Military Aviation Museum WWI collection

I saw a posting today that my favourite museum, The Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach, is closing.  I enjoyed their World War Two airshows and really hoped to see their World War One airshow this fall. Sadly the collection is being sold off.  This is what can happen when one person owns a museum.  I am glad the owner shared it with so many people while he had it. My heart goes out to all the volunteers who put their time and souls into this place and to all those who loved visiting the collection.

I am glad I made a point of taking many photos while I attended their last WW2 airshow.  At the museum their is/was a WW1 hangar built off of plans from The Great War.  The hangar housed a wonderful collection of WW1 replica aircraft.Image

Above is the ever famous Fokker DR.1 as seen through the gorgeous beams of the structure.  The DR.1 was made famous by Baron Von Richtofen, the Red Baron. Below is a view of an Avro  504K through the wings of another aircraft.Image

There also was a very interesting Model T Ford.  This vehicle was restored and was not a replica made by the museum. It was designed as a starter for the early aircraft.  Rather than have a man spin the propeller by hand, this vehicle drove up to the front of the aircraft and spun the propeller. An early and rather large starter!

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Another example in the collection was a recreation of a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter.  This was the first British aircraft with synchronised machine guns allowing the pilot to fire through the propeller without hitting it.  The Sopwith had two seats and could carry two bombs.

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My absolute favourite in the collection was the replica of a French Bleriot monoplane.  This plane was built by a group of enthusiasts in Spain.  Somewhere in my collection I have an original photo of a Bleriot flying over Paris early in World War One.

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ww107I am deeply saddened that I will not see their WW1 airshow now.  I am happy I have these photos to reminisce over though.  At least I had a chance to explore this beautiful collection.

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Barn wagons

I look through my posts and there seem to be many barnfinds in here.  Not sure how I keep stumbling into them but I hope you folks enjoy them.Image

Last week a couple of us went to a neighboring town to look at a gathering of Willlys wagons and a pickup.  All of them have been sitting for 20 to 30 years.  A couple outside and a couple inside/ outside.ImageImage

The two I am showing here are a 1940s two wheel drive wagon and a modified 1940s panel delivery.  The wagon does not have an engine but is very solid.  There is another later wagon in a field with hurricane six engine and full drivetrain. Maybe put the two together??

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The building was falling down around the panelvan the last time I was here a few years back.  The last large snow a couple years ago apparently took down the roof over it.Image

If anyone is interested in these or the 1950s Willys pickup (actually rather solid with a nice cab and little rust) let me know.  I believe they can be had for a reasonable price and most have titles.

The BBC comes to visit

A month or so ago I was contacted by a British film company working on a BBC/ CCTV project on branding and marketing.  They found my youtube channel when doing research on VW and its genius advertising campaign of the 1960s (Think Small). We chatted over email and on the phone. Eventually we decided that they would film my father my good friend, Jim, and myself along with my early 1955 Beetle.

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From left to right in the photo are Jim, Richard (cameraman) Luc (director) myself and Dad. This was a great excuse to get Jim and my father in the same place for once.  I have been wanting them to meet for a long time.  They both drove VWs and european sports cars in the 1960s. Below is a shot of Dad’s Karmann Ghia amongst the redwoods back in the day.

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Needless to say Dad and Jim got to swapping stories which was beyond a treat to listen to. Police chases, fast cars and more! They both were interviewed regarding VWs in the 60s the advertising campaigns and their VW experiences.  They brought me in with Dad to discuss how the VW beetles became a family tradition. (At Dad’s suggestion when I was 17 I bought one as my first car. His reasoning was that they were simple and I would learn all I needed to know about auto repair on one. Dad was right!)Image

The shot above is Luc showing us the camera. They had a set of portable rails for rolling the camera around to get steady shots. Towards the end of the day they hopped in my friend Peter’s jeep and took footage of the Beetle on the road.  Due to various issues my Beetle had not been on the road regularly for over two years.  After fixing fuel lines on Saturday and Sunday morning the ’55 fired right up and was ready to drive.Image

They had a very durable little camera that Richard mounted all over the car to get different driving shots.

Overall it was a long but fun day.  Luc and Richard were great sports and quite fun to work with. I wish them all the best on the rest of their adventure filming at various companies around the United States.  They were off to 3M next, and then on to Starbucks. Apparently this series will be viewed by around a Billion people. Wow. My little Beetle will get its few moments of fame.  It deserves it after surviving this long.

All this VW obsession actually began back in 1966 when Dad bought his 1956 Porsche. Then he had a bug and a Kharmann Ghia too. Below is a shot of Dad and the Porsche around 1970 or 71. (And we still have it today.)bbc05

Thanks so much to Dad for coming down from Massachusetts, Jim for joining us, and to Peter for his help and use of his Jeep.