Saturday, March 16, 2013

Charlie gets exciting gifts!

Last May I attended the Air America reunion in San Diego. It was a good time and I saw a lot of old H-34 and Huey pilots I flew with in Laos, 1970 thru 1973. I also visited the Marine Corps air museum and spent a few wonderful hours aboard the USS Midway museum. 
see a previous post about my sitting in the pilot's seat of an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

At the reunion, I was approached by a fellow, Gary A, who is interested in H-34 Charlie and follows this blog. He said he had a couple of items I might be interested in;  H-34 bits.

Some people have scrap books; I even loved a girl named Barbara once who admitted to having a scrap trunk to store her many keepsakes.  Gary has a scrap-hangar! He has collected aircraft parts for decades.

In his hangar, Gary has a most perfectly and beautifully restored  L-19. He has applied extreme attention to detail to make this L-19 as authentic as possible. GOOD JOB Gary! Yes, it is flyable; he flies it regularly. He also has every possible rating/license for repairing aircraft.  He is truly a master mechanic.

Gary A.  and his perfect L-19.

But, after showing me around his hangar, Gary showed me why he invited me over
to his hangar at Whiteman Field airport, Pacoima, CA, near Burbank, CA.
Somewhere, somehow, Gary  in his travels and collecting, acquired an H-34 tail rotor blade which he donated to Charlie.  Charlie now has one genuine tail rotor blade. That blade will soon replace one of our plastic replicas on our venerable old H-34, and will help people understand more about the machine.

But, the very best part of all, was Gary had an actual, authentic data plate from an old H-34, which he also gave to Charlie.  Technically, legally, we could rebuild Charlie around this bit of metal and make her legally flyable with this old data plate. This data plate is from an H-34 that was built in France under license from Sikorsky; it data plate is real and it is authentic, and it is legal.
Not too many years ago Gary says he was offered $5000 for this data plate, but he refused it. 
Much to our benefit.
Gary C, you are a hero to the cause.  you have lifetime rights to visit Charlie anytime.  If you come up to Sandpoint, Idaho during the 4th of July, you can ride in Charlie for the annual 4th of July parade!

THANK YOU Gary for your extreme generosity.
You have earned an H-34 Charlie CREW hat with H-34 device. It will be in the mail soon.

Now it looks like we have a "frog" dog.

All we need is money and we could make Charlie flyable for about half a million dollars.  I know
a few old broken-down "dog drivers" who might come out of retirement for one more flight.
Anybody got a spare half mil lying around?  Please don't bother.
I know we could purchase a flyable H-34 for less than 100k.

However, we could still use an occasional bit of pocket change to help the project along. 
Please send a small check to:
Vietnam Veterans of America
P.O. box 2014
Sandpoint, ID  83864
All donations are tax deductible, just make a check out to:  V V A/Charlie