Every year when I see these old birds fly, I try to take a little extra time to appreciate them. Keeping an airplane like this flying is a labor of love by the entire crew, from mechanics to pilots to the people who raise money to keep them flying. And as much as I’d like to see them aloft indefinitely, there may come a day when many of these machines end up mothballed for one reason or another, confined to hangars or museums instead of roaring into the sky. Such thoughts are tragic, and I try to keep them at bay, but there is a nagging doubt in my mind that these birds won’t fly forever.
That being said, they fly now. And keeping them flying, both for the sheer love of aviation and out of respect for their historical significance, is a worthy goal. Next time you’re at an airshow, or at an aviation museum, donate a few bucks to keep these birds flying. Better yet, join your local EAA or CAF chapter and donate your time to one of these precious birds.