty much any existing platform. Be it social media or health insurance, no company’s software is nearly so self-revealing. And as we only have more and more machines making decisions on our behalf every day, that’s a trend that needs to change, lest the user become the used.

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Ford Lauderdale Air Show turns South Florida skies into a grand spectacle

It’s official. It’s the Ford Lauderdale Air Show, even if the papers sometimes call it the Fort Lauderdale Air Show. After all, the catchy name is what attracted Allan Young in the first place. In fact, it was his idea. 

Young is chairman of the board for the South Florida Ford Dealers, consisting of 28 dealers from Fort Pierce to the Florida Keys on the east coast, from Naples to Port Charlotte on the Gulf Coast. He is also the owner of Wayne Akers Ford in Lake Worth. The man is a born promoter. His office walls attest to his group’s community involvement. There are shots of Miami sports figures and teams, and there is a framed Miami Dolphins jersey, all representing teams with which Young has worked with at one time or another.

Indeed, it was through another major community sponsorship that Young became aware of the opportunity to be a title sponsor for this year’s revived air show. He was at a meeting with the Winterfest Boat Parade committee, of which Ford is a sponsor, when he learned that the air show was searching for a title sponsor.

It needed one. Recall that when the show was launched spectacularly in the mid-1990s, it was called the Shell Air and Sea Show per Shell Oil Company. That was a good corporate fit. Airplanes need gas. And so was the later sponsor, McDonald’s, with its wholesome family image. Then, due to circumstances beyond the control of the sponsor, the show, although increasingly successful, was suspended for several years.  It was brought back in 2012, thanks to the efforts of the Motwani family, prominent beachfront property owners and developers elsewhere in the city. They brought aboard Brian Lilley, an experienced air show producer, to restore what had been, both to the audience and performers, one of the most popular air shows in the country.

Ford became involved too late last year to get much publicity. The announcement came just weeks before the May weekend date. There wasn’t time to include Ford’s historic blue oval logo in the pre-show promotion. Many people who flocked to the show center on A1A in front of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park did not even know Ford was involved.

There is no doubt about it this year. “Ford Lauderdale” is a natural title. It is obviously a play on the name Fort Lauderdale, and it also gives the sponsor great visibility. 

Young takes only partial credit for the name. He explains:

“I was kicking it around with Gregg Snowden from our advertising agency (J. Walter Thompson), who works closely with our South Florida team, and we just stayed with it. It was a fit. Marketing is marketing. The Lord put it in front of us. I outshot my skill set this time. I have to thank the promoters for having the courage to go with it. All I wanted was to brand our name in South Florida. We’ve done 100 events, but this is the only one that has our name connected with a great city like Fort Lauderdale. There’s nothing cooler than an air show. Our blue Ford logo is the second most recognizable in the world, after McDonald’s. It’s an honor to be part of it.” 

That run-on, almost stream of consciousness paragraph, is no accident. No stenographer can keep up with Young’s machine gun delivery. No need for questions with this fellow. He interviews himself, and it is that dynamic personality and flair for promotion that made him a general manager of an auto dealership at age 26. A native of Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie in Ohio (not far from Don Shula’s hometown), he grew up in the auto business. His mother and stepfather worked for General Motors for 30 years. He was an all-around athlete, named Ohio’s small school athlete of the year, which explains his teaming with sports organizations in Florida.

He was general manager of a Chevrolet dealership in Greenacres, west of Lake Worth, in 1989, when AutoNation bought the agency. That was when he joined Fred Akers, where he is now.

One of Young’s favorite words, at least when it comes to marketing, is “experiential.” And no one who meets him can forget the experience. And he says that experience, at least with the air show, is here to stay.

“I’m in with both feet,” he says. “You can’t pry me away from it.”

FORD’S AVIATION HISTORY

Having a premier corporation behind the show is great news for local business people who have worked to revive it for several years. An auto company being associated with an air show may seem like an odd coupling, but not to aviation historians.

