Where is my personal helicopter? The one I was promised ages ago for use in these times? I ask this often when dealing with Miami traffic which alternated between a saltation mode and pure gridlock.
Robinson has come close with its R44 model. A Lycoming flat-6 245 hp/183kW reciprocating engine turns a twin blade main rotor as well as a tail rotor. They are almost unmistakably identified by their size and tall rotor mast.
This R44 was recently photographed leaving the Florida Keys Marathon Airport taking passengers on a brief aerial tour on a gorgeous Florida Keys day.
A visit to where Pan Am began
24° 33′ 27″ N / 81° 48′ 20″ W
Now called Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery, this is the building which Pan American Airways (PAA) housed its first international operation which was the Key West FL–Havana Cuba route. Soon Juan Trippe would lead PAA as well as the world into trans Pacific flights, jet airliners, wide bodied airliners and flights affordable to the masses. Recently owned by Kelly McGillis (of Top Gun film fame) though currently under different ownership it is on the corner of Whitehead St. and Caroline St. in Key West FL.
Aviation museum tucked away in the Florida Keys — EAA Chapter 1241 Air Museum
24° 43′ 42″ N / 81° 02′ 30″ W
The EAA Chapter 1241 Air Museum is perhaps among the smallest of museums but, as they say, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog. This museum, at the airport in Marathon FL, cannot be missed and should not be missed. Located in a working hangar the atmosphere is relaxed and rich with spirit.
The staff are experienced and the museum has artifacts, books as well as models — but it is the three aircraft displayed that are to be enjoyed. Two of the aircraft are particularly pleasing to visit since visitors can:
- Lean through the cargo door opening into the Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor and easily see the cockpit from there, as well as experience the capacity of the military version of the Twin Beech.
- Walk through the passenger cabin of perfectly-kept-in-shape Ozark Air Lines DC-3 (technically a C-53). Visitors can easily peer into the vintage cockpit, see the steep floor angle from the main deck to the auxiliary door/hatch immediately aft of the cockpit as well as see where Grace Kelly (later to become Princess Grace of Monaco) once rode.
The museum enjoys inspiring young minds and hearts in the community by its everyday service as well as airshows and events. The entry is free, no restrooms on site but they are next door at the friendly FBO, food and refreshments can easily be found in Marathon. Their hours of operation are Tuesday–Saturday from 11:00am until 4:00pm.
Stay tuned for posts on the museum’s C-45 as well as the Ozark Air Lines airliner :)
Memorial Day 2015
28° 36′ 28″ N / 82° 12′ 32″ W
Florida National Cemetery
A short distance off I-75’s Exit 309 near Webster FL.
Florida National Cemetery is located just off the Webster exit (Exit 309) on I-75 and is one of the many scenic cemeteries this country uses to honor those who served in the military. Most of us have not been to a national cemetery and, for those, it is unfortunate since they are lovely sites to see and calming seeing how honored are those who have passed. Stately columbaria, neatly ordered rows of graves and memorials are the norm. This Memorial Day we will go on a photographic journey of this cemetery.
25° 47′ 01″ N / 80° 17′ 18″ W
The 94th Aero Squadron is a theme restaurant which can be found in several cities. It has the charm of a WW I aerodrome headquartered in a French estate’s château. They are located at airports with views of an active runway, which adds wonderfully to the aviation historical motif of the operation. Outside may be found war relics of more recent vintage — or are they?
The 94th Aero Squadron restaurant located on the southern boundary of Miami International Airport (the SE corner of Red Road and Perimeter Road in Miami FL) has an unblemished Lockheed P-38 Lightning in the open by the parking lot. Such a valuable aircraft exposed to the elements and potentially vandals? No worries though, since it is a replica made from fiberglass — so value and history are not at risk. A substantial undertaking no doubt and what a charming addition to the overall theme.