Kaitlynn Meisenheimer, 5, had seen airplanes in the sky but never touched one until Saturday.
She wanted to touch aircraft in a static plane display at Tyler’s Historic Aviation Memorial Museum staged in connection with the Thunder Over Cedar Creek Air Show in Mabank, and she did.
“It’s awesome; we love it and the kids are enjoying it,” her mother, Jamie Meisenheimer said of the display.
Paul Turner, of Lindale, wanted to bring his grandsons to give them an idea of their heritage and history of the airplanes. While they can be seen on the History Channel, the display provided an opportunity for a close-up look and the planes were impressive, Turner said.
His father, Jeff Washburn said the show was “nice … great. We appreciate them bringing their planes out to us, showing them to the public.” He said, “We are into airplanes; we love airplanes.”
There were vintage planes from the Air Force, the Marines, the U.S. Navy, the Japanese naval fleet, the Commemorative Air Force, the movie “Tora Tora Tora” and many others.
One displayed was the Lockheed C-60A “Lodestar,” which fulfilled a variety of roles during World War 2 including the training of glider crews for the allied invasion of Europe. It also was used for paratroop transports and executive transport.
“She’s finally back in the air after a nine-year restoration project and we’re very happy to have her flying again,” said Jim Placette, an aircraft mechanic from Houston.
“It’s fun to bring the old planes out and share them with all the people who come to the shows and it’s keeping history alive,” said John Cotter, who flew in the Lodestar.
Douglas Derr, a pilot from Houston, displayed a replica of a Japanese Val dive bomber built for the movie “Tora Tora Tora” in 1969. A group calling themselves Tora Tora Tora decided in 1972 to use planes from the movie for an air show and created a re-enactment of Pearl Harbor.
What a privilege it is to fly these old airplanes and tell their history, Derr said, calling it an extraordinary experience.
Ray Hoffman, of Tyler, who was a radio operator and gunner during World War II, surveyed the display and remarked that seeing the planes brought back old memories. “It also makes me touch base again and recall a lot of stuff I forgot,” he said.
Jim Johnson, of Chandler, said, “I really like the old vintage airplanes … I just like older planes and I like the history. I like to watch them take off and land and fly.”
Neelan Doolabh, of Tyler, brought his 2 1/2-year-old son. “He lives and breathes airplanes; he’s having a great time,” Doolabh said. “We are big fans of history and it’s amazing we have this available.”
Connie Chandler, of Tyler, said, “I’ve always had a thing about World War II and a lot of these planes are from that era; I just love to see them.” His wife, Betty, said, “It’s very interesting and I like to be up close to the planes to see what they look like.”
Seeing the vintage aircraft was interesting also to Charles Bullard, of Tyler, who particularly liked the B-25 and some of the fighter planes. Sandy Bullard said, “It’s impressive to me to know that these were up flying and protecting us. I really enjoy looking at these.”
Cody Breedlove, of Tyler, said he saw “some really neat stuff” and was having a great time. His wife Paula said, “I think it’s pretty awesome to be out here looking at the old war planes and mingling. We met a Korean War veteran and he told us some stories.”
It’s not every day that you get to go out and look at old planes and see history, said Calvin Jackson, of Tyler, who wanted to show the planes to his 10-month-old baby. “It’s pretty neat,” Jackson said of the show.
Don Taulman, of Chandler, heard a couple of weeks ago about the display and decided to check it out. “I just love the old planes. … Just seeing them and getting close to them, plus my kid loves them,” he said.
His wife, Daphne Taulman, said, “Just seeing the old planes that we won the wars with is awesome.”
The show provided a lot of history and a chance to see things normally seen just on the web, said Guy Bugg, of Troup. “It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. Sue Bugg said, “I like it; it’s pretty neat to have this in Tyler. … The history and how the planes were used.”
Charlie Gunter, of Lake Tyler, wanted to see the old planes because they were reminiscent of the days when he traveled with his father who was in the Air Force. “I like seeing them (the planes) in person; it’s not going to be too long before these planes are going to be gone,” he said.
Don Bille, of Edom, wanted to see the MiG 17. He used to design aircraft components and did tooling for aircraft.
“I want to check the fitting; I go around and feel of them with my fingers and see how everything fits together. It’s interesting to me,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of nice airplanes here.”
Vern Gross, of Tyler, described the display as wonderful and said sponsors did “a terrific job” in bringing the nice display to Tyler. “It takes me back to a lot of memories,” he said.