It saddens me to bring disappointing news about our planned Caribou
flights at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum during reunion 2011. Despite MANY
hours and days of hard work by the reunion team and Pat Phillips of our
Board of Directors over the past 18 months, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that
we will be able to ride in the Caribou on 23 September.
This spring, the FAA issued a moratorium on issuing any new waivers to operators of historic warbirds to carry passengers in their restored aircraft. We didn’t give up because we thought we had a very compelling case for the FAA to grant a one-time waiver so the Caribou combat veterans, their families, and friends could experience the sounds and excitement of the memorable Bou during our reunion. At a critical point in the numerous contacts and telephone conversations with key FAA personnel, on 13 June the Liberty Belle (B-17G operated by the Liberty Foundation), made a crash landing in Illinois and burned to the ground after landing. Although all of the passengers and crew survived without serious injury, this event poisoned the climate for our request for a one-time waiver.
Pat Phillips did not give up, however. He and Doug Jeanes, Director of the Cavanaugh Museum, planned to meet with FAA officials at the Oshkosh fly-in last week to make a face-to-face appeal to the decision makers. Unfortunately, our incompetent members of Congress felt compelled to make partisan political points (on both sides of the aisle) in Washington and failed to fund continuing operations of the FAA other than safety-critical activities. The end result was that the FAA officials were forbidden to travel to Oshkosh for the annual EAA event. The situation is so grim that the word is that “this is no time to expect any issues to be considered by the FAA.” Thus, political inaction has dealt a death blow to our hopes to fly in the Bou in September.
It would take a miracle for this crisis to change between now and the reunion. So, it is my sad duty to inform you about this situation. At first, I intended to say that I would shred your checks now, but I will bring them to the reunion in case a miracle does happen. Hopefully, you have many other reasons to attend the reunion this year, but if that is not the case and you need to cancel your travel plans, I will shred your check if you request that.
Thank you for your service and continuing membership in the C-7A Caribou Association.
Respectfully and with heavy heart,
12402 Winding Branch