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Random photo thread - anything goes - post what you've got


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Many moons ago.

Have not been back since then....
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Yeah I want to make it out as well. Next year around this time.

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So, here's the rest of the airplane story.  As Oregonian pointed out, the Evergreen Aviation Museum is not far outside Portland, OR - 30 to 45 minutes West in McMinnville.  My ride to "da plane" was about a 2 hour loop through rural country.  Made a ferry crossing at a wide spot in the road, "Wheatland" - nothing more than a few homes clustered together.  I wondered how bored the pilot gets - back and forth - hundreds of times a day.  Personally I'd go out of my skull . . .  Kind of fun to break up the ride with something different tho.

 

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Then on to the Evergreen museum.   It is a good museum, now at its 30th birthday. 

 

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The name is also noted on the 2 747's on the grounds.  That came from the company name of the founder Del Smith, Evergreen International Aviation.  Started in the 1960's as a helicopter service, it later branched out in to fixed wing operations.  Evergreen was nicknamed "CIA Airlines" as in 1979 the flew the Shah of Iran out of the country after the fundamentalist takeover and also had many missions for the CIA in Central and South America.  Later, in the 1980's Evergreen got its first 747 as it had landed a contract with the US Postal Service to fly airmail (now seems like such a quaint concept).  Smith also converted a 747 in to a water tanker to fight fires using a compressed air system to atomize the water so it would cover a wide area.  Later on, contracts with the gov't and Postal Service waned and financial stress began to set in.  Meanwhile, around 30 years ago, Smith had the idea for the Museum.  Somehow he swung a deal to bring the Spruce Goose from Long Beach, CA to McMinnville ("Mac"). It came up the Pacific Coast on a barge, the up the Columbia then finally up the Willamette River.  It had been disassembled with all 8 engines removed as well as the wings and tail.  Even at that, once near Portland, with the then river levels, the components were too tall to get underneath some fixed bridges so the barge laid at anchor for weeks waiting for the levels to fall.  Finally it made it to a landing near Mac where the pieces were offloaded to trucks and moved to the current site.  There they sat for a good number of years in a fenced off area outside awaiting its building to be constructed.  That really is the museum's claim to fame.  - There are better ones - The Smithsonian, Museum of the US Air Force in Ohio, Pima air and Space Museum to name a few.  But there is only one Spruce Goose (more properly named the "Hughes H4 Hercules") and to see it you must come here.  While there are tons of photos on line of it, you have to be there to grasp its immensity and the audacity of Howard Hughes thinking it would actually work as he envisioned it.  You can read the history of its one and only flight - you couldn't write fiction like it. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_H-4_Hercules

 

Ultimately though, Evergreen's demise was in the winds.  With the financial stress of the company, airmail volumes plummeting and the fleet of 747's past their useful lives, it finally ceased operations in 2013 and the next year Smith died.  There had been tax investigations of Evergreen and rumors of "something going on" for some time.  It was found through audits that Museum funds had been co-mingled with those of the company, and a dark cloud hung over the museum.  The state attorney general got involved. It ultimately filed for bankruptcy and sold off some of its assets.  There was much concern as Mac is a small town and the museum a huge asset and tourist attraction.  Ultimately in 2020 a local family came to the rescue and bailed out the museum purchasing it out of bankruptcy so its continuation seems assured. 

 

When the Space Shuttles were retired and "up for grabs" to museums, Evergreen threw their hat in that ring.  While hopeful, it didn't seem probable.  The museum size too small, location too remote, and should the worst have happened financially, it wouldn't be possible to disassemble an orbiter to move it without destroying it (no way of removing a wing and then later replacing the thousands of tiles in the correct place), so they needed well funded and stable homes.  Also, the Shuttle Carrier 747 aircraft could probably not have been able to land safely on 5,400 feet of runway, so transport to Mac was not practical.  In the end I think it was the right decision to pass Evergreen over for that, but it is nice that they got an STA which was so integral to the entire program.

 

In the pic above, the 747 was brought in to Mac airport across the highway (video below).  While a municipal airport with no control tower (the flight service station is there) it has 5,400 feet of runway, enough for a lightly loaded 747 to land safely.  There it was stripped of remaining valuable gear, the engines removed from the nacelles and drained of all fluids.  It was also modded to accept the tubes that can be seen emanating from the side of the fuselage aft of the wings.  Those are water slides kids take from the plane down in to the swimming pool, below.  The plane was placed on its support structure (video below) and then finally the pool and building were constructed beneath it.  It is quite a sight, for sure. 

