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Let's Do It Again!

Barry Geier

About 5 or 6 years ago at the Van Nuys Airport (small commercial airport 30 miles north of LAX) they were having their yearly air show with military aircraft etc. I've gone for years since once it gets into your blood, you're hooked. I'm walking with my kids and I turn the corner and "bam" a T-Tail. It was a Mississippi ANG, I think it was a B model.

I beat up a conversation with the FE and Pilots. After twenty minutes they were convinced that I knew something about the 141. I asked them what time they were leaving. When I got home I looked all over for my old ear protectors and finally found them. My wife thought I was nuts.

I made a deal with flight crew to help pre-flight and block out the StarLizard. My wife still thinks I'm nuts, but she finally came around a couple of years ago when at the next show 66-0152 from March Air Reserve Base was on display, we walked the a/c and she finally understood.

Back to the air show. I showed up about an hour before block time and the flight crew was really surprised that I returned. They said ok, and the FE walked around with me doing the preflight. The C-141 was the first plane in the parking area, making it the last to go, so there were airport ground crews helping the other aircraft. When the 141 got ready to go they came over and were told their services were unnecessary. We cranked the APU, I pulled the pins, chocks, (god, they were really heavy- must be my old age), pulled the aux power, and they cranked engines. I shook hands with the FE, who then reached into his pocket and handed me a wing patch for the Miss ANG. God, the smell of JP4, the whine of the engines, noise all brought back memories in a second. I walked out in front of the a/c to marshal it out.

What a rush to go back almost 30 years again right there on the ramp at Van Nuys. The pilot flashed his lights and started to move, and I'm frozen in place not moving backward. I finally realized what happened and did what I was supposed to do. I turned him onto the active taxiway, got a salute from the copilot and FE, and returned one back smartly. They taxied down, turned onto the active, and departed. As they broke ground, they gave me the wave with the wings and headed south. The airport "follow me" truck came over to give me a ride to the parking lot and a real young guy sitting in the back asked me how I rated. I told him if you have to ask, you will never know!

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