The fact is, the name Ford has been associated with airplanes since almost the birth of aviation. After succeeding in mass-producing his Model T Fords, Henry Ford became fascinated with vehicles that fly. Ford built one of the first successful commercial aircraft. The Ford Trimotor appeared in 1926 and was purchased by numerous pioneer airlines; 199 copies were produced before production ended in 1933. Among them was Ford’s own airline, Ford Aviation Transport, an air freight outfit that was the first to fly airmail.

The Trimotor wasn’t pretty. The third engine in the nose was ungainly, and its air-cooled radial engines had no cowlings. It was based on a German Junkers design, so much so that a patent infringement lawsuit followed. It was a sturdy and reliable machine, which achieved many firsts, including Richard Byrd’s flight over the South Pole, and many of Pan American’s flights from Miami to South America. It managed to keep flying for commercial purposes into the 1960s. A handful survive today, used mostly on tourist operations—on which the airplane itself is the star of the tour.

By 1933 it was outdated by more modern designs such as the Boeing 247 and the Douglas DC-2. By then Henry Ford had lost some of his enthusiasm for aviation after his chief test pilot died in a crash. Germany, however, continued to refine the trimotor concept, and its Junkers 52 was its primary transport in World War II.

Although Ford had stopped building its own planes, in World War II it became a major manufacturer of engines and aircraft designed by other companies. Its Willow Run plant, outside Dearborn, Michigan, had a production line a mile long. It built thousands of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers, which, along with the Boeing B-17, became the primary weapons in the campaign to destroy Nazi Germany’s industry. Ford built other airplane parts as well, and by the war’s end, it had built thousands of complete aircraft, plus 57,851 airplane engines and more than 4,000 military gliders.

This was in addition to building tanks, trucks and smaller vehicles, including 278,000 of the famous Willys Jeeps. Ford even had a plant in Germany, which the Germans commandeered to produce their own weapons. As the Allies swept across Western Europe, German employees ignored orders to destroy the plant in Cologne, and it actually produced its first post-war truck on May 8, 1945—the date the war in Europe ended.   

GEICO SKYTYPERS

North American Aviation produced some of the most successful military aircraft in history. During World War II it built the P-51 Mustang, the best piston engine plane of the war, and the North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, also a leader in its class. The latter gained enduring fame as the plane launched from an aircraft carrier in the historic Toyko raid of 1942. North American followed those triumphs with the F-86 Sabre jet of Korean War fame.

But those contributions may not exceed the stature of another North American plane, designed before any of the above, which never fired a shot in combat—at least not in United States colors. It was produced in greater numbers (more than 15,000) than the others and has survived in quantity for more than 75 years. It has flown under more national insignia than possibly any other military aircraft and has probably been flown by more pilots than any American military aircraft. It even has more than one name. And it is one of the stars of this year’s Ford Lauderdale Air Show. 

That plane is the North American SNJ, or “AT-6 Texan” as it was known in the Army Air Force, or the “Harvard,” which was its name in the version built for Great Britain. Whatever it was called, it became a legendary trainer for thousands of World War II airmen and served the military in other capacities into the 1960s. It was close enough to elite fighter plane standards, and yet docile enough to be handled by student pilots to make an excellent trainer. Its unusually broad 42-feet wingspan gives it great stability in aerobatics.

A few actually were used in combat, as observation planes in Vietnam, and as light bombers in the early Middle East wars and in some African anti-terror actions.

Because its engine is not as high-powered as combat aircraft, it is economical to operate and thus, has found many uses beyond its original purpose. Included is its appearance in air shows as the GEICO Skytypers. 

The plane was designed in 1935, and the team’s planes were built in 1940-41. They are owned by Larry Arken, whose late father purchased the planes for skywriting purposes. Arken owns the team and flies as its commanding officer.

Among the unusual roles of the SNJ throughout the years has been that of movie star. Its resemblance to Japanese World War II planes, particularly the formidable Mitsubishi A6M Zero, has led to its use as a Japanese stand-in for a number of films, including “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

Canadian forces Snowbirds

The featured jet aerobatic team in this year’s show is the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Unlike America’s premier military performers, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, it does not fly first line combat aircraft. But also unlike the U.S. teams, it traces its history to an authentic combat unit. 

