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Mystique and Romance of Aviation

A10 Warthog Tank Killer from Barksdale AFB. Gathered under the aircraft are the unidentified members of its flight crew and visitors to the event. Photo: HJH

It was a happy accident Saturday, March 19, my discovery of  the Experimental Aviation Association Chapter 343 (EAA343) annual Fly – In on the Downtown Shreveport Airport. Quite unlike the sprawling, security locked-down Regional Airport, this historic patch of aviation history is, on a day like Saturday, very accessible; you can walk right through the front door and onto the taxiway and experience the mystique and romance of aviation up close and personal.

An opportunity to actually fly wasn’t available, though it might have been had I simply asked. But  just being there, able to walk up to and touch airplanes such as an A10 Warthog Tank Killer in full battle dress from Barksdale and what I think is a 1940s era Mitsubishi fighter, the infamous Japanese Zero from World War II, was a rush. The scent of fresh and spent Aviation Fuel lingering in the air added to the headiness I felt.

Some of my fondest memories are when I’ve been flying; be it a small two seat Piper or Cessna-type airframe, commercial airliner, high performance military trainer or a hot air balloon; all time “in type” is a thrill for me. But admittedly, there’s nothing quite like the feeling I get when strapped into one of the smaller general aviation “private” planes. Perhaps I’ll tell a few of those stories later.

To the EAA343, the administration of the Downtown Shreveport Airport and the pilots who put their planes on display for those few hours this past Saturday, thank you for a fun and pleasing outing. I’m looking forward to next year.

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