Bob Bogash Remarks after Arrival of 727 Prototype at Museum of Flight

Thank you for attending this event today.   It reinforces my belief that there are so many like-minded people out there.   Like-minded in their love of airplanes - great airplanes.   My 32 year journey with this Lady has finished with such a burst of activity, that I am left breathless, and groping for words.  So I scribbled down a few comments.

I’d like to dedicate these remarks to two people I sincerely wish were sitting here today;   Lew Wallick and Dick Taylor.   I so hope they are watching.

Let me talk briefly about two things that permeate many of my recent talks and writings.   Souls and Ghosts.   The Souls of airplanes and the Ghosts of people.  As I transition through the Autumn of my Years, I’ve begun to contemplate what it was that drew me into aviation and a career immersed in   airplanes and flying.   I’ve concluded that the key element was the Magic of Flight, and the machines that allowed us to undertake such an incredible experience.   You see, an airplane is not just a machine, and assuredly not like most other machines in our lives,   say, your clothes washer.   It moves under its own power, even the slowest go fast,   and they travel in realms undreamed of by poor earthlings.

And - it’s alive.   Ask any pilot who has tried to land on a difficult day.   Or mechanic who has muttered bad things while working on them.   Truly, an airplane is a living thing, in  partnership with man, and that partnership is not always equal!    They definitely have a mind of their own - in many ways like the relationship between a jockey or trainer and a fine thoroughbred race horse.

And being like a race horse, - alive - it stands to reason - to me, anyway, - that they have Souls.   They talk to us - they certainly talk to me! - and their spirits impress themselves on ours.

Take as no better example, the beautiful airplane we see just arrived behind me.   Born more than half a Century ago, and connected with her human partners in an amazing continuum. From her first moments, as lines flowing out on to a drawing on a drafting table, representing the engineer as artist, to the skilled craftsmen who turned those lines into real parts that, in turn, assembled into this beautiful creature; to the pilots who first pointed her nose to the heavens; and finally to the people who rode in her, and, like God, looked down on clouds and the firmament below.   For our airplane - some three million of them, who trusted her to do her job.   And even today, in her Senior years, still the Belle of the Ball to her loving admirers, seated in the audience here today.

Picture in your mind's eye, a typical day in her hard-working life - arriving at a gate at a busy air terminal.  As the whine of her engines dies to a whisper, her passengers collect their things and deplane, to meet relatives, or go to business meetings, or start vacations.   People of all sizes, shapes, ages.  People who have entrusted their lives to her, and she has not let them down.   The flight crew pack up their briefcases and walk off, as do the flight attendants.   Swarms of workers engulf her as they clean, and service and fuel, to be followed by new pilots climbing aboard, and cabin attendants and yet more trusting passengers.   Until she pushes out again, starts her mighty engines, and climbs once again into her home in the sky.   And she has done that more than 48,000 times.

The very same story is repeated on the Maintenance side.   Where she gets pulled into a hangar and is instantly surrounded by stands and jacks and an army of mechanics,  probing her every nook and cranny, looking after her every need.

These many people are the other half of my story, the Ghosts who have surrounded her from conception, until today.   If you close your eyes, you can see all of them from here.   Like the ballplayers coming out of the cornfield.

And the one continuum, the one constant in this fable, is the airplane.   Our airplane.   The living, breathing thoroughbred that she is, working hard alongside her human partners.   As those people came and went, she continued and endured.   It was she that was the one common thread in this Half Century tale of activity.   Even in her Quarter Century of retirement, her spirit lived on as her admirers worked hard to let her taste the freedom of the skies yet one more time.  And, today, they succeeded.  In my seat in her cockpit, I felt her shake her mane, and swish her tail, and I knew that she was smiling.

And so, as you walk around this airplane, our airplane, and go aboard, pause and look around, close your eyes for a moment, and see them, all of them  - her ghosts – including, yes,  all of us who will soon enough also fade back into the cornfield.   Her ghosts of past and present. Like those that came before, we will be her ghosts someday, while she endures.  Our legacy will have been to be part of her life.  Thanks to lots of hard work, and belief by the management and trustees   and volunteers of this great museum, we will have made this possible.  We have created and preserved something of beauty that will survive us.  Not many things in life can we say that about.  But, we can fade into our cornfield content in the knowledge  that we have played a part in her life and allowed her to slumber  contentedly. For – as we who awakened her over the past few months know so well - she will only be sleeping.

You, who visit her in the new Pavilion, will know assuredly, as we have proven unequivocally today, that the miracle of flight still resides in her graceful wings, and -   in her lovely body, an airplane’s heart beats –-  still.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Bogash.  All Rights Reserved.