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Touring Texoma: Eagle Flying Museum
Tonight, we're wrapping this latest series of Touring Texoma reports in a museum that's different than what a lot of people might be used to.
It's a museum where people go to train on World War II and Korean War aircraft, and even learn to fly them.
Inside the Eagle Flying Museum at Mineral Wells Airport, you'll find a PT-17 Stearman, 2 T-6 Texans, a C-45 and a T-28.
Scott Perdue/Eagle Flying Museum: "I guess there's the romance of flight. There's nothing like the world framed by the two wings of the Stearman."
This is Scott Perdue's beautiful Stearman.
It's what he calls 'his baby' that's been in his family for more than 3- decades.
"The interesting thing about this airplane is it's the last biplane the military used. It was designed in about '35, and they started using it as a pilot trainer at about '38 at Randolph Field in San Antonio. Then, it spread out all over the United States. They used them everywhere. They built almost 12,000 of them."
"You're out in the air. It's an open cockpit airplane. So, you smell everything. You smell what's on the fields below you, and you feel the air on your face. You're part of the air. It's not like sitting in an aluminum tube going to Milwaukee."
Scott says these beautiful tail dragging bi- planes from before WWII, they're actually hard to land in cross winds. So, we are not going to be able to fly today. We are going to be able to fire it up, though, and feel the power of this beautiful Stearman."
Scott's a retired Air Force fighter pilot who flew the F-4 Phantom and F-15E Strike Eagle.
He has over 3000 fighter hours out of a total of 76- hundred.
"After I retired, I flew for American Airlines. You fly a long time, and the only fun in flying for the airlines is landing. Otherwise, it's just an incredible hassle. So, why I'm doing this is what I really enjoy is teaching. I really enjoy teaching in these airplanes, so I like sharing that. So, that's why the museum exists."
David Howell/Volunteer: "What I call gadgets and gizmos, because that's what they look like, but what you're looking at is 1930's and '40's leading edge technology."
This is a T-6 Texan, built in California in 1941 as part of a 450- airplane order the French made before surrendering.
It ended up training British pilots in Canada, and today offers airplane mechanics and others lessons on the art of preservation.
Scott: "Since we've been working on this one like this, this has been a big hit because people will just flock to it, and they'll just spend their time looking at it and going, wow look at all these different things, because you never get to see what it looks like underneath the airplane. Here, you see everything."
Scott: "What's special about this airplane is it's really big and it makes a lot of noise."
Scott says the Air Force flew a version of this T-28 with an 800- horsepower engine, but says the Navy really liked it too, and put a 14- hundred horsepower engine on it, making it really move.
David: "All of these birds, planes, they got stories."
David Howell's a retired science teacher and number one volunteer at Eagle Flying Museum.
This C-45, built in 1943, is one of his favorites.
David: "The C-45, a late 1930's airliner, all the way through the 1970's. It's just 6- passengers, but it's unique. Every seat is on the isle, and every seat has a window."
"You can look at the old seats. This is all original."
Scott: "It's actually a Beech 18. This was the Learjet before WWII. Beechcraft corporation made these airplanes in Wichita, Kansas, and if you were a corporation and you had a flight department, you had this airplane."
"We've done a bunch of rides with people, especially in the Mineral Wells area, and it's always very positive. People are excited to see these old airplanes and to actually get in one and go for a ride, or listen to it make noise."
The Eagle Flying Museum offers pilots and others a library to gather and study, and just talk aviation.
Scott says it offers the only Dr Pepper machine you'll ever see that features the U.S. Thunderbirds.
It offers a glimpse into our past, 70- years ago and beyond, when taildraggers, or conventional gear airplanes were the norm, when World War 2 and Korean War pilot heroes earned their wings.
You can learn to fly them if you're already a pilot, and take them up yourself.
Or, you can enjoy a flight or flights as a passenger.
Field trips are also welcome at Eagle Flying Museum, and they have movie nights there as well.
If you'd like more information, here's the number.