The 431st Air Demonstration Squadron has its roots in World War II when it began life as a bomber squadron. It flew British Wellington medium bombers and later Halifax and Lancaster heavy bombers. It disbanded after the war in 1946. It was reformed briefly in 1954 when it performed demonstrations in the North American F-86 Sabre, the hottest jet fighter in the world at the time. It was just being introduced to The Royal Canadian Air Force. 

There were several attempts at demonstration teams until 1978, when the 431st was again reactivated. The previous demo team had been named the Snow Whites and was renamed the Snowbirds when the squadron reformed. The name had nothing to do with Canadian visitors to Florida in the winter, but rather to Canada’s frequently snowy weather and the fact that the squadron’s aircraft were painted mostly white. By this time their plane was the CT-114 Tutor, a Canadian-built two-seat trainer that dates to 1961. Obviously it isn’t as fast as modern jets, but is still capable of almost 500 mph. It has been retired from normal air force use and is scheduled for replacement as the Snowbirds mount in the next few years.

The Snowbirds are based at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the site of a NATO training base.

FORD LAUDERDALE AIR SHOW

MAY 6-7. Fort Lauderdale beach at Birch State Park, north of Sunrise Boulevard.

The show opens at noon with the SOCOM Para-Commandos, a precision parachute team. It ends at 4 p.m. with the featured Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. Other performers include the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper demo, the Harrier Jump Jet demo, Sean D. Tucker – Team Oracle aerobatic demo, GEICO Skytypers, U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey demo and Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts aerobatic demo.


This article, courtesy Fort Lauderdale Daily, originally appeared here.

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New Orleans startup airline GLO files for bankruptcy protection

GLO Airlines, a New Orleans public charter airline that offers nonstop flights to Destin, Fla. among other regional destinations, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The filing is the latest development in a dispute between the airline and the company that operates its planes.

FlyGLO LLC, the airline’s parent company, filed Sunday (April 24) in federal bankruptcy court in New Orleans, asking a judge to allow it to continue offering flights beyond Thursday, the date its flight management company has said it intends to cancel its contract with the airline.

The management company claims GLO has fallen behind on payments it is owed. GLO in a Monday statement called the decision to cancel the contract “entirely unjustified” and blamed the management company for violating contract terms and providing poor service.

It is not yet clear what will happen to GLO customers who purchased tickets for flights after Thursday if a judge lets the contract dissolve. The airline’s statement sought to reassure customers its business model is sound, but offered few details as to what would happen to ticket holders who could be affected by the dispute.

“We are taking this step now because we value our customers too much to provide inferior service,” CEO Trey Fayard said in the statement.  “It was a difficult decision, but a necessary one to protect everyone involved.  We look forward to promptly and successfully emerging from reorganization in the near future.”

In an emailed response to questions, GLO President Staacy Cannon said the airline is “working to keep flights in the air,” and hoped to have more information Tuesday afternoon.

GLO leases three, 30-passenger Saab 340B aircraft, to fly routes from New Orleans to Shreveport, Huntsville, Ala., Little Rock, Ark., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn. Fayard, a local attorney, started the airline in 2015 to offer affordable nonstop flights connecting small to mid-size business and leisure markets in the Gulf South.

Court documents filed Sunday by GLO painted a picture of a deteriorating relationship between the public charter airline and Corporate Flight Management Inc., the Tennessee aircraft management company that operates its flights. The bankruptcy filing also names Air Carrier Management Co., a subsidiary of Corporate Flight Management that deploys GLO’s money for aircraft repairs and maintenance, as a defendant.

Corporate Flight Management, or CFM, claims GLO has fallen behind on more than $350,000 in invoices dating back to March and needs to pay a $500,000 security deposit. In a statement, CFM called GLO’s complaints “nothing more than a calculated distraction from their own bankruptcy filing.”

In its filing, GLO complains the company has “erroneously billed” the airline on several charges, wrongly demanded early payment on others, and initially waived payment of the security deposit. The airline claims CFM also failed to properly manage GLO’s maintenance department, resulting in cost overruns for labor and parts needed to keep its planes in the air.

