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Fighter pilots, homebuilt aircraft, and Great War stories

museum parks family

This shop really started several years ago, when we stumbled onto a little museum that was having a fly-in. We talked a bit to the friendly guy driving the shuttle bus from the parking area, and later were surprised to see him walking around in a WWI uniform. Eventually we figured out this was the director of the museum, Andy Parks. Somewhere after that we learned that it wasn't a replica WWI uniform he was wearing - this was the real thing!

It was fun watching the colorful little WWI replica airplanes fly, and we got to look at them on the ground too. Of course, even people like us who knew nothing about WWI know that a red tri-plane with the Iron Cross on the wings is what the Red Baron flew. But I didn't know anything about the Red Baron - I wondered why he was called a baron, and whether he was real or just a story. Not to mention that "Flying Circus" sounded like something you would assume barnstormers would put on, though I knew that was after the war era.

Slowly we learned more about the museum. We learned that Andy Parks wasn't just hired as the director; he grew up knowing famous WWI and WWII pilots personally, and his family was commissioned by the last survivors of the group to carry on the work. Slowly we realized that when Andy mentioned something Jimmy had said about aviation when they had him over for dinner, he meant Jimmy Doolittle, as in the Doolittle Raid.

The more we learned the more we thought that other people should know about the Parks family and their collection. But we could see that it is hard to maintain and develop a collection, keep up on history, keep up on aviation, run a museum as a business and as living and flying history, and be the administrator, fundraiser, marketer, and merchandiser. At least, it's hard if you're one person trying to do all that.

So we are starting something a little separate from the Vintage Aero Flying Museum, in order to help publicize it without Andy Parks having to take responsibility for the accuracy of everything mentioned in this blog. We will do our best to get things right, but opinions, viewpoints, and fact accuracy do not reflect those of the Vintage Aero Flying Museum. This is all secondhand information; if you have a question, go ask the guy (Andy Parks!) who actually knew some of these people! 

We are just here to tell people what a fascinating resource is hidden out in the plains of Colorado. We tell pilots that here you can learn where the "pilot attitude" got started. We tell history buffs that here you can talk to a first-degree connection with famous names of a hundred years ago. We tell aviation nuts whose blood it was that wrote those regulations about how you build and fly an aircraft. We tell everybody that WWI was not a "meaningless war" to men who voluntarily and proudly fought and died. Come find out who they were, and why they did it!

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