Vectors, Tom Woodburn, Chairman of the Board
It is nice to report that with the easing of the Covid-19 scare the fly-in season has returned in full force for 2021. Sun and Fun was a success and several of our members reported The EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh was well attended. I have noted that the National Capital Wing of the Commemorative Air Force recently had an open house at their Culpeper base and has ventured out with their Grumman TBM Avenger and Stinson L-5 to display at several airports including Hanover County Airport near Richmond. I recently returned from the National WACO Club reunion at Mt. Vernon, Ohio and I can tell you it was great to get back to normal by putting some cross country hours on the airplane and to see friends who, like me, have been hunkered down at home. Being able to get back on the airlines made it possible for me and longtime friend and former VAHS board member David Tyndall to travel to Oelwein, Iowa to pick up his newly purchased 1948 Luscombe 8F Deluxe and fly it to Chester, SC. This was a great trip and quite a treat for me as I like few things more than flying a vintage airplane, especially a Luscombe. As much as we enjoyed the adventure, we both had to admit to sore rear ends and some stiff joints. We are not as limber as we were 45 years ago. Without reservation we can say that 1200 miles in a 100 mph Luscombe still equipped with the original 73 year old seat cushions makes us appreciate the cabin class comforts of our WACOs! (I jumped ship in Richmond after only 950 miles, but then I’m older than David, as he often reminds me)
As it now seems that we have a handle on the Covid-19 epidemic the VAHS will once again be able to present our flagship event, the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame with our induction ceremony and reception. We will be inducting three very worthy candidates and you will find their short biographies elsewhere in this issue. The date for this event is November 13, 2021 and details for reservations will be available soon so follow our website https://www.vahsonline.com/ for details.
In years past the VAHS offered a Life membership and I was pleased to become a member of that group. The life membership provided individuals with a way to not only support the Society but also show their recognition of the importance of our mission. Recently I asked our Life members, myself included, to consider making a donation to the Society to help stabilize our finances while we rebuild our membership. I am pleased to report that we received what I consider a good response to my request and I want to thank all Life members who renewed their commitment to the VAHS.
One of the goals of the VAHS is to promote aviation education and to this end the VAHS administers the Captain Earle Worley Scholarship. The scholarship is available to worthy students pursuing college level aviation studies and thanks to a good year for the DOW there were three scholarships awarded. A short biography of the recipients is included in this issue and I think you will agree that all three are deserving of the Society’s recognition.
A significant part of fulfilling the VAHS mission is a well preserved and searchable/ accessible archive. The VAHS has over many years collected and made available to the public a valuable archive that has been used for research by many organizations and groups as well as numerous authors writing on aviation history. Currently, and as a result of our losing our storage when the State of Virginia closed the Virginia Aviation Museum, our archives are not easily accessible and are not stored in a manner that will guarantee their longevity. The Society is looking at options but we are in need of volunteers who can assist in stabilizing the collection, culling non-relevant items and modernizing the storage and retrieval systems. Our archives are critical to our mission and the current situation is not sustainable. If you have an interest in helping and especially if you have talents in the field of organizing, storage and retrieval I am asking you to consider volunteering to help.
As I have done before I want to again encourage all of our members to consider submitting articles for publication in our newsletter. There is more to aviation history than Charles Lindbergh, Jacqueline Cochran and Neil Armstrong and we want to hear those stories.
I will close by reminding you of our Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame event on November 13 and to thank all members of the Society for their continued support.
Story as printed in the Summer 2021 “Virginia Eagles” Newsletter