That includes a March 29, 2016 incident that it says has led to its being charged more than $105,000 in repairs to a single plane to date.

GLO claims a pilot hired by CFM damaged the plane in question when he tried to do a battery start of the engines before a flight from New Orleans to Shreveport. The so-called “hot start” overheated the engine, causing that day’s flight to be canceled and long-term damage to the aircraft, according to the filing.

“After raising serious concerns over its performance and business practices, rather than find solutions, the air carrier unilaterally terminated its contract to operate GLO’s program and fly passengers,” the statement said. “This entirely unjustified action has put GLO’s operations and the financial health of many of GLO’s partners at risk.”

Court documents listed at least 20 GLO creditors owed more than $3 million in unsecured debt. GLO’s assets and liabilities are somewhere between $10 million and $50 million, according the filing.

To be sure, GLO is a tiny player at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The airline served about 32,300 passengers flying to and from New Orleans in 2016, according to statistics provided by the airport. That compares with 4.15 million passengers shuttled by Southwest Airlines, the airport’s largest carrier.

Still, the bankruptcy filing comes as a surprising turn for a young airline touted at its start as an up-and-coming startup that promised to add a new layer of air service to the regional market.

Up until this point, the lingering question has been whether GLO’s model could compete in a business where margins are slim and consumers are decidedly cost conscious.

The airline generated buzz last year when it announced it was adding a regular nonstop flight from New Orleans to Destin, Fla., a vacation destination for many in the city. Those plans were grounded for a short time after lackluster initial sales. The flight was eventually rolled out later in the summer.

GLO is asking a federal judge to rule that it is not in default of its contract with CFM and to award unspecified damages.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jerry Brown on Monday ordered an expedited hearing on the matter in response to a request from Fly GLO. The hearing will take place Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. 

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Legendary plane makes Macau stopover

The Douglas DC-3 parked in a local hangar

Boarding the Douglas DC-3 is like returning to the era of black and white movies, when commercial aviation was making its first steps. A model of the twin-engine propeller plane, which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s, arrived at the Macau International Airport on Sunday as part of the Breitling DC-3 World Tour.

The plane is expected to depart today to Taiwan, from where it will fly to Japan, for a one-month stint at several airshows. It will later cross the Pacific toward the US, where it will stay for part of the summer. The total length of the world tour is six months, covering 55 cities and 28 countries.

Since it took off in Geneva in March 9, exactly 77 years after it flew for the first time in 1940, the plane has made a number of stopovers at the Balkans, before it moved on to the Middle East and the Gulf states, after which it charted a course towards Greater China, showcasing in events and air shows.

The captain and owner of the DC-3, Francisco Agullo, spoke with journalists yesterday at the hangar where the airplane is parked. Besides the DC-3, Agullo – a former Swissair pilot – currently flies private jets. He has accumulated 12,000 flight hours in different types of aircrafts, including nine round the world flights, one of them with an ultralight plane (in 2010).

Captain Francisco Agullo stands in front of the plane

The Swiss captain said that the heritage plane was last flown commercially by Eastern Airlines in 1988. He bought it in 2008, and restored it almost to its original version – with exception of the cabin and the cockpit, upgraded to modern flight requirements, which are completely different then they were in the 40s. To make the longer stretches of the world tour, the plane has also been adapted to have a 14 seat capacity in order to carry extra fuel, which is stored in the cabin.

When asked about the difference between flying a 77 year-
old plane and a modern one, Agullo said: “I always give this example: I don’t know if you’ve had the opportunity to drive an old car or an old truck. It is very heavy, there is no power steering. But you can drive the modern cars nice and easy, because they have power steering. The airplanes are exactly the same. You can fly an Airbus A380, the biggest plane in the world, with two fingers… But the DC-3? You need two hands and your friend [the co-pilot] needs to help with power because it is so heavy. It is a different philosophy, but this is a lot of fun.”

Curiously, the DC-3 is still being used by a few airliners in countries like Colombia, Bolivia, US (namely in Alaska) and Canada, occasionally with a replacement engine but retaining the remaining parts.

