Aug 2012 No way to treat your house guests!
The last few days friends Amy & Charlie Laird have been visiting me from California and will soon be on their way to London for a family wedding. They are Aviation people (with a capital “A“) and taildragger people to boot! It just so happens that Charlie is “Charles Laird IV” whose great great uncle Mattie Laird founded the E. M. Laird Airplane Company in Chicago, IL. Â He later partnered with Jacob Melvin Moellendick to form the Swallow Airplane Company.
Coming from a family of aviation pioneers, it’s no surprise that Charlie is a passionate flyer and collector of wonderful old airplanes. He’s thrilled to be the happy owner of NC979, a 1927 Laird Swallow, a three place biplane whose earliest design was a 1920 model by Mattie Laird.
As the story goes the name “Swallow” came to be whenÂ William Lassen, a local Wichita businessman, was in the crowd watching the day the 1920 model first flew. After the successful flight ended, William commented â€œit flies just like a Swallow.â€ Mattie Laird liked what he heard and promptly renamed the model the â€œLaird Swallow.â€
Charlie purchased the completely restored Swallow a number of years ago. It won a Bronze Lindy at AirVenture 2006 and is currently in the process of having the 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5 engine switched out for a Continental 220.
It’s plenty of adventure having them here in Indy for a few days and I’m pretty sure Amy could have done without just a little of the excitement. During a heavy thunderstorm Thursday night I was driving us back from the airport and we were hit by a driver who ran a red light. He seemed to come out of no where and it happened so fast I didn’t even have time to hit the brake. It was a HARD hit and Amy and I are feeling really lucky we got out of it with only some whiplash.
I bought my poor old Toyota Camary back in 2001 and was looking forward to seeing the speedometer roll over 200,000 miles one of these days. It might still happen but my guess is, come Monday morning, some insurance adjuster is going to take one look at it and say “totaled”! Looks like there’s gonna be a new car in my driveway very soon!!