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Reuniting of pilot and airplane.

Posted By:
Brett Lovett
#1 Posted: 11/9/2009 21:12:02 Modified: 11/12/2009 10:33:42

This past weekend I met Mr. Harry Vanderford.  His logbook shows that he flew my recently purchased 1948 Piper PA-17 Vagabond Trainer at least 14 times starting in 1952.  He continues to be a fan of aviation at 105 years old.

(Edited to embed pic - Hal.) 


Post of the Week: 11/13/09

Brett -

A great story, and, as I noted in my reply below, an important reminder that those of us that love vintage airplanes are merely their stewards - their history predates many of us and will outlast all of us.

Thanks to you and to Harry for sharing the great picture as well!

- Hal Bryan

EAA Online Community Manager


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Alice Cornwell
#2 Posted: 11/9/2009 21:39:14

Great story and photo!  Amazing there are still people alive who have seen with their own eyes the whole of aviation history.  Thanks for sharing this. 

Janet Davidson
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
#3 Posted: 11/11/2009 07:39:14

Its fun finding out the history of your aeroplane. 

A number of years ago I had travelled to Denmark to look at a KZ-3 that was for sale.  Neat aeroplane - I believe there are 2 of them here in the US.  On returning home, my then boyfriend had done some research at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland where he was the curator, and found an old copy of Flight International magazine, with photos of that same plane at Gatwick airport in the late thirties when the airport was still a grass runway.  I didn't buy the plane, but we did send copies of the photos and article to the owner.


I used to own a 1965 Nanchang CJ-6A, and when I bought it in Scotland, in amongst all the papers & logbooks were some photos of the aeroplane whilst it was still in China.  When we moved to Oshkosh, bringing the Nanchang with me, I bumped into a photographer for the local newspaper who is Chinese.  I took the logbooks to her and she was able to translate the writing in the logbook, where one page had beautifully written, in red ink, what she described as a quote from Chairman Mao, with words to the effect that all good young Chinese men must stand up and fight for their country.  From the dates on the photos and the dates in the logbook, she was able to tell me that the photos were of the Chinese test pilot doing a pre-export approval/test flight.  Pretty cool to have that history.  I made sure everything went with the aeroplane when I sold it, and I hope subsequent owners will do the same for future generations of owners. 

Hal Bryan
#4 Posted: 11/11/2009 13:32:28

A great story, Janet, and an important reminder that in so many cases we're just temporary stewards of our airplanes and that their provenance should be preserved and passed along.

On another note, I was mortified to note that I didn't know what a KZ3 was, so I did some digging. I found a number of photos - this pic will take you to a Flickr stream of other shots of the same airplane as well as a few other types built by Skandinavisk Aero Industri (SAI):



Beautiful airplane - you should have bought it so that I could fly it ... !

By the way ... whatever happened to that "then boyfriend" - did he ever amount to anything? wink


Online Community Manager - EAA