“In Colombia they use the airplane to fly in the jungle, for example. It is quite amazing to see an airplane still flying commercially in certain countries. The reason is that, in the aviation world we say that the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3. And that means a lot and it’s true. This airplane can carry 30 people inside and land on a field, in the mud strip or on a grass strip that is only 800 meters long. There is no other airplane that can do this, even today,” Agullo said, adding that it is still possible to find original parts for the model, although “it is becoming more difficult.”

When asked about what is going to happen to the plane after the world tour, Agullo pledged not to sell it. “I hope that we can keep the airplane for as long as possible in flying condition. We want people to come and fly with us. That is what we really want to do for as long as possible,” he concluded.

During the Macau stopover, the plane was authorized to make a 15-minute flight, cruising 800 meters above Macau with some invited guests.

Over 16,000 DC3produced

The maiden flight of the Douglas DC-3 took place on December 1935. A total of 16,079 DC-3 were built in three different countries, with the majority being built in the US (10,655), with others in Russia (4,937) and a small number in Japan (487). The model’s production ended in 1945. A military version (the C-47) was also used extensively during World War II. The current market price of the DC-3 ranges from USD300,000 to USD5 million, according to Francisco Agullo. There are currently around 150 DC-3s flying around the world.

500 watches aboard

BREITLING is marking the world tour by introducing a limited edition of its Navitimer aviation chronograph. Five hundred watches will make the world tour aboard the DC-3. The watch will be on sale this fall, after the tour ends. According to the captain, the watches are being kept inside the plane in a secret location.

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The Air Show Returns to South Florida, Turning Heads Up To The Clouds

The air show returns to Fort Lauderdale this year with a new name and new aircraft.

It’s official. It’s the Ford Lauderdale Air Show, even if the papers sometimes call it the Fort Lauderdale Air Show. After all, the catchy name is what attracted Allan Young in the first place. In fact, it was his idea. 

Young is chairman of the board for the South Florida Ford Dealers, consisting of 28 dealers from Fort Pierce to the Florida Keys on the east coast, from Naples to Port Charlotte on the Gulf Coast. He is also the owner of Wayne Akers Ford in Lake Worth. The man is a born promoter. His office walls attest to his group’s community involvement. There are shots of Miami sports figures and teams, and there is a framed Miami Dolphins jersey, all representing teams with which Young has worked with at one time or another.

Indeed, it was through another major community sponsorship that Young became aware of the opportunity to be a title sponsor for this year’s revived air show. He was at a meeting with the Winterfest Boat Parade committee, of which Ford is a sponsor, when he learned that the air show was searching for a title sponsor.

It needed one. Recall that when the show was launched spectacularly in the mid-1990s, it was called the Shell Air and Sea Show per Shell Oil Company. That was a good corporate fit. Airplanes need gas. And so was the later sponsor, McDonald’s, with its wholesome family image. Then, due to circumstances beyond the control of the sponsor, the show, although increasingly successful, was suspended for several years.  It was brought back in 2012, thanks to the efforts of the Motwani family, prominent beachfront property owners and developers elsewhere in the city. They brought aboard Brian Lilley, an experienced air show producer, to restore what had been, both to the audience and performers, one of the most popular air shows in the country.

Ford became involved too late last year to get much publicity. The announcement came just weeks before the May weekend date. There wasn’t time to include Ford’s historic blue oval logo in the pre-show promotion. Many people who flocked to the show center on A1A in front of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park did not even know Ford was involved.

There is no doubt about it this year. “Ford Lauderdale” is a natural title. It is obviously a play on the name Fort Lauderdale, and it also gives the sponsor great visibility. 

Young takes only partial credit for the name. He explains:

“I was kicking it around with Gregg Snowden from our advertising agency (J. Walter Thompson), who works closely with our South Florida team, and we just stayed with it. It was a fit. Marketing is marketing. The Lord put it in front of us. I outshot my skill set this time. I have to thank the promoters for having the courage to go with it. All I wanted was to brand our name in South Florida. We’ve done 100 events, but this is the only one that has our name connected with a great city like Fort Lauderdale. There’s nothing cooler than an air show. Our blue Ford logo is the second most recognizable in the world, after McDonald’s. It’s an honor to be part of it.” 

