Just me and the Macon model. Alone at last.
The 78th Anniversary Celebration of the arrival of the USS Macon to (then) Naval Air Station Sunnyvale--later NAS Moffett Field--was a huge success, thanks to the help of the staff of NASA/Ames Research Center--the present landlords of the old Navy base.
The story of a retired engineer and his single minded mission captured the hearts of the public and brought NASA and the Moffett Museum and Historical Society a lot of attention. It seems people couldn't get enough of the tale of the man who vowed to bring the USS Macon home.
Jack Clemens and his model, in motion.
Jack Clemens' 1:40 scale model of the Navy dirigible cut its way through all the requirements and flew in Hangar Two today right on schedule. The crowd cheered, reporters stood by to cover it, and (for the second time in this adventure) Jack was so happy he nearly cried.
I'm sure you've read in my previous posts, about this man's journey to build a successful flying model of the old airship that was lost off the Pacific Coast in 1935.
And though Jack has held tests flights earlier in the month for Canada's Discovery Channel, and yesterday, for KNTV-News (NBC) San Jose, today was the "official" anniversary flight.
It was smoother than the Goodyear Blimp on a CAVU day. (That's "ceiling and visibility unlimited" in aviator talk.)
Flying under the beautiful rafters in the cathedral-like space of Hangar Two.
Coverage included the previously mentioned Discovery Channel of Canada, KNTV-News, San Jose, along with the Palo Alto Daily News, the Mountain View Voice, the San Jose Mercury News, and KLIV Radio News. If I left anyone out I apologize. Doing media relations for the museum on a volunteer basis--I haven't worked this hard since I actually got paid to cover stuff like this myself!
Everybody worked hard--from museum director Herb Parsons and his wife Diana, to all our docents and other volunteers, to NASA's Flight Ops contact Steve Patterson, to NASA media relations wonder Ruth Marlaire.
Careful! Don't let it get tangled in the rafters!
I'll bet they will all be glad that the airship model finally completed its odyssey home, and will now settle quietly down into exhibition space at the Moffett Museum.
All this began for me when, after my parents' deaths, I found in their papers their lifetime memberships in the Moffett Museum and Historical Society. Since their lifetimes had ended and I was grieving--I wrote the museum and bought a lifetime membership for myself, in their honor.
Robin and her father about to go flying. Moffett Field 1990.
I forgot that rule Dad told me he learned in the military: never volunteer!
But I'm truly glad I did.
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