After 5 years, 1 month and 29 days the SQuiRT has finally returned to Virginia. Pilot #402, Wade Saltzgiver of Newport News, VA met pilot # 398 Scott Saxon at Kitty Hawk, NC on 17 Aug. They were joined by pilot #399 Jim Davis to fly the SQuiRT on aviation’s hallowed ground. The SQuiRT flew 110 years after the Wright Brothers’ famous flights which marked the beginning of powered flight not more than a few hundred yards away from where it all began. What an incredible day for our adventure. Thanks to Scott for coming up with the idea 5 years ago
Wade transported the SQuiRT back to Virginia and is currently coordinating the SQuiRT’s visits to a number of flying events at local clubs during the months of August and September. As of right now, Wade has scheduled the SQuiRT to attend five events in the local Virginia area. She will be flown in demo flights at these events and will be used for new pilot introductions with a buddy box. The SQuiRT is a trainer after all and it is in her blood to introduce newcomers to the sport and help teach new pilots how to fly.
At today’s count we have had 719 different pilots fly the SQuiRT, but there is no telling how many total flights the SQuiRT has on her. I am going to guess close to 1,000 flights. Who would have thought that an old school brushed motor would have lasted that long not to mention a balsa built airplane with thin vinyl covering. That is one tough bird and a testament to its quality design. Not only has she held up well, she still looks great after all this time. I bet there are lot of stories the SQuiRT could share with us on her travels and visits with pilots around the country. That would be a very interesting read if possible.
I have been working with Maria from AMA’s National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana and have coordinated the SQuiRT to be donated to the museum at 1400 hours on 18 October 2013. I had hoped to fly back to Virginia and fly the SQuiRT at her home field in Gloucester, Virginia, but after checking on ticket prices, I realized it would just be way too expensive. Fortunately, Rusty Kennedy who is the Leader Member chairman who happens to live in southeast VA has volunteered to carry the SQuiRT to Muncie since he will be headed that way for the executive council meeting that will be happening that weekend. The deed of gift will be signed by Bill Stevens, Walter Grasmick, Steve Griffin, and Donald Way along with me. As you know, these gentlemen has been instrumental in the success of the WAA-08 adventure and I felt it only fitting that they would sign the deed of gift for the SQuiRT, travel case, pilot’s log books, photos, and all the memorabilia collected along the way to the museum.
I do need to add that there has been a number of pilots that has not sent their photos to me of them posing with the SQuiRT. If you have not received a pilot certificate from Don that means I did not get your photos. Please send your photos to me along with your pilot number and we’ll be sure to get your certificate out to you. I don’t want you to miss out on Don’s wonderful pilot certificates and I don’t want you to miss out on your photos not being included in the SQuiRT’s exhibit at the museum.
I have a limited number of WAA-08 patches remaining. If you would like a patch, they are still $5 shipped to your door. I do not plan on placing any more orders so first come first serve.
I believe that is about all the information I have to share with you. As I mentioned above, this is a bitter sweet email. I am sure you are tired of getting “spam” from me twice a year but I just wanted to keep everyone updated on the status of the Wings Across America 2008 adventure. I know for me, it has been a ton of work. It was much more work than I could have ever imagined and it really turned into a labor of love coordinating this adventure for the past 5 years. I certainly appreciate all the time and effort everyone has put into making this happen. So many people have done so much to ensure its success. I could not begin to list their names and provide details, but their enthusiasm and willingness to go above and beyond to help promote model aviation is nothing short of incredible. Thank you all for your selflessness and love of model aviation.
If you are ever near Muncie, Indiana please stop by the museum and say “Hi” to the SQuiRT. I’m sure she would love to see you again as she rests in her “retirement home” chatting with all the other historical planes in the museum.
I will end this email with the credit line that will be on the SQuiRT’s exhibit:
For those who shared our dream; Promoting Model Aviation – One Pilot At A Time
Wings Across America 2008 Final Update