That run-on, almost stream of consciousness paragraph, is no accident. No stenographer can keep up with Young’s machine gun delivery. No need for questions with this fellow. He interviews himself, and it is that dynamic personality and flair for promotion that made him a general manager of an auto dealership at age 26. A native of Fairport Harbor on Lake Erie in Ohio (not far from Don Shula’s hometown), he grew up in the auto business. His mother and stepfather worked for General Motors for 30 years. He was an all-around athlete, named Ohio’s small school athlete of the year, which explains his teaming with sports organizations in Florida.

He was general manager of a Chevrolet dealership in Greenacres, west of Lake Worth, in 1989, when AutoNation bought the agency. That was when he joined Fred Akers, where he is now.

One of Young’s favorite words, at least when it comes to marketing, is “experiential.” And no one who meets him can forget the experience. And he says that experience, at least with the air show, is here to stay.

“I’m in with both feet,” he says. “You can’t pry me away from it.”

Allan Young is chairman of the board for the South Florida Ford Dealers, and the owner of Wayne Akers Ford in Lake Worth. The agency is a high-tech facility with a lobby that has hosted art shows and community events.
The GEICO Skytypers perform their close formation aerobatics in the legendary SNJ, a U.S. Navy development of a training plane that first flew more than 80 years ago. It remained active as a trainer for 34 air forces well into the jet age.
The venerable Ford Trimotor was a pioneer in aviation transport in the 1920s. It made many historic flights. A few survive today in flying condition.

FORD’S AVIATION HISTORY

Having a premier corporation behind the show is great news for local business people who have worked to revive it for several years. An auto company being associated with an air show may seem like an odd coupling, but not to aviation historians.

The fact is, the name Ford has been associated with airplanes since almost the birth of aviation. After succeeding in mass-producing his Model T Fords, Henry Ford became fascinated with vehicles that fly. Ford built one of the first successful commercial aircraft. The Ford Trimotor appeared in 1926 and was purchased by numerous pioneer airlines; 199 copies were produced before production ended in 1933. Among them was Ford’s own airline, Ford Aviation Transport, an air freight outfit that was the first to fly airmail.

The Trimotor wasn’t pretty. The third engine in the nose was ungainly, and its air-cooled radial engines had no cowlings. It was based on a German Junkers design, so much so that a patent infringement lawsuit followed. It was a sturdy and reliable machine, which achieved many firsts, including Richard Byrd’s flight over the South Pole, and many of Pan American’s flights from Miami to South America. It managed to keep flying for commercial purposes into the 1960s. A handful survive today, used mostly on tourist operations—on which the airplane itself is the star of the tour.

By 1933 it was outdated by more modern designs such as the Boeing 247 and the Douglas DC-2. By then Henry Ford had lost some of his enthusiasm for aviation after his chief test pilot died in a crash. Germany, however, continued to refine the trimotor concept, and its Junkers 52 was its primary transport in World War II.

Although Ford had stopped building its own planes, in World War II it became a major manufacturer of engines and aircraft designed by other companies. Its Willow Run plant, outside Dearborn, Michigan, had a production line a mile long. It built thousands of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers, which, along with the Boeing B-17, became the primary weapons in the campaign to destroy Nazi Germany’s industry. Ford built other airplane parts as well, and by the war’s end, it had built thousands of complete aircraft, plus 57,851 airplane engines and more than 4,000 military gliders.

This was in addition to building tanks, trucks and smaller vehicles, including 278,000 of the famous Willys Jeeps. Ford even had a plant in Germany, which the Germans commandeered to produce their own weapons. As the Allies swept across Western Europe, German employees ignored orders to destroy the plant in Cologne, and it actually produced its first post-war truck on May 8, 1945—the date the war in Europe ended.   

