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
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.