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.  He later partnered with Jacob Melvin Moellendick to form the Swallow Airplane Company.

1927 Swallow, NC979, Winner of a Bronze Lindy at AirVenture 2006

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.

Mattie Laird in the cockpit of a Laird Swallow

As the story goes the name “Swallow” came to be when 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 “it flies just like a Swallow.” Mattie Laird liked what he heard and promptly renamed the model the “Laird Swallow.”

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.

Charlie, Amy & future pilot, 7 month old Colin Laird

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.

Amy Laird and Judy after the crash

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!!


  • Steve-O
    Posted at 23:29h, 18 August Reply

    Oh geez… sorry to hear about the crackup, glad ya’ll are AOK.
    That Swallow is one groovy lookin’ bird…

    Fade to Black…

  • Sharon Tinkler
    Posted at 14:42h, 13 August Reply

    That Swallow is a beautiful airplane!! It comes to Antique Airfield pretty regularly and we have seen it flying. Unless you’ve seen it happen, you can’t imagine how those gold wings can catch a setting sun and light up. Just amazing. I have always wondered if those gold wings were intentional for that purpose? Spectacular.

    Judy, the day I decided to learn to fly about 20 people got hurt or worse getting home from work in the DC area. Logic dictated that flying had to be safer. That didn’t keep me from being scared for a couple of years though 🙂 Time heals. Stay out of cars. Just sayin’

  • Vanessa Jump Nelson
    Posted at 01:31h, 13 August Reply

    After getting your email about your accident, I was worried about you. It’s good to see you & Amy are able to smile alongside your pile of crumpled metal. Thank you for taking the time to provide me with the statistics I was asking for, as I was able to use them in my talk about Aviation for Women. Ironically, the speaker before me was talking about safety in aviation, and of course we always talk about how flying planes is safer than driving in your car. You can preach to that one, eh?
    Remember, the ice pack is your friend. :0)

  • Melissa
    Posted at 21:46h, 12 August Reply

    Wow! Am SO glad you are all okay!

  • Carri Hoagland
    Posted at 16:32h, 12 August Reply

    Yes, for sure, don’t drive that is way to dangerous, stick with flying as it it is much safer.

  • Helen
    Posted at 16:06h, 12 August Reply

    Ok, Judy… first an elevator, then the drive home from the airport…. got it! Could you please stick with something safer, like flying?! The good news is that you both weren’t hurt and the car can be replaced… are you listening Boyd? Great story on the Swallow!


  • Jerry Griggs
    Posted at 08:08h, 12 August Reply

    What a neat and historical airplane the Swallow is. There is a non-flying example here in the Wichita Air Museum but it must be really neat to see one actually flying. We think of this segment of aviation as being so long ago but I can remember my dad talking about a little biplane landing in a field near the schoolhouse about 1928 or 29. They let school out for a short time as many had not seen an airplane up close. It is unlikely they could have kept the majority in their seats anyway. Too bad about your car but thankful there were no major injuries. Your website has made so many opportunities for lady aviatiors to interact. Congratulations on the success of

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