The GEICO Skytypers are based in Farmingdale, Long Island at Republic Airport. Like its World War II vintage airplanes it hosts, the field has a wartime history. It served Republican Aviation, which built 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolt fighters during the war. Most of the GEICO pilots are ex-military, some with combat experience. A number are also commercial pilots.

GEICO SKYTYPERS

North American Aviation produced some of the most successful military aircraft in history. During World War II it built the P-51 Mustang, the best piston engine plane of the war, and the North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, also a leader in its class. The latter gained enduring fame as the plane launched from an aircraft carrier in the historic Toyko raid of 1942. North American followed those triumphs with the F-86 Sabre jet of Korean War fame.

But those contributions may not exceed the stature of another North American plane, designed before any of the above, which never fired a shot in combat—at least not in United States colors. It was produced in greater numbers (more than 15,000) than the others and has survived in quantity for more than 75 years. It has flown under more national insignia than possibly any other military aircraft and has probably been flown by more pilots than any American military aircraft. It even has more than one name. And it is one of the stars of this year’s Ford Lauderdale Air Show. 

That plane is the North American SNJ, or “AT-6 Texan” as it was known in the Army Air Force, or the “Harvard,” which was its name in the version built for Great Britain. Whatever it was called, it became a legendary trainer for thousands of World War II airmen and served the military in other capacities into the 1960s. It was close enough to elite fighter plane standards, and yet docile enough to be handled by student pilots to make an excellent trainer. Its unusually broad 42-feet wingspan gives it great stability in aerobatics.

A few actually were used in combat, as observation planes in Vietnam, and as light bombers in the early Middle East wars and in some African anti-terror actions.

     Because its engine is not as high-powered as combat aircraft, it is economical to operate and thus, has found many uses beyond its original purpose. Included is its appearance in air shows as the GEICO Skytypers. 

   The plane was designed in 1935, and the team’s planes were built in 1940-41. They are owned by Larry Arken, whose late father purchased the planes for skywriting purposes. Arken owns the team and flies as its commanding officer.

   Among the unusual roles of the SNJ throughout the years has been that of movie star. Its resemblance to Japanese World War II planes, particularly the formidable Mitsubishi A6M Zero, has led to its use as a Japanese stand-in for a number of films, including “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

The SNJ’s top speed is a little over 200 miles per hour, but that is still fast enough to outrun any speedboat.

CANADIAN FORCES SNOWBIRDS

The featured jet aerobatic team in this year’s show is the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Unlike America’s premier military performers, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, it does not fly first line combat aircraft. But also unlike the U.S. teams, it traces its history to an authentic combat unit. 

The 431st Air Demonstration Squadron has its roots in World War II when it began life as a bomber squadron. It flew British Wellington medium bombers and later Halifax and Lancaster heavy bombers. It disbanded after the war in 1946. It was reformed briefly in 1954 when it performed demonstrations in the North American F-86 Sabre, the hottest jet fighter in the world at the time. It was just being introduced to The Royal Canadian Air Force. 

There were several attempts at demonstration teams until 1978, when the 431st was again reactivated. The previous demo team had been named the Snow Whites and was renamed the Snowbirds when the squadron reformed. The name had nothing to do with Canadian visitors to Florida in the winter, but rather to Canada’s frequently snowy weather and the fact that the squadron’s aircraft were painted mostly white. By this time their plane was the CT-114 Tutor, a Canadian-built two-seat trainer that dates to 1961. Obviously it isn’t as fast as modern jets, but is still capable of almost 500 mph. It has been retired from normal air force use and is scheduled for replacement as the Snowbirds mount in the next few years.

The Snowbirds are based at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the site of a NATO training base.

FORD LAUDERDALE AIR SHOW

MAY 6-7. Fort Lauderdale beach at Birch State Park, north of Sunrise Boulevard.

The show opens at noon with the SOCOM Para-Commandos, a precision parachute team. It ends at 4 p.m. with the featured Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. Other performers include the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper demo, the Harrier Jump Jet demo, Sean D. Tucker – Team Oracle aerobatic demo, GEICO Skytypers, U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey demo and Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts aerobatic demo.

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