Thu Aug 9, 2012, 12:29 PM
mgc1961 (1,184 posts)
Art Lacey's Big Adventure
The following post contains an e-mail forwarded to me from an associate and licensed pilot. She wondered if the e-mail was true. Well, yes. It is true, but the story contained therein is not complete. I appended the link to part six of a series of articles on Art Lacey's airplane. I'm sure you'll notice a subtle difference between the e-mail and the story told by Art's daughter, Punky Scott.
Read the story that goes along with this -- Imagine trying to do something like this today!?!?
This is the type of thing that made America great before the lawyers and the Nanny State took over.
Shortly after WWII, a guy named Art Lacey went to Kansas to buy a surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon , jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it. He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them. He didn't know how to fly a 4-engine airplane so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself. They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went.
He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another.. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went.
They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas. Then they headed for Oregon . They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, "TUNNEL" when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.
They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time, so late one Saturday night, he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.
Here's the story from Art Lacey's daughter:
MILWAUKIE, Ore. - Art Lacey's daughter, Punky Scott, knows the story of her father's wild B-17 adventure well.
She said it all started at a party where her father, a local businessman, bragged that he was going to put a B-17 on top of his gas station.
"He was at his own birthday party in 1947 and he, I think, probably had a few adult beverages," Punky said with a laugh.
A friend promptly told Art he was absolutely out of his mind and could never pull it off. Art bet the man $5 he could do it and immediately ran with the idea.
If the Nanny State and lawyers oppose people flying airplanes with which they have no experience and poorly and/or overloaded trucks using public highways then long live the lawyerly Nanny State.
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