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Full Name :   Vance Fowler
Gender :   male
Age :   72
State :   Utah
Country :   United States
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Acroplane combat over the English Channel
sub-category : Prop Planes
img 09-25-2010

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BANDITS!  Bandits 2 o’clock, break right, break right.  Messerschmitt’s!  Glowing tracers streaking past.  Pokka pokka pokka.  Sickening sound as canopy exploded and instrument panel shattered.  Smoke and flame from engine.  Rolling left to bail out just as underbelly of ME109 shadows past.  I mashed my gun buttons and…  “Hey, kid, you ok?”  The carnival guy was trying to get the straps off me.  “Ride’s over and the prop is locked.  C’mon, climb down the platform.”  I was 14 again.  Reality snapped back.  No flaming Merlin engine in my Spitfire…just open cockpit of the Acroplane at the Oregon State Fair in 1959.  Originally built by Eyerly Aviation as a real flight trainer, the Acroplane ended up as carnival ride and sold across the nation.  Got one more flight the next year, shot down two Zero’s, but it never came back to fair again.  Not a money maker.  Only one rider.  I loved the Acroplane.  It had a real propeller blasting on the stubby wing ailerons, vertical stabilizer, and elevator.  It rotated in a carriage and would roll, yaw, and pitch like real plane.  The last known in existence still sitting at McNary Field, Salem, Oregon next to old Eyerly Aviation plant in tall grass, rusting away.  It was the one I flew in combat those many years ago.  Looks like it had its prop, wings and tail empennage shot off that last flight.  Ah, the memories of teenage glory!
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