 

A C-47 in "Invasion Stripes" watches over the main entrance

 

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The Spruce Goose is directly behind the glass - unfortunately the glare makes it impossible for the camera to capture it.  Its wingspan is more than a 747, though there are larger aircraft.  Still, particularly for something with a structure of wood, it is immense.  It's worth a go if you make it to this part of the world.  Other links, below 

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_International_Aviation

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_Aviation_%26_Space_Museum

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijioFRUeHfE

 

Waterslide 747 final landing

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0l5O9XiSBQ

 

Hoisting 747 in to place (this looks sketchy to me - like it could be in one of those epic fail videos where the cranes fall over . . . but they got it). 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3i-3rv_6ss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great story and photos, @Cogswell !!  Thanks for sharing them here.  Would love to see the Spruce Goose in person someday.

 

If you didn't know the story and just saw that photo of the 747, you might think, "Wow!!  That 747 is flying way too low and close to that building for its landing!  :laugh:

 

I can vouch that the museum in Dayton is amazing.  Just unbelievable, really.  If you ever go to visit it, plan on spending pretty much the whole day there.

 

There's a small air museum near Canton called MAPS.  I've been meaning to go there for a few years.  Maybe I'll get around to it this fall.

 

That ferry crossing reminds me of one closer to home, which crosses the Ohio River from Fly, OH, to Sistersville, WV.  I've been on it once.  I think it's a little smaller than the one in your photos.  It feels quite odd standing next to your motorcycle on a small platform crossing the river.  You can get to a good bridge in either direction in both states, but crossing on that small ferry is something everything should do at least once.

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There are a couple of pieces of info I need to add, just for the record.  

 

Evergreen's bankruptcy is due solely to Del Smith's financial management.  He had great successes, but never used the opportunity to pay off debt.  His risk management of the company and the fact that he was a gunslinger of the first degree is what bankrupted the company.  He never saw an opportunity he could say no to.  

 

There were some financial irregularities between Smith and the museum, but it wasn't nearly what people thought.  Smith personally financed the museums since the beginning.  At the end of Evergreen Airlines, Smith decided to pull back some of the funds he had recently donated.  While that is certainly not acceptable, it isn't the criminal conspiracy it was originally portrayed to be. 

 

Bill Stoller, a local business man (see Express Personnel) and wine guy bought both the air and space museums (in separate transactions) and has stated his intent to leave an endowment with enough money so the museums can last for hundreds of years.  He needs to - they lose money, as many flight museums do.  

 

Del Smith had a great thing going with the museums.  There were always 30-40 retired guys who would work on them for free.  Smith would contact the military and ask for a plane.  He would get the response "fly one of your 747's down to Davis Monthan, pick one out and fly it back.  We'll call it a loan".  The volunteers would then restore it and put it in one of the museums.  

 

In my opinion, the coolest plane out there isn't the Spruce Goose, it is the SR-71.  You can actually touch it.  

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Oregonian said:

There are a couple of pieces of info I need to add, just for the record.  

 

Evergreen's bankruptcy is due solely to Del Smith's financial management.  He had great successes, but never used the opportunity to pay off debt.  His risk management of the company and the fact that he was a gunslinger of the first degree is what bankrupted the company.  He never saw an opportunity he could say no to.  

 

There were some financial irregularities between Smith and the museum, but it wasn't nearly what people thought.  Smith personally financed the museums since the beginning.  At the end of Evergreen Airlines, Smith decided to pull back some of the funds he had recently donated.  While that is certainly not acceptable, it isn't the criminal conspiracy it was originally portrayed to be. 

 

Bill Stoller, a local business man (see Express Personnel) and wine guy bought both the air and space museums (in separate transactions) and has stated his intent to leave an endowment with enough money so the museums can last for hundreds of years.  He needs to - they lose money, as many flight museums do.  

 

Del Smith had a great thing going with the museums.  There were always 30-40 retired guys who would work on them for free.  Smith would contact the military and ask for a plane.  He would get the response "fly one of your 747's down to Davis Monthan, pick one out and fly it back.  We'll call it a loan".  The volunteers would then restore it and put it in one of the museums.  

 

In my opinion, the coolest plane out there isn't the Spruce Goose, it is the SR-71.  You can actually touch it.  

 

 

 

 

Before his death Smith did a lot for the community - it's too bad it ended the way it did.  Entrepreneurs usually have that streak of risk taking in them,  otherwise they'd never get things going. It's a delicate balance.  

No doubt about museums losing money. I  was involved with the Wilsonville car museum before it folded.  It was a great place too, but like Evergreen, a bottomless pit for cash. Too bad it didn't make it.  

