*I have always loved datelines and stories from the road – “14,500 feet up in the High Andes above Cañar, Ecuador, South America” is always a much more promising starting point than “Staring at the brick wall above my incredibly messy desk…”*
Dateline: APR 15… MEACHAM FIELD, Fort Worth –
This is sort of a first for The Other Texas: a deliberate teaser for a bigger post that’s in the works.
Mind you, it didn’t start out that way… I had planned a quick brief for the WanderBlog, but as I sat down to start batting words into the ether I found more and more history and stories that seemed interesting, so my little graf-and-image post blew up into more homework and more interviews and research to do this right.
I’ve been in Fort Worth for a while looking after Mom and taking care of family and medical issues (I’ll still be around for a while, apparently…) and wound up checking out a couple of the Aviation Museums here. It took only a few minutes (out of a couple of fascinating afternoons) to learn just how little I actually knew about the history of airplanes and aviation in my old home town. “Cool toys!” turned into “Wait, what? I didn’t know that” and I was off into the history clouds.
There are several aviation history museums in the area, so I have a lot of research and study ahead before I start writing about Fort Worth’s history of aviation.
But for now, a couple of excerpts from a review of the Fort Worth Aviation Museum that I wrote last week for Yelp! (Note that it’s hard to find this ON Yelp!; you’ll have to look in the “reviews we don’t like” link at the bottom of the page. It seems their computers think I’m either a paid shill or a posting bot and refuse to show or publish anything I write unless I give them my entire demographic and marketing profiles. That just is NOT going to happen…)
Very nice little museum with exhibits and artifacts EVERYwhere, and very friendly helpful folks to tell what everything is, how it works, and why it matters, at whatever length the visitor can absorb.
Like many small volunteer-type museums, the exhibit cases are crammed with smaller artifacts, many not specifically labeled for provenance or identification, but they provide a wonderful feel for the minutia of the field. A marketing maven would talk about the Fort Worth “aviation experience.” The important stuff is clearly labeled with fantastic plaques and a great deal of factual data… and there are hundreds of aircraft models and photographs around. (As a one-time small boy, I heartily approve of this.)
I got a guided tour with backgrounds and been-there-done-that bits and pieces – this bird is a slightly-modified civilian craft, that one was supported by guys from two different squadrons, so one side is painted in each squadron’s markings (they don’t match, so get pix of both sides…), that one way over there is what the former President flew in his young and wild days…
These are the kind of stories that make the yard much more than just a resting place for retired machinery.
This is where I am now… doing research into the history of aviation in Fort Worth and the institutions working to preserve and present that history and working on plans to photograph those places and those planes…
This is one of the planes at the museum.
This is one of their OH-10A Broncos, an observation platform and Forward Control platform from the Vietnam War. The museum began as a part of the OH-10 Bronco pilots’ organization, so this is a fair place to start.
At another museum, just a few hundred yards up the Meacham Field runway, live several other vintage craft in various stages of restoration and several belonging to the Commemorative Air Force.
This is “Special K,” a Douglss B-26B attack bomber built in 1944 and upgraded to the A-26K specification during the Vietnam conflict. It’s currently in a several year process of restoration after 45 years of retirement.
The history here is fascinating. Watch this space for more.