For those of you who haven’t been captivated by Carolyn Patterson’s husband, Fred, you’re in for a real treat. Fred has spent his life rescuing downed, famous airplanes, retrieving them from their crash sites and bringing them back to their glory. His stories are right up there with the ‘Indiana Jones’ bunch. The latest effort has been to restore the Lockheed that Linda Finch flew around the world to commemorate Amelia Earhart’s flight. Fred had rebuilt and refinished the plane for Linda.
Now 12 years later he is readying the plane to museum specs. The plane looks like there must be 3000 hours of polishing put to it’s skin. Brand new Pratt and Whitney engines are hanging off the wings ready to take on another round the world adventure. Crawl into the cockpit and you’re back 75 years when aviation was function without a lot of consideration to comfort. How AE, Linda and other pilots managed those long range flights must have been heroic. There was no lav so it was the mason jar or diapers. From the bulk head back it’s one big fuel tank. You cannot walk to the back where the navigator would be crammed into a nook. Communication was by a note on a pulley between fore and aft. To get into and out of the plane you have to wriggle through a window into the cockpit. Just sitting in the left seat gives one pause. Your respect of those who flew these beauties amplifies by hundreds.
After Linda’s epic flight the plane was sold and began another hibernation in the dark corner of a collectors hanger. Since Fred was the wizard who put her on her wings, the subsequent owners (several) found Fred and asked him to do the deed again. The plane would be for sale. For the past year Fred, Carolyn and crew have dedicated their lives to the Lockheed. It seems the Museum of Flight in Seattle will be the next owner of the girl. Sad to think how ‘flight ready’ she is and how now her wings will never soar on the winds again.
Our next meeting will be under the wings of Fred’s beauty if the museum doesn’t claim her first. What an incredible back drop for a party. Be sure to let Carolyn know you’re coming. The Patterson’s parties are not to be missed!
THE BIG EVENT
MARIN COUNTY 99S SUMMER PARTY/ MEETING
FRED AND CAROLYN PATTERSON’s HANGER, GNOSS FIELD/ EAST SIDE
PLEASE BRING DRINKS AND A DISH TO SHARE
(YOU WILL NEED TO GET GATE CLEARANCE)