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It was a known fact that Evergreen did CIA work.  Cogswell is right - Evergreen got the Shah out of Iran during the revolution.  The company would not talk about the CIA work ever, but retirees did.  One of my favorite coincidences was the B-17 bomber Evergreen owned was once operated by the CIA.  It was painted black and the volunteer restorers had a good time finding all kinds of CIA add on pieces.  Evergreen's ownership of the B-17 is what led to the ownership of the Spruce Goose.  Evergreen leased the B-17 out to Disney for movie production.  That led to a relationship between the two companies that put Evergreen as the favorite by the Disney executive for buyer of the Spruce Goose.  There wasn't much competition to buy it frankly - no one else had a plan for moving it safely.  Evergreen caught big heat from Disney after the move for letting it sit under temporary structures while waiting for the museum to be built.  I got to go on the flight deck one summer when it was still in disassembled status.  It was great to see and experience, except for the 135 degree heat in on the deck.  

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On 9/14/2021 at 9:39 PM, Cogswell said:

 

 

Yes, sir!  NASA's term for it is "Shuttle Training Aircraft" (STA).  It's a modified G II (honorable mention to Danno for correctly identifying the make).  It has several mods to make it able to fly the speed and glide slope of the orbiters.  That was part of the hint about the missing thrust reverser (the other side was still in place) - the lockouts were disabled so that they could be deployed in flight.  Also, the main landing gear could be extended without the nose gear (photo, below) to increase drag to simulate the orbiter's life to drag ratio.  The commander's left side cockpit was changed to CRT displays, a joystick control and a heads up display similar to the Shuttle while the right seat retained the stock Gulfstream configuration.  They apparently had 4 of these with a 5th that was very similar but not exactly the same.  They often / always? flew simulated approaches prior to launch to assess winds, visibility etc should an RTLS abort be needed (which fortunately never was!).   Almost certainly every commander / pilot that flew the orbiters practiced in these planes.  I wish this thing could talk - I'm sure it has many stories to tell.  It's now housed at the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, Oregon - about 30 minutes from home.  More on that (and photos), later.  Well done, Grum! 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle_Training_Aircraft

 

Photo showing tail number

 

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Photo of it in flight

 

 

 

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This in-flight photo was taken over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.  NASA has the White Sands Space Harbor there where the pilots would do touch and go's on its really long runway.  As an Air Force Firefighter I worked there in '92, '96, and 2007.  We would be on standby there while they practiced approaches for 3 or 4 hours at a time.  This runway was also the tertiary (third) official landing strip for the actual shuttle.  We had to stand by for that as well whenever it went up.  I went through a training course on how to gain entry and power down the Shuttle and extract the aircrew if it landed there under emergency conditions.  Good memories.

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Different strokes for different spokes.

I parked at the entrance of Welch Village Ski Area for a hydration break.

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On 9/15/2021 at 3:39 AM, Cogswell said:

 

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Speaking of space shuttle.....i have an early Shuttle Operator's Manual should anyone get stuck up there and need some assistance.... Lol.   :)

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On 9/15/2021 at 4:30 AM, Grum said:

Shucks thanks Coggs. And my prize as promised. I'm happy to cover the delivery costs to Auz! :beer:.

 

mcn-rc211v.jpg

Scrolling down slowly this made me jump... thought it was mine for a mo!!  haha 

 A prize if you know what it is immediately... ..no cheating!1163826171_COPYOFP1010559.thumb.JPG.becdb6097dc5d25491ba60c512925dcd.JPG

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3 hours ago, Bluehawk said:

Scrolling down slowly this made me jump... thought it was mine for a mo!!  haha 

 A prize if you know what it is immediately... ..no cheating!1163826171_COPYOFP1010559.thumb.JPG.becdb6097dc5d25491ba60c512925dcd.JPG

 

1100XX  Blackbird

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10 hours ago, squirrelman said:

 

 

this photo from the exact location where part of " Raising Arizona" was filmed,

 

 

 

Here's another movie shot...  :laugh:

 

 

image.thumb.png.ba4e8cfd127219c84ab4a7871a17a9de.png

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14 hours ago, flya750 said:

781832127_Motorcycleride9-29-21Part2PostEdit2-00485000.thumb.jpg.1dc790cd039e1336e0dc5b44e2bf378f.jpg

Well done. Very sharp picture at...9,300 rp's!  I thought it was a slow 20-30 initially, cos it was so sharp. Is it a GoPro at 1080p?

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14 hours ago, Cogswell said:

 

1100XX  Blackbird

Trust you to know! 🙄 Haha. Give the newbies a chance. What d'ya fancy as a prize? Grum was doing shipping cost, i'm thinking more a key ring! This is Scotland ya know. 😜 🤣

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3 hours ago, Bluehawk said:

Well done. Very sharp picture at...9,300 rp's!  I thought it was a slow 20-30 initially, cos it was so sharp. Is it a GoPro at 1080p?

Gopro Hero 9 Black, 4k/30fps, VFRD headers make ripping triple easy peasy...

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