|Debi Giannola & Cathi Hatch|
On Saturday, Debi Giannola and I went to the Museum of Flight as guests of sponsor, Wells Fargo, to witness the final flight and arrival of the Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, a replica of the plane in which Amelia Earhart flew around the world.
We arrived early enough to visit the Electra Simulator flights in the Aviation Learning Center. We were each able to “pilot” our own plane and I discovered that landing is much harder than it appears. My plane bounced on the ground
|Debi Giannola in the Simulator cockpit|
and then up into the clouds as I kept over compensating on the joystick.
It was also fascinating to wander through the great gallery and see the scores of planes that are part of the Museum of Flight collection; fighter jets, stealth bombers, mail planes, commercial airplanes, military planes, helicopters, gliders, the Space Shuttle trainer and even a car that could convert to a plane with fold-down wings. I didn’t realize the incredible number of planes that are on
|A view of just a portion of the aircraft collection|
display at the Museum of Flight and it is very impressive.
We then made our way to “Amelia’s Electra” public program in William M. Allen Theater presented by Chief Curator Dan Hagedorn and Bob Bogash, Aircraft Acquisition Expert. Dan is a huge fan of Amelia Earhart and shared dozens of photos of her that I had never seen previously.
|“Project Amelia” banner|
Bob is a huge fan of Clarence Johnson, the famous Lockheed aircraft designer that did some wind tunnel tests on the Electra 10-E that were important to its safety along with a modification to the tail which became known as “guitar picks”. He would include the guitar pick element on future planes he would design when he went on to become a very famous Lockheed aircraft designer. Bob made use of his time at the podium to make an “ask” to Museum of Flight CEO Doug King, who was sitting in the audience, for the next plane which he wants to acquire for the Museum of Flight. One of the bigger challenges is that it is the only one left in the world and currently sits at the bottom of the ocean just off the Hawaiian Islands. He estimated at least a $10 million price tag to recover it.
|The Museum of Flight’s newest acquisition|
Following the lectures, we adjourned upstairs for lunch to the VIP Viewing Lounge and were able to go out on the deck when the Electra flew by twice before making her final landing. There was something quite emotional in watching that beautiful, shiny silver plane land and taxi towards us, stopping long enough to do a full 360 degree circle as if she was taking her final bow just before stopping in the viewing area in the parking lot for the welcoming ceremony.
Debi and I saw several friends at the event including Pam Ellison, Mary Knell, Mary Bass and Marco Abbruzzese all representing Wells Fargo and Brad Tilden representing Alaska Airlines, Ned Laird, Patti Payne, Stacy King, Dottie Simpson, Ann Simpson, James Raisbeck, Diane Tice and others. There were also many dressed up to look like Amelia Earhart, which was fun to see.
Congratulations to the organizing committee and the Museum of Flight Board of Trustees who were able to raise the money necessary to bring the